Back when Minuteman Watch Co first hit the scene, I was interested for two main reasons. One, they were (relatively) local to me, being in downstate Illinois. The second, and more ambitious part of their mission, was to train and employ veterans in the building of their watches. If memory serves, they’ve had to dial back a bit on that, but they have been producing watches. To date, they’ve been of the quartz variety, but they have just announced their first automatic line, the Minuteman Watch Co Darby.
Aside from the inclusion of the Miyota 9015 movement, the thing that made this watch stand out for me was the dial. Done up in three color choices (the blue is the clear winner in my book), it’s a bold (but still clean look). I particularly like the look of the larger “reverse lumed” numerals at the compass points. Also scoring points are hour and minute hands that are a solid size, and that second hand that stretches out to the edges of the dial.
It’s good that the dial design and handset are well sorted, as they’re set into a 42mm case with a double-domed sapphire crystal. In other words, you won’t help but to notice the dial. For the case, that’s made of stainless steel, which you can pick up with a black DLC finish, or have it in the raw metal with a brushed finish. And now I have to go back to the dial, because I forgot to cover off on something that’s of note.
See that date wheel on the Minuteman Watch Co Darby? Yeah, that’s right – this small brand out of Illinois managed to get a color-matched date wheel in their build. And not only that, they designed the dial in such a way that the date window does not look like it got set too far in-board, which can sometimes happen when you get into larger cases (and dials). Sure, the blue dial has a white date wheel, but it fits with the overall color scheme.
In short, I find that the Minuteman Watch Co Darby is well-designed, and with the Miyota 9015 tucked in there, reliability should not be a concern. The brand is offering the Darby in three dial color palettes and two case finishes. Regardless of the one you go for, you’ll be putting down $369 ($399 for PVD) in the pre-order, which is quite nice indeed; retail pricing is about $100 higher. The pre-order period will close out on April 30, 2017, with delivery anticipated for September 2017. minutemanwatches.com
- Brand & Model: Minuteman Watch Co Darby
- Price: $369/$399 (pre-order pricing for brushed/PVD)
- Who we think it might be for: You not only want a watch, you want to find a brand that supports veterans charities with your purchase
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: It is a sharp dial, that’s for sure – I’d want to see how the 22mm strap fits (and looks) in person
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Perhaps test out 20mm lugs, as that is a more common sizing (in my experience) to find replacement straps for
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: That dial design, particularly in the blue
Tech Specs from Minuteman
- Proudly assembled in the USA by Minuteman Watch Co.
- Stainless Steel case with black DLC finish
- Double domed sapphire crystal.
- Clear type A/R coating on the inside of the crystal.
- 42mm width without crown.
- 46mm length
- 10mm thick
- Screw down crown.
- 200 meter water resistant.
- American made Leather strap 22mm width
- Miyota 9015 automatic mechanical movement.
- Luminous hands and dial.