I’ve had firsthand experience seeing a new watch come to life. The decisions that are made to create a cohesive design can drive the creator mad. Which hands will work with which markers? Will the movement fit inside the dimensions of the case? While it may seem easy to use some baton hands and markers and call it a day, even that can look out of place if the other elements of the watch are not carefully considered.
When I see a watch like the Dietrich SD-2 that is designed so well and where each element speaks to the other in a way that creates a design that looks so effortless, I have to stop and stare for a moment. I’m going to talk a lot about the design of the SD-2 in this review and at the end of it, I am going to say the SD-2 is a great watch. The design of this watch may not be for everyone, but in the case of the SD-2, I would encourage you to step outside your comfort zone. It’s worth it.
On the Wrist
The SD-2 immediately reminded me of the Seiko SPB143. The straight lug opening, short lug-to-lug, and the gentle curves of the case create an understated look on the wrist, while still bringing some pizzazz (yeah, I said pizzazz). The 46.2mm lug-to-lug feels shorter because of the straight lug opening. The rubber strap fits perfectly against the case which gives it an integrated look.
The SD-2 feels like a toned-down, more refined version of the SD-1. I’ll speak to some of the design changes later, but even looking at photos of the two watches, you can see the subtle changes made. These changes allow the SD-2 to feel more like an everyday watch, something you could use washing the car or timing your steak on the grill on a relaxing summer night (both of which I did with this watch).
I put the SD-2 on after receiving it for review on a day I was wearing my Tudor Black Bay 58. The SD-2 costs about 1/3 of the price of the Tudor, but I didn’t feel a drop in build quality. I don’t often talk about differences in build quality in my reviews, but sometimes when I switch from one watch to another, I feel it. Not the case with the SD-2. It felt like I went from the Black Bay 58 to a funkier version of the Black Bay 58.
Dietrich SD-2 Specs
*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal
The SD-1 used a neat trick with sapphire and painted markers to create an effect where the markers looked as though they were floating. The SD-2 now featured a sandwich dial. It might seem as though this would reduce the overall depth of the dial, it may increase it. The cutouts are outlined which gives the markers a multilayer effect. I did not see the lume of the SD-1 in person, but sandwich dials usually allow for a heavier lume application. The lume on the SD-2 will not disappoint, it glows brightly, and the large plots make it look awesome when lit up.
The hands are stylized paddles that fit in perfectly with Dietrich’s use of geometric shapes in their watches. The hands coordinate perfectly with the markers and each hand is slightly different so there is no confusion when reading the time. The hour hand has added separation at the bottom of the paddle and the minute hand is plain. The second hand reminds me of the chronograph hand on the Omega Speedmaster, but it is not as elongated and looks more modern.
The face of the dial features a crosshair which was present on the SD-1. The crosshair adds a small visual touch to the dial and because of the minimal text, it leaves the dial looking clean. Dietrich’s branding is printed at 12 o’clock and Mission Maritimes is at 6 o’clock. The latter is a nod to Emmanuel Dietrich’s roots in French watchmaking and the duality of the SD-2 itself. The SD-2 is designed to be an amalgamation of dive and field watches.
Case, Bezel, and Strap
The case of the SD-2 is simply designed but executed well. The lugs have a small turndown at the very end, which keeps the case from looking flat on the wrist due to the short lug-to-lug. The straight lug opening has definition added with a small stepdown from the lugs. This creates a more traditional look to the lug opening even though it is not curved.
There is a small, polished chamfer that runs the length of the case. It is a subtle yet effective way to keep the case from having slabby sides. The crown is the only weak point of the case. It has plenty of knurling to provide grip, but it is a touch small. I would have liked to see the crown sized up a little and given that it resembles the same asymmetric shape as the bezel, it would have been *chef’s kiss*
If you take a quick look at the bezel, you’ll think that it is a perfect circle. Not the case once you look more closely. The bezel overhangs the case slightly and features a tapered design that creates a hexagonal shape. Not only does this create a cohesive design with the rest of the watch, but it also provides an excellent amount of grip when rotating the bezel. The 120 clicks of the bezel have a snappy, high-pitched click. It feels like a ball-bearing bezel, but I am not sure if that is the mechanism.
The rubber strap supplied is comfortable NBR rubber. It has a satisfying stiffness to it. It doesn’t feel floppy or too rigid. It has a gentle taper from 20mm to 16mm at the buckle. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not but the keepers are fitted for the 16mm end so when you slide the tail in, the keeper stays put. A small detail but a welcome one.
I love seeing watch brands evolve their designs over time. I also love seeing brand new watches with every release, but small modifications to hone an existing design can make a watch feel new. Dietrich has taken a solid design and improved upon it in ways I didn’t even know I wanted. This was also my first time reviewing a Dietrich watch (our other writers on the site have) and I came away impressed with every aspect of the watch. It might be easy to tell by the design, but nothing is off the shelf. Everything feels custom-made to exacting standards and that is what I like to say. The sum of the parts of the SD-2 adds up to what I said in the beginning, a great watch.
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