Dan Henry 1970 Review

Dan Henry 1970 Review

Taking Photos of the Limited Edition Dan Henry 1970 Makes Me Happy in Ways I’m Having a Hard Time Explaining

I am a big fan of this watch, and I’m not the only one. Microbrand Facebook groups, watch websites, forums, and subreddits are all talking about the Dan Henry 1970 and it’s not hard to see why. On style alone it’s on great footing, but the movement choice (a Seiko-derived NH35A), domed crystal, and uniqueness of the piece really are above and beyond what we typically see from a microbrand.

This is my first introduction to Dan Henry as a brand, but I have to say, my first-hand experiences with the 1970 fill me with confidence that the same value carries throughout Dan Henry’s complete line of watches.

The 1970 is the latest from Dan Henry, and next to the stunning 1947 quartz, the 1970 is also the best looking in their collection. Let’s take a deeper dive into what makes the 1970 a great timepiece.

Dan Henry 1970 Case, Dial, & Domed Crystal

Dan Henry 1970 Technical Specifications

 

Model Number

1970

MSRP

$250

Case Diameter

44mm

Movement

Automatic, Seiko NH35A

Complications

Date display

Power Reserve

Estimated 41 hours

Water Resistance

200m / 660ft

Crystal Material

Sapphire-coated mineral

The 1970 Reminds Me of a Lot of Great Watches

As someone who “reviews watches”, one area where I know I lack perspective is in vintage watches, and where a lot of modern designs draw their inspiration from. This fact becomes evident when the watches that the 1970 reminds me of are the Pan-Europ’s (non-chrono) dial, the Orient Bambino’s / Zeppelin Dual Time’s domed crystal, and even the Seiko Alpinist (if only because of the rotating inner ring). For perspective of the historical influences on the 1970’s design, check out this article from Mark McArthur-Christie @ wornandwound.

At 44mm, the 1970 is not a small watch. It’s dominating on the wrist, especially with its two beautifully-decorated crowns, but it benefits from an otherwise minimal case. The lugs don’t extend too far from the case, and they’re relatively small in comparison to the rest of the watch. The big, bold dial is presented as the centerpiece.

The top crown smoothly rotates the inner chapter-ring, and the ring itself glides with precision as you twist the crown. The bottom crown, which operates the movement, also moves with comparable friction and precision. Both are satisfying to use.

The beautifully-decorated crowns on the Dan Henry 1970

The picture to the left (or above if on mobile) shows the finely-engraved crowns, which are sculpted to great detail with precision and without flaw. Both showcase the quality of their build. The picture below this paragraph shows something that only a big, domed crystal like the one here can show: the refraction of the dial against the dial… in the crystal.

The front of the 1970 speaks to me, and I haven’t even gotten to the caseback.

By gosh, I’m smitten with it already.

Refraction on the domed crystal of the Dan Henry 1970 automatic.

The Dial, Crowns, & Crystal Already Make the 1970 a Real Treat to Shoot. Then I Flipped it Over.

And smack, I’m staring at a deep-diving octopus sporting the appropriate gear. The intricacy of the design reminds me of the back of the Corniche Heritage 40 and Ianuarius Richie JR001R, but taken to a completely different level. I mean, you can see the suckers on the tentacles of the octopus.

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Seriously, have a look for yourself:

Engraving on the Dan Henry 1970 caseback.

Close-up of the engraving on the Dan Henry 1970 caseback.

An even closer look at the engraving on the Dan Henry 1970 caseback.

Unfortuantely, the caseback is also where you will find the only flaw on this watch: a marking that looks like corrosion just above the “limited” engraving. Tried as I might, I was unable to wash it off.

Otherwise, you can see the extreme precision of the caseback design. You can also see the quality of the engraving on the individually-numbered casebacks. This is one of the best casebacks I’ve ever seen, and I’ve never seen a caseback as good as this on a watch retailing for under $300. Not even close.

Seiko NH35A Automatic Movement

The first time I had hands-on experience with an NH35A was when I reviewed the Grayton automatic. The NH35A features a 41 hour power reserve, 21,600 bph, and accuracy specified by Seiko as -20/+40 seconds per day.

The NH35A is an evolution of the 7S26 automatic, which can be found in Seiko 5’s (like the SNK809/SNK807), and host of other watches. Where the 7S26 is a bare-bones but reliable movement, the NH35A is its plucky younger brother. It adds hacking, which makes it much better for taking photos of (which matters more to me than it does to you, I suspect), and it also adds hand-winding. These two feature-additions turn the NH35A into a much more refined movement than the older 7S26 that it’s derived from.

I’ve had the Grayton for several months now and still wear it regularly (once a week maybe?), and the NH35A inside of it has been good so far. Other websites have similar compliments for the movement. Its inclusion in the 1970 is, in my mind, a sensible and value-centric choice. I’m happy with it.

Accuracy

In the Grayton I found the NH35A to be running at +18 seconds per day (measured via toolwatch.io). I haven’t measured it inside the 1970, but my impression is that it’s running as good as the Grayton’s is.

Operation

  • Pull the crown to the furthest position (position 3). Turn the crown to adjust the time. Note that the date window will automatically roll over at midnight.
  • Pull the crown to the middle position (position 2). Turn the crown counter-clockwise to adjust the date.

Dan Henry 1970 Case, Domed Crystal, & Lugs

Dan Henry is a Guy With a Story to Tell, and It’s Reflected in His Watches

There’s a lot of talk about the watch world being in a state of panic. This is certainly true of luxury Swiss watches, but I’m not sure if the same can be said about the affordables segment which, in my mind, seems to only be getting stronger. Certainly, there are better watches available in the affordable segment today than ever before. The 1970 is an excellent example of that.

