Dan Henry 1970
It is not very often that I am genuinely surprised by a watch I get in for review here at Watchreport. Most of the time I have a good idea of what the watch is going to be beforehand, but in the case of the Dan Henry 1970, I had no idea what to expect. Saying I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Now, let me be clear, so there is no confusion, as some people like to read into things too much. I am not saying this is the most fantastic watch in the world, but for $250, this Dan Henry 1970 Diver definitely punches above its price point. Who is Dan Henry you ask? Well, he is a lover of vintage watches, and even started his own website dedicated to them. And it is that love of vintage pieces that led him to his own watch brand, which consists of 4 different models at present. Instead of relaying his story to you, you can read all about it here at his website: https://danhenrywatch.com/pages/our-story
Dan Henry 1970 Specifications:
- 44mm stainless steel 316L
- 24mm lugs size
- 13.5mm thick
- 50.5mm lug to lug
- Screw-back case with Scaphtopus 3D medal
- Sapphire coated double domed mineral glass with Anti-Reflective treatment
- Automatic Seiko Caliber NH35 with 24 jewels
- Matte black with date and 60-min inner rotating bezel
- Grey minutes chapter ring
Price $250 USD
So let me get right to it. The watch arrives in a cardboard box, with a plastic cylinder which houses a leather/canvas travel roll, that will hold the watch and two extra straps. I normally do not discuss packaging at all, but feel the presentation here was purposeful and very nice, again, considering the price point. I love when a travel roll or a zippered pouch type of packaging is used as it not only takes up a minimum amount of space, but also allows you to be able to use it as opposed to another box just sitting in the closet.
The 44mm case draws inspiration from compressor style cases from the 70’s right down to the cross hatch pattern on the dual crowns. Something I found immediately interesting is that neither crown screws down, yet the Dan Henry 1970 is rated water resistant to 200 meters. It is not the first watch to have this rating and not have a screw down crown, and while I normally prefer it for that extra assurance, both crowns are solid and tight, and I have tested it to see if water would get in, even submerging it in the sink for about a half hour, and no issues. The 2 o’clock crown of course operates the internal bezel which turns easily, but not easily enough where I find it knocked out of place often. At first glance, the transition from brushed to polished finishes is very well done, though when you get really close, you can see some rough brush lines. You have to get super close, or use your macro setting to see this, and overall the machining here is great, again especially for a watch selling for $250. Yes, the price and value here is a running theme of this review.
Keeping with the vintage theme, we have old radium painted lume on the markers and hands, or vintage lume, or faded lume, or tan lume. Whatever you like to call it, it is not a weird shade of yellow like I have seen on some, it is a warm tan hue, and I like it. The grey chapter ring is actually lumed as well, which was something I was not aware of until I got the Dan Henry 1970 in hand. Aesthetically, I like the choice of hands, and while I am not against the use of a date window, I think this would have been even better without, or maybe they could have offered both versions. Topping the dial is a double domed sapphire coated mineral crystal, which brings me to the first topic of contention.
Sapphire coated mineral is what it sounds like, a mineral crystal with a thin laminate of sapphire over it. So, it is supposed to give you the best of both worlds, scratch resistance of sapphire with the impact resistance of mineral. All of the Dan Henry watches are very affordable, so I understand the use of a lower grade crystal, though maybe just going with straight mineral would have been better. I have not encountered any issues thus far, though it is said that the sapphire coating can eventually separate and peel off, so this is something to think about, and only time will tell.
The Dan Henry 1970 is the only model currently that offers an automatic movement, in this case the Seiko NH-35. I have covered this movement frequently here and while a lower beat movement, it hacks and is very capable. My excitement lies with the case back though, an intricate stamped case back with an Octopus wearing a divers helmet. I am not really enamored with what is on the case back, but more that it uses a few different finishes, is well machined, and it is not a see through case back so many brands seem to utilize.
The more I wear the tropic style rubber strap, the more I like. At first I though it was a little too soft, and the fact that it is silicone instead of a natural rubber concerned me. After wearing for a few weeks, I realized it does not attract lint and dirt like most silicone straps I do, and the comfort level is extremely good. The Dan Henry 1970 rubber strap also has a nice unobtrusive stainless buckle that fits perfectly against the wrist.
7 1/2 wrist for reference
The other point of contention is the luminescence. Or I guess lack there of . The photo below was taken after a 3 minute charge. Normally, I can take a watch, throw it under the lamp for 30 seconds, and boom, bright lume. This is not the case here, and as you can see the lume is somewhat blotchy as well. The hands are the worst part of the lume on the Dan Henry 1970 and will fade very fast. If you are a lume junkie, this is probably not going to be the watch for you.
As you can tell, I am pretty enamored with the Dan Henry 1970. Its very affordable, has that great vintage appeal, it wears really well on the wrist, and is just a good looking diver in my opinion. It is not perfect, and I of course pointed those things out, but at $250 I think they will be selling out of these rather quick, as they are limited to 1970 pieces. The Dan Henry 1970 is manufactured in China as you would expect, as are many microbrand watches these days. With 24mm lugs it is a great strap watch and should look just as great on a leather strap or NATO. If you have always wanted to check out a compressor style case this is a great way to do so, without having to shell out hundreds of dollars. While I have not seen any of the other Dan Henry Watches in person, in photos they look just as well made as this one, and if they have good quality control and customer service, they should have much success.