Darwil Secret Agent – THE RETURN OF LEGEND
2021. was a strange year. Heavy, confusing but also surprising. Often the news was on the verge of a parody, the facts meant nothing, the opinions became more important than the same and a lot had to be checked again … at least. Including surprising information about nothing more and nothing less than the resumption of Darwil production. At the end of the year, the main domestic media published a paid advertisement for the new Darwil. Yes, the legendary brand, the usual watch in the former state, the only watch that was ever sung in a punk band song – is back. And in great style.
The Darwil Secret Agent
The watch is a reissue of the original model from the 70s – Darwil Agent 007. It was a striking watch with two crowns, an inner bezel and a vertically placed day and date indicator, large markers, and hands and bright colors of dials, most often in gilding. Crazy seventies, in full glory.
The new Darwil Secret Agent would easily pass in the window of Darwil’s boutique in Trieste if there was a possibility of time travel.
The new one would pass without any problems in the window of Darwil’s boutique in Trieste if there was a possibility of time travel – the watch is completely retro, with understandable and expected modern elements in the design and mechanism. Dimensions, appearance, feeling on the wrist – everything gives the feeling of an old watch. The Vintage inscription on the dial is completely affected … and the watch is great.
The technicalities are 41 mm housing, with 20 mm grooves made of bronze, with curved sapphire crystal above the inner rotating bezel and a vertical day/date window.
Under the lid knocks a Swiss automatic, with 26 rubies. Darwil does not specify exactly which mechanism it is, but its characteristics correspond to the Sellita SW220-1. The robust, reliable mechanism, with a 28,800 beat rate and hacking seconds hand is the workhorse for several Swiss brands and microbrands. It does not have a modern increased power reserve of 50 hours or more, silicon balance spring, and high-tech solutions, but it has proven to be excellent and easy to maintain.
Although the case with two crowns is reminiscent of old EPSA compressors – this is not a diving watch. The upper crown that adjusts the inner bezel is threaded but the crown at ‘4’ is not. And the watch has a steel snap on the lid. The latter solution is surprising, to say the least, as threaded caps have been standard for years but fit into retro chic. Water-resistance is 50 m, enough for everyday use.
The watch itself looks great. The bronze gives a shine reminiscent of old gilded watches, which is further enhanced by the beautiful sunburst effect on the upper surfaces, polished bevels, and a dramatic semicircular edge above the hidden groves. The details give dynamism and the whole watch looks organically rounded and simple, despite a bunch of irregularly shaped surfaces.
Green Dial is one version of Special Agent. The other is the red fade dial, which might be striking. Rectangular clock and minute hands, triangular seconds, large clock markers, minute marks on the dial and bezels… a lot is happening. A recognizable element is the vertical window of the day and date, surrounded by a polished frame and a bright red date. Brushed marker surfaces, a Darwil logo copied from a vintage model, and a very fine vertical dial brush, completed with a rounded sapphire that mimics old plexiglass and moderate dimensions – all give the feeling of a NOS vintage watch.
The lugs are of standard dimensions and the possibilities of strap combinations are unlimited. The Darwil Secret Agent comes on soft and quality leather strap with a bronze clasp but looks great on worn-out straps, especially green or reddish and vintage tropic straps.
Packaging is one of the things where watch companies save money but this is not the case here. A large rectangular box, with space for two watches, lined with brown leather decorated with the Darwil logo in gold. Inside the box, lined with soft gray felt is an infinitely charming detail – jewelry slots. Diamond shiny earrings, beads, massive rings have no space for storage here though. Vintage cufflinks – this is a place for them, always in gold.
The Secret Agent is very comfortable on the wrist. The relatively short and thin body of moderate dimensions fits perfectly on all joints, the visibility of the dial is excellent, even the illumination is satisfying, although it exists only as a thin line on the hands and dots on the edge of the marker. Personally, the view of the watch under the strong sun is spectacular, because only then can you see the reflection of the dial and the case, the polished details on the hands and markers, and the curvature of the glass.
Is the new Darwil Secret Agent hit or a miss?
Plain and simple: hit! Everything is in place. From the dimensions, the original logo on the dial, and the caseback of the case, the design, but also perhaps the most important item: the feeling on the wrist. It is a dignified successor and a new beginning for the legendary Darwil brand.
The Secret Agent is available in a very limited series of 100 pieces per color, exclusively on the Darwil.ch website. It will not be available in regular sales or at the opening of the Darwil store, this time not in Trieste but in Switzerland, which is planned for this year as part of an ambitious business plan, of course with new models.