Dan Henry, and I mean the man behind the brand, is a watch-person’s watch-person. His passion for wristwatches and stories, both in their collection and creation, is a defining part of the Den Henry brand. It provides a certain authenticity that wouldn’t exist without it. Wearing the 1970, I feel a definite appreciation for the brand and what the watch I’m wearing represents (and where it comes from).

The 1970 is limited to 1970 pieces. For $250, were I you, I’d think about picking one up.

Buy yours: DanHenryWatch.com

Dan Henry 1970 Photo Gallery

About The Author

If it ticks or tocks, I want it on my wrist. I'm a fan of all things that keep good time, and I can't resist a great looking watch. WYCA is my way of appreciating the engineering and artistry that goes into affordable watches. My favorite watch is my Jazzmaster Auto Chrono, and the watch I wear the most is my Weekender Chronograph. I currently have 33 watches in my collection.

9 Comments

  1. Frank

    Thanks for the review and the gorgeous shots, Cameron –

    I own the orange version and am also fairly happy with it (though it’s not the best value-for-money package out there from my POV, despite many claiming the opposite).

    By the way, the “1970” design is a lot less original when you see the original from the late Sixties: http://www.timeline.watch/watch/1967-exactus-diver-super-compressor-eepsa-36mm/

    Cheers,
    -F-

    Reply
    • Cameron Martel

      Thanks for the kind words, Frank 🙂

      I love the original. The 44mm size on the new one stretches it for me a bit, but it’s a fair size for the average “modern man” I suppose.

      Reply
  2. Andrew

    I have heard the lume is highly disappointing. What’s your opinion?

    Reply
    • Cameron Martel

      The lume is not wonderful, that’s for sure. A 30 second charge gets something visible… barely.

      Reply
  3. Michael Hall

    Interesting watches- based on this article I checked out DH’s site. They’re retro, but not too slavishly so, I think I’d say? I like the 1963 Chrono myself (especially since I don’t have a Chrono in my collection right now) but It’ll have to wait until Santa is done getting his pound of flesh out of me. Oh well.

    Reply
  4. Mon

    I wish more reviewers paid attention to this part of the watchscape like you do. At this price range, up to 1000 dollars. there’s truly interesting micro brands too. I hope you can take a look at Colomer & Sons and Gerlach pieces in the future.

    Love the photography BTW. I can see the passion even if you got in the hobby by accident. These are better images than some popular watch sites I won’t name. You probably love that Tammy to bits.

    On a lighter note, is it just me or this watch is the official timepiece of the SPECTRE organization hunting agent 007?

    Reply
    • Cameron Martel

      🙂 I love finding an affordable watch that is genuinely great, and I’m finding that a lot of the microbrands I review offer that value proposition.

      I haven’t seen the latest 007 (I know, I know!), so I’ll have to refrain from comments re: SPECTRE’s watch choice. I will follow up once I get caught up on super-spy adversarial attire!

      Thanks for your comments- it’s very satisfying to see that other people like the photos I seem to obsess over 🙂

      Best!

      Cam

      Reply
  5. johnnyjohnny

    i’ve tried not to buy these watches, such as invictas and deep blues which are very competent and well made, but with another company’s movement and a sourced case from China usually…as a pawnbroker once described to me, a ‘three-way watch.’

    however, that was back in the 90s and he was talking about some new company then that no one had ever heard of using Sinn watches with their own name on the case. that was Bell & Ross.

    well, we know what happened to them. and similarly, despite my self-promise to buy no more inexpensive watches with exotic names and an NH35 in them, i sadly came across Dan Henry watches on facebook. sadly i say because i knew i’d likely be destined to end up purchasing this remarkable piece.

    of course i did google research. the website itself and some reviews cited the very authentic compressor design (i’ll leave others to google that). i wondered how authentic. i went on ebay and was really blown away by what Henry has done with this watch. it may not be Swiss, but it is better in cosmetics and arguably design, yet true to the 60s/70s, than many of the originals now selling for $900 or more. being a vintage guy, i saw Mr. Henry’s credentials as corroborated. or ‘vetted’ as current political terminology now has it.

    next was my checking reviews, such as yours, and youtube vids of the piece. simply stunning. your review is excellent. the piece is excellent. it may not be an original from the 60s, or a major Swiss brand redo like my recently acquired Oris 65 diver, but the thought and carry through of this piece make it an extreme collectible. not only do i love the design of an internal bezel, i have come to almost only wearing diver watches because they give me something to do that a plain watch will not. time coffee. time tea. time drives. time this comment. my watchmaker charges $280 to service a valjoux 7750 these days, a bargain rate at that, so i have stopped wearing or buying 7750 chronos as i become too aware of the wear and tear i put on it each time i click. but a diver, you can time anything with no wear on the movement.

    so this was a perfect choice once i ‘vetted’ it’s design and heritage. i already know about the NH35 being a big Seiko fan. they have been so good as to average 10 secs a day advance. they beat the Rolexes i’ve had.

    one last point (otherwise you’ll tell me to get my own blog), is that i had almost pulled the trigger on the Alpina Seastrong, a Swiss Alpina version of these compressors that is super lovely. then i researched and discovered the crowns were both screwdown…very inconvenient for trying to time things while driving or on the fly. and since i read the info from another review about the compressors NOT having screwdown crowns, instead having waterproofing via ‘compression’ as they went deeper, the Alpina was not purchased. oddly enough, this arguably as beautiful but actually more authentic watch has earned my purchase. thanks for your part in helping make that decision, excellent review and pics.

    Reply
    • Cameron Martel

      Johnny, you should start your own blog- you clearly know the space and can share great insights. I’d be a reader!

      Reply

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