Dan Henry 1962 Racing Chronograph ‘Panda’: Review/Unboxing


With great aesthetics and value for money, the 1962 is a stellar piece.

Dan Henry are a brand that have been on my radar for a little while with their visually pleasing watches that are reputed among fellow horology heads for being built and finished to a high standard. The latter is important when it comes to microbrands these days, as many are making a visually pleasing piece but a high quality build and good movement are not as common. Recently, DH released the 1962; as soon as I saw the panda dial option I knew one would be entering my collection.


Unboxing

The hard plastic case that comes with the watch reminded me a lot of the way fashion house colognes are packaged. It is a neat looking 2001-esque design.

Contents

Dan Henry ships the 1962 with a nice little assortment of contents, including a 3-piece watch roll and a choice of two straps; one black and one tan. These are all rolled up nicely to fit within the plastic outer shell.


Specs

The 1962 runs a Seiko VK63 mecha-quartz hybrid movement. A mecha-quartz is essentially a gear-driven movement that is mated to a quartz circuit for regulation and power, which provides a mechanical feel (think nice ‘click’ and a bit of liveliness when buttons are pushed) as well as a sweeping large seconds hand, like a traditional mechanical watch would have.

For a primer on where mecha-quartz sits between the mechanical and quartz camps, this short video is quite informative:


Appearance

This watch is an absolute pleasure to look at with its classic panda dial. The case diameter is 39mm and the crystal has an anti-reflective treatment to make the dial more legible under light.

The design elements are mostly excellent, though I do feel that the hands are perhaps a tad chunky on a watch that already has such a busy dial.

The two quick-release straps that the 1962 come with are be good quality, with a pleasing finish and good stitching. I particularly like the tan one with the contrast stitch, it is fantastic to look at. As I have plenty of watches on black leather straps already, the tan was the natural choice for me.

The caseback is finished with an embossed image of a Maserati Tipo 60 which is a lovely nod to the sixties racing inspiration of this timepiece. It is also good to see that DH has decided on a 20mm lug width on this piece rather than the 22mm which is seen on some of their other range; the 20mm is a much nicer and more proportional choice while the 22mm makes some of the other cases look a tad too small.


Performance / Quality

The quality of the straps is good, both feel sturdy and well-made. They are supple to the touch and feel like they will last a decent amount of time.

The watch itself has an excellent finish on both case and dial; being told a price point of $260USD you would be pleasantly surprised to see how much bang you get for your buck. The VK63 movement ticks along nicely and is not too loud. It is interesting putting your ear to the case and hearing an unmistakeable quartz tick followed by the soft tick-tick-tick of the mechanical parts. The chronograph buttons have that lovely mechanical feel with a touch of resistance and a satisfying click when pushed. The mechanical element of the movement also provides for an instant snapback when the chronograph is reset, rather than the peculiar full-rotation movement that features on quartz-only movements.

The only thing I do not like: the main seconds hand is used only for the chronograph function, which means it will only tick for a maximum of an hour before stopping (you can start it again by pressing the chrono button). The small seconds subdial is always running, but that lacks the visually pleasing sweeping movement of the mechanically driven main hand.

The dial is also lumed with LumiNova for better legibility in the dark. I am yet to properly test the quality of this, due to the lack of sunlight we have been getting in the winter.

What I cannot stop looking at is the dial. It is really a standout.


Other Configuration Options

The Dan Henry 1962 is available in a choice of three colours, with a blacked out ‘Evil Panda’ and a blue dial rounding out the lineup alongside the panda dial I chose.

Additionally, there is the choice of having a date window which is positioned between the four and five o’clock markers. I chose no date; this is simply my preference for a cleaner dial. The no date panda sold out once before and I was lucky to get my hands on it; I have heard that this option has since sold out again. Lucky me!


In conclusion: great bang for your buck

For $260USD, I think this is a stellar watch. It is great to look at and already drew compliments on the very first day of wear. Shipping the watch with extra strap choice and a watch roll sweetens the deal even further. The 1962 is limited to just 1962 pieces across all options, and at the attractive price point there is no reason not to pull the trigger on one now.

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