On the Colorado River in Austin, Texas, a boulder formed an eddy and a well-known swimming hole for locals more than a hundred years ago. Along the banks in that same area, cold springs rose to the surface. In 1915, the land was purchased, and the largest of these springs was transformed into a man-made pool. The pool eventually became the centrepiece of a resort made popular in the 20s and 30s by its diving horse and Ferris wheel–Deep Eddy Bathing Beach. Following a devastating flood, which destroyed the original facilities, the WPA and the City of Austin rebuilt the spring-fed pool in 1936. It still operates today.
God I love history. It’s so vast and endless and full of great stories. You can never know it all…and I certainly would never have known about Deep Eddy, if it weren’t for Steven Lee, founder and CEO of DuFrane Watches.
I met Steven through social media channels, and when he offered to send along the Deep Eddy, I was more than happy to have a look. I first heard of DuFrane through Teddy Baldassare’s popular blog. He listed the brand in his article, entitled “40 Best Microbrands”–referencing the company’s Barton Spring 656. The Deep Eddy is their latest offering and now open for pre-sale, with deliveries beginning this month.
The first thing that will strike you about the timepiece is its dial colour. Both the Lagoon (pictured here) and the Dune are unique choices and meant to be reminiscent of the pool and nearby grasses of the wellspring they reference. The subtlety of the Lagoon dial, with its sunburst texturing, can appear at once blue and green, depending upon the angle of the light. Its depth is further highlighted by a bevelled chapter ring, into which have been set tall plot markers, ringed in steel and filled generously with BL-C3 Super-LumiNova. The twelve hour bezel, too, is lumed in C3–as are the hour and minute hands. The second hand is diamond cut with lume in the reverse lollipop. The dial is capped with a beautiful double-domed sapphire crystal.
The case of the Deep Eddy is equally interesting and takes time to fully appreciate, like opening doors in a strange house and discovering new rooms. Fashioned from 316L stainless steel, it is a complex mix of brushed and polished planes, separated by precise chamfering. It is 42mm in diameter, but due to the downturned lugs, hugs the wrist comfortably at just under 48mm lug to lug. The thick bezel is nicely textured with an aluminium insert. Both the case and the crown are screwed down, providing 200m of water resistance. The tip of the crown is signed with the company logo, and the caseback is engraved with a stylized eddy.
Powering the watch is a Swiss SW200-1 Élaboré–an ETA 2824-2 clone which is used in much more expensive timepieces, like the Oris Divers 65, the Montblanc 1858, and the Sinn U1. The movement comes equipped with an Incabloc anti-shock system and is adjusted in three positions.
For a strap, the Deep Eddy comes standard on a black silicone band, and retails for $499USD. But for a modest $100USD upgrade, you can have access to the Adventure Pack. This provides both an additional leather strap and a stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet is a three-link oyster-style. It is largely brushed with polished edges to match the case. It has solid end links, a stamped clasp with push buttons, and a fold-over keeper. The links are screwed and there are three levels of micro-adjust. You will also find that strap changes are easy on the Eddy, as the lugs are drilled.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
47.6mm Lug to Lug
14.4mm Thick, including crystal
22mm Lug Width
200m Water Resistance
Double Gasket, Screw Down Crown and Caseback
|Dial & Crystal||Double-domed Sapphire Crystal|
/w 2x AR Coating
Sunburst Dial /w Applied Markers
28 800 bph
38-Hour Power Reserve
Optional: Stainless Steel Bracelet/Leather Strap
Dufrane has made a habit of highlighting Austin, its history, and its surrounding area with their watches–the Bergstrom Air, the City Limits, and the aforementioned Barton Spring, are but a few. Founder Steven Lee has even chosen to hand assemble the timepieces in his adopted home. In the case of the Deep Eddy, that’s an automatic Swiss movement and American assembly for under $500USD. Hard to beat.
I love the subtle appearance of the aluminium bezel, but the numerals are small and hard to read in daylight.
For $599USD, the Deep Eddy offers a robust, well-finished, Sellita-powered watch with a stainless steel bracelet and two extra straps. In addition to this, it is hand-assembled in Dufrane’s Austin workshop. It’s difficult to argue the value proposition on offer here. Despite its thickness, the Deep Eddy might well be the perfect one watch collection for someone who likes to stand out in a crowd. It is stylish enough for the office and rugged enough for weekend warriors. With 200m of water resistance, you don’t have to worry about it while doing the dishes or splashing around with the kids. Throw it on silicone and take off for adventure. Strap on some leather and you are ready for a night on the town. It’s a handsome piece, and due to its unique dial, sure to be a conversation starter. To be successful as a microbrand in a sea of competition, I think you need to invite people in with something familiar, and then surprise them with something different. The Deep Eddy does just that. It’s a versatile sports watch–a dive watch–with a sophisticated twist. At the very least, you can’t forget it. Thus proclaims the brand’s motto, “History remembers those who are a little bit different.”
For more information, visit the brand’s webiste.
Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch (or strap…) in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.
5 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: DuFrane Deep Eddy”
Wow…great article. I love history too and someone who is unique in this era! He writes articles, and books, and makes guitars, and builds lots of things, and loves watches which he collects, and….well..by now..you might guess who he is. But, do you know how different he really is ? Love the history angle of these watches too. This particular model is gorgeous. Thanks for the introduction.
Great review of an fantastic watch. The local history just adds another layer to his designs. This is a must buy and like you mentioned, either day is a great choice.
Very cool. I honestly can’t hear DuFrane in any capacity without thinking of Shawshank Redemption, aside from that I enjoy this watch design quite a lot
Lovely color on the dial!
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Incredible lume on that and always great to find an up-and-coming microbrand.
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