Just to add a little context to this review, I consider myself a pretty significant watch geek. That’s why when Dufa emailed me asking if I wanted to check out their new Regulator watch, there was no way I was saying no. Here is my Dufa Regulator watch review.
Let’s look into the company that produces these watches. They are an old company, initially starting off producing clocks about a century ago. It seems like they have since rebooted under different owners, and are producing Bauhaus-inspired watches in the $300-$500 dollar range.
This new model has a regulator complication, and even though I thought I knew enough about watches, I hadn’t heard of this complication until now. Simply put, a Regulator is a watch or clock that has all its hands separated from each other. Back in the watch making heyday, you would find these regulator clocks on the wall which would allow watchmakers to regulate (ta-da!) the watch they were working on to a central time.
The new Regulator model comes in 4 styles, today we’ll be looking at the first one on the left (DF-9017-05).
The packaging is simple in its approach – a white box with a small magnet keeping it sealed, displaying the watch parts on the front.
It opens up revealing the watch in some inset foam, as well as an information booklet about the watch.
It explains some of the details of the watch, as well as a little bit of history behind the regulator complication.
The fit of the watch was precise, showing off the clean white face well.
Attached was a small hangtag with the associated serial number.
There is something about a white watch face with a tan strap that gets me every time.
Stainless steel clasps compliment the design – this one with the small Dufa shield near the top. A nice touch.
The blue hands are striking on the white face. Notice the applied Dufa logo near the top of the dial as well. I did notice that while turning the crown, the hands weren’t sweeping as smooth as any of my other watches (even the ones at half the price).
The stitching on the leather is well done, there are no imperfections that I could see.
The lower half looks just as good.
These watches use a Japanese mechanical movement, so no batteries are required. I do have a small gripe about it though – it’s noticeably loud while moving. I could hear it on my wrist while wearing it throughout the day.
Here is what it sounds like when I move it in circles near my microphone to give you an idea.
The case itself is made of stainless steel, and I do like the display back. Another one of my favorite things about this watch are the quick change spring bars as you can see below.
Debossed branding is visible on the rear of the strap.
While the aesthetics of the dial are nice, I found the details to be a little bit small. Notice how tiny the text is around the subdials. While this typically isn’t an issue with a standard watch, the regulator has an atypical layout which makes reading it at a glance much harder.
Here is a closeup of the dial. Notice how small the 24 reads.
Beautiful detail on the crown of the watch.
At 42mm, this would be one of the larger watches I would wear, but thanks to the small bezel, it wears smaller than you’d think.
I can’t say I’m a fan of the Regulator movement when it comes to everyday use though. While reading a watch typically takes under a second, I’m finding myself staring at this thing for much longer trying to decipher the time. If it was a 12 hour hand instead of the 24, I would prefer it. Look at the photo below for example, would you guess right away that it’s 5:27am?
After a week on the wrist, I had some compliments on the watch, but I just couldn’t get over how hard the time was to read at a glance based on the 24 hour subdial, as well as the small type. That combined with the loud movement, and lack of smoothness in the hands while turning the crown, makes this $550USD price point feel a little bit too high for what’s offered.