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The DAVOSA Evo 1908 Automatic gives us a glimpse into the history of the wristwatch. Like a photograph, the watch captures a snapshot from a time when our way of telling the time changed fundamentally. A little history lesson…
The pocket watch – a 400-year success story
For a long time, pocket watches were the measure of all things or we can say the measure of time. As early as 1500, watchmakers developed the first portable watches after the invention of the spring drive. During its hundreds of years of history, however, the practical pocket watch remained a privilege of the upper classes. Its importance as a status symbol and heirloom of the wealthy bourgeoisie did not diminish in the 19th century, when the industrial revolution brought about a drop in manufacturing prices.
The next turn of the century brought far-reaching changes. With it came the end of the pocket watch. More and more, timepieces went out of fashion and were overtaken by new types of solutions. Thanks to industrialization, the world began to turn faster. Along with this, the desire arose in the population to always and as quickly as possible catch a glimpse of the current time of day. It was therefore logical that the pocket watch moved from its namesake pocket to the wrist. Strapped with a wristband, the wristwatch was born.
However, the transition was not a revolution from one day to the next, but rather an evolution over the years.
With corners and edges
We immerse ourselves in this exciting process with DAVOSA. The Swiss watchmaker “captured” the transition as if with a camera and not only put the unusual design of the time on paper, but also on the wrist. In keeping with the theme, the name of the original wristwatch is Evo 1908. And since the pocket-wristwatch hybrid is apparently expected to be extremely popular, the Evo was immediately designed as a small series. This includes five references in tasteful colors and with different dial designs.
DAVOSA counts the Evo as part of the Executive series. This category includes wristwatches that are ideally suited for everyday use and stand out for their classic and equally straightforward design. Whether the Evo brings exactly these qualities with it, I want to find out in this watch review.
The DAVOSA Evo 1908 Automatic on the wrist
For this purpose, DAVOSA sent me the reference 161.575.44. My test watch comes with the blue guilloché pattern and is worn on the brown leather strap. Actually, the sister model with white dial (161.575.14) was planned first. The current (as of April 2023) low inventory reveals that the watch seems to be popular. DAVOSA itself divides its Evo 1908 series into two different lines, a classic one and a slightly sportier one. Both references just mentioned belong to the classic line with their guilloché dials.
If we talk about the Evo, then its most important feature cannot be missed: the uniquely shaped case, which is neither really square nor round. I would most likely compare it to a tonneau shape.
In the case design, you can clearly see the transition from the round pocket watch to the angular wristwatch. It is neither really round nor angular, which makes it stand out. From a distance, most people still recognize it as a square timepiece. The roundness is subtle and more something for a second look.
DAVOSA has delivered on its promise of a classic wristwatch for everyday use. The Evo 1908 looks very stylish, but not at all antiquated. In general – the cliché that such watches are rather something for the older generation, I think is long outdated. Age is not a criterion to wear the DAVOSA Evo 1908 Automatic. Of course, an optional stainless steel bracelet would be exciting, on which I could also imagine the case well.
The watch in detail
Dimensions of 39.50 millimeters in length and 36 millimeters in width make the DAVOSA Evo 1908 Automatic a compact companion in everyday life. In addition, the 12 millimeters lie relatively flat. In other words, the dimensions were chosen just right. When it comes to manufacturing, DAVOSA does not experiment. The Swiss brand relies on classic materials and an unagitated finish that nevertheless does not get boring. I like the workmanship of the stainless steel used. Satin and polished surfaces alternate.
However, the DAVOSA Evo 1908 is far from being a weatherproof functional watch – who would have thought that? That’s why the Swiss manufacturer certifies that its retro homage is water resistant up to 5 bar. That protects the Evo from splashing water, after all. High-quality materials and premium manufacturing nevertheless guarantee durability. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal does the rest.
On the back, a round viewing window embedded in the case back picks up on the increasingly old-fashioned pocket watch shape at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the viewing window itself is a very modern appearance of our time. Behind it, we see the built-in automatic movement, which DAVOSA for once didn’t give a cover name to, and itself refers to the Sellita SW260. The SW 260 does without a center second hand and drives a small second instead. That makes it much rarer than a conventional Sellita SW200. Generally, you can compare the SW260 with an ETA 2895-1. Officially, it is stated to have a power reserve of a solid 38 hours.
The dial of the DAVOSA Evo 1908
The dial offers several special features. I find its shape fascinating, which adapts to the shape of the case and therefore must be curved. You don’t see something like that too often.
Whether the Evo of your choice belongs to the classic or sporty line according to DAVOSA’s subdivision, you can tell from the dial. My test reference 161.575.44 is adorned with a guilloché pattern, which visually originates in the center of the dial where the hour and minute hands sit. Like a pull, it draws the viewer’s attention to this point. The position of the hand-applied Arabic and dash indices further enhances this effect. In contrast, the three references of the sporty line do without this effect. With their rectangular shaped numerals, they seem more static, reduced and clear. Personally, I would still go for the guilloché pattern, which simply fascinates me and gives the Evo a very special stamp.
As standard, the DAVOSA Evo 1908 references are equipped with SuperLuminova luminous coating. In the dark, my test model shines with first-class readability. Speaking of readability. Of course, the sporty line already shows how it can be done better. Nevertheless, with a watch like this, I can make sacrifices in favor of the extraordinary design. A small second (here with sunburst finish) is located above 6 o’clock, a date window at 3 o’clock. This separation also makes it clear which era the DAVOSA Evo 1908 is inspired by.
DAVOSA against the kink
The company is particularly proud of the “kink-free” bracelet. The extension of the case in the area of the lugs prevents the bracelet from bending unsightly and guarantees that the Evo fits snugly on the wrist. I was convinced by the successful quality of the leather strap, whose color tone varies from reference to reference. If you opt for one of the sporty variants, you can look forward to contrast stitching.
My conclusion about the DAVOSA Evo 1908
With a price of 998.00 euros, the Evo scratches the four-digit mark and the imaginary border to the premium level. Qualitatively, it has already reached this level, as the test proves. DAVOSA once again lives up to its reputation as a price-performance leader. Besides the good materials and the beautifully guilloché dial, the installed Sellita SW260 proves this.
DAVOSA has also achieved its goal of creating a traditional and equally modern watch. Two eras meet in a wide variety of places. Here the classic tonneau shape, there the nowadays common viewing window in the case back with modern technology behind it. This mix is what makes the five references so interesting. The division into a classic and a sporty line gives you further leeway to buy according to your taste.
As always, everything important about the Evo 1908, DAVOSA and other watches from the Swiss brand can be found below.