Duzu DW-D3 Hands-On Watch Review

Duzu Watches Hands on Watch Reviews

Duzu DW-D3

A dive watch that is inspired by the Southern Right Whale. That is what the Duzu DW-D3 is, as well as the third diver watch for the Western Australian microbrand. This is the fourth watch for the young brand, with three dive watches and one pilot’s chronograph. While dive watches are probably the most produced and reproduced style of watch these days, Duzu was still able to make something that is not an homage, and even though at first glance it may just look like another dual-crown dive watch, this diver taking inspiration from the whale does so in various ways, none of them being just artwork of a whale on the dial. The case, lugs, hands, and crowns are all shaped or designed to mimic different parts of the whale. They may sound like something that would be very odd looking, but the DW-D3, while unique, still has a traditional look about it for the most part, and one probably wouldn’t guess that this watch was whale-themed, at least not while seeing it on your wrist. With a Miyota 9039 and a price of $479, this is a feature-packed watch for an affordable price.

Specifications:

Duzu DW-D3 “Oceania”
  • Limited to 50 Pieces
  • 42mm Wide Stainless Case
  • 46mm including crowns
  • 42mm Lug to Lug
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • 122 grams 
  • Dual Crown/ Inner Dive Bezel
  • 300m Water Resistant
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • Miyota 9039 Automatic Movement
  • BGW9 SuperlumiNova

Price USD 479

https://www.duzuwatches.com/shop/

Duzu DW-D3

The Duzu DW-D3 comes in three colors, the black dial shown here is dubbed Oceania, the blue dial Australis, and the white dial Antarctica. All three are limited, with this black dial being the most limited, with only 50. That leaves 100 in blue and 150 in white. Most of the design of this watch is very much inspired by the Southern Right Whale but unlike other brands that may go overboard with artwork or silly gimmicks, Duzu tries to incorporate elements of the inspiration into the design, but tastefully and functionally. Below is an excerpt from the website detailing the design and construction of this piece.
the entire watch has been designed with this whale in mind, this includes:
the beautifully sculpted and bellied case with baleen engraving;
hour and minutes hands mimicking the whales jawbone; BGW9 depicting the markings on the whales head and the glow reflective of the Indian and Southern oceans;
matte dial finishes representing the skin tone, lugs emulating the shape and form of the whales flippers;
whale tail insignia on the inner bezel and matching adjusting crown;
lumed crown inserts representative of the eyes;
and exaggerated circular markers depicting the blowhole. Collectively these elements combine to create a design which is cohesive and exceptionally well considered.
I feel all of these things are incorporated well, and unless someone were to flip the watch over, and see the whale artwork on the case back, you would just think this is a distinct dual crown watch, maybe slightly funky but overall just a legible and attractive dive watch. The case is a combination of brushed and polished finishes, and this is done all over. The sculpted case and crowns alternate between these finishes, and the top of the case is brushed, when you look close and see how perfectly the blasted finish ends and then the brushed finish starts on the lugs, and then back to blasted in between the lugs.
The case is also unique in that the dimensions are, well, a little odd. 42mm wide, and only 42mm in length due to the very short whale flipper lugs. Then add in the very large crowns, 4.8mm in length and 6.8mm in width, the crowns make this watch stand out and also make the overall width of the case much larger than the length.

Duzu DW-D3

The dial of the Duzu DW-D3 is extremely legible, with massive hands, massive sandwich markers (and a sandwich logo), and even with the inspiration of the whale for the hands and markers, again, it doesn’t look gimmicked here, it just looks like a wide hour and minute hands, and just large round markers. The inner bezel does have the whale tale, which matches the inner bezel crown, but this is a matte black dial, with stark white hands and markers and BGW9 superluminova, and it all blends well together. The one weird thing though is that the minute/second track is not on a chapter ring, but on the inner bezel, meaning once you time something, you do lose the ability to track minutes/seconds for standard timekeeping. Also, the inner bezel crown does screw down, meaning it may be impossible to use this crown while underwater.

Duzu DW-D3

Duzu DW-D3

On my 7 1/2 inch (19.05cm) wrist, the sailcloth, leather-backed strap feels very comfortable and this is not a stiff or rigid strap, it is very pliable and does fit me well, with a few holes left. There are two other straps I have which I do show here in pictures, but these are rubber straps that are not yet available from Duzu, one with a standard buckle and one with a deployant buckle. I go into more detail with these straps in the YouTube video, though I don’t have any info as far as pricing or availability, I can say I love the deployant buckle version, both in how it wears and buckles on the wrist. All of the straps are high quality, and feel more premium than straps that usually come with watches of this price.
Unfortunately, while it may look good on my wrist in the photo below, I found the dimensions, or maybe just the overall feel, on my flat wrist to just be awkward. The straps feel good and nothing is rough or uncomfortable, I think it just may be the short length of the case with the larger width, and just where it ends up sitting on my wrist, that makes this not for me.

Duzu DW-D3

Duzu DW-D3

When you do flip this watch over, that is where you will see a whale, and I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate that this was saved for the case back and not done on the dial, the side of the case, etc. I am not a designer by any means, but if someone told me to come up with a watch based on a whale, well, it would be awful I’m sure, and that is why I appreciate how Duzu went about this and then left the case back for the laser etched artwork, which is beautiful in my opinion. Under that case back is the Miyota 9039, not an NH35, which is a movement that seems to be used more and more at this price point these days, so good to see the better, higher-beat movement here. And because it’s the 9039, that means this is a true no-date dial.

Of course, with almost any microbrand watch but especially a dive watch, we want some bright, long-lasting lume, and the Duzu DW-D3 delivers. BGW9 all over, and I have found this will last pretty much all night, and when I say all night, I generally mean around 5-6 hours.

Duzu DW-D3Duzu DW-D3

So while I may not enjoy this watch on my wrist (we all have different-sized and shaped wrists after all), I am thoroughly impressed with the Duzu DW-D3. The attention to detail with the design inspiration, the dual finishes, and the very clean and easy-to-read dial, all combine to make a fantastic watch from Duzu. I love the look, and the feel in my hand is great, maybe on a different style of strap, it would fit my wrist a little better, but regardless, this is a perfect example of what can be produced for under $500. This is not a catalog case with countless off-the-shelf parts, and yes, it is manufactured in China like most microbrands, but this watch shows how a design can come together to not only create a functional dive watch but also do it without copying anything else, and for that, I commend them.

I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.

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