Monday, November 2, 2009

An Evening with Define Watches

Monday 26 October 2009
Westin Hotel

If you speak of "fine watches" to the proverbial “man in the street”, it tends to be Swiss watches that immediately come to mind, and in particular those from Geneva and the Jura region, where watchmakers formally established themselves into a guild in 1601.

The beginnings of portable time keeping actually have their roots in Germany, in Nürnberg, where in c1510 a master locksmith called Peter Heinlen created the first pocket watch. Ball shaped, it was called a "Nürnberg Egg", had only a single hand, and ran for forty hours.

Earlier this year, the German Watch Museum Glashütte was opened to the public in the former German School of Watchmaking, which was founded 150 years ago in Glashütte, a hub of both historical and modern German watch production. Although the museum focuses on the history of watchmaking culture in the area, it has a broader role in promoting watchmaking and horological education in Germany.

The Tarts have a rather diverse range of horological interests covering both vintage and contemporary watches, but there is a strong interest in German brands, with all of us either having owned or currently owning, representatives from various brands hailing from Germany. 

Thus it was with much interest and excitement that we received invitations from by Lydia and Peter from Define Watches to attend a small private showing of watches from the brands which they are importing into Australia. All the brands have something different to offer the Australian public and the majority of the brands are new to the Australian market.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the phrase, “like a kid in a candy store”.  Now, imagine that the candy store was more like a candy supermarket, if you will. Add in the ability to try the products and all the colourful brochures you can have to your heart’s content, and then mix in hosts who have knowledge, passion and love of their products.

That just about comes close to what the Define Watches event was like.

Never before have we attended a watch event with so many watches from so many lovely brands on display/ offer (depending on how thick your wallet is, of course). Surprisingly (and pleasantly so), considering the abundance of food and drinks that were flowing, the watches were all on open display, for each and every one of we watchnuts to play with and try.

Three of us in attendance that night (and one of the other guests, who was sporting a very desirable EZM1) are current Sinn owners. The brand is stocked by Fredman SVW in the Strand Arcade (Define’s Sydney retailer for some of their brands) and the range that we could look at and play with that night was the broadest of the brand that any of us had ever had the pleasure of seeing.

Gee... you get the feeling that we quite like the brand Sinn??

There were other brands present, believe it or not....

Master engraver Jochen Benzinger’s firm Benzinger Meister-Werkstatt für Gravieren und Guillochieren both make their own highly engraved and skeletonised watches, and also supply engraving and guilloche services to other brands, using machines that are over a century old for their craft.


....and back

Armin Strom AG is a relatively new watch company (established 2006) that consists of two separate brands; Armin Strom and ARMIN by Armin Strom. The watches shown by Define were from the latter. There are four models in this brand : Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Each model features a retrograde date display whose hour, minute, and second indication is off-center.


For a few of us, D.Dornblüth & Sohn was the brand that we were most excited about seeing for the first time in the flesh. I will go out on a limb here and speak on behalf of the group as a whole when we say that the watches matched our expectations in their simple elegant beauty, the design of their boxes, which doubled their use into a desk clock, and in their sheer “bang for buck”.

Although the D.Dornblüth & Sohn watches have movements which are based on a very pedestrian manual wind, the amount of work that has gone into modifying it (by hand, I might add) has rendered it almost unrecognisable. You could see the effort and the craftsmanship that has gone into the movement, and to compare it to its original configuration would be as relevant as measuring time in light speed.

The styling of the different brands distributed by Define may not be to each person's taste, but they are all very distinctive in their own ways and will most definitely not be mistaken for anything else. Apart from maybe some of Sinn's models, which could often be mistaken for Breitlings...

Jorg Schauer

MeisterSinger - which made famous the 1 handed watch.
Yes, you read correctly. 1 hand.

As well a a feast for the eyes, there was a feast for the tastebuds as well, with a wide variety of canapés served throughout the evening.

Hanging out with friends and fellow watch enthusiasts.

Double wrist action!! Sinn U2 and a LE MeisterSinger

A big thank you to Lydia and Peter for their warm welcome and for sharing their passion for these brands with us. There is more exciting news soon to come from Define, but for further information on these and other watches from these brands and others, including where to buy them, just go to their website

[AP & Onomatopia]


DY said...

is it just me or does Dornbluth looks a lot like IWC Port.. Even the lugs look similar

Sam said...


Yes both the Dornbluth and the IWC Port share some similar design traits such as arabic numerals, placement of subdials, lugs, etc. but there are numerous watches that share very similar design traits but still manage to look different enough. The hands and the font used for the numbers for me are the 2 biggest differentiators, and the over package, look and feel makes it distinctively a portuguese or a dornbluth.