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Dubois et fils Bidynator Watch Review

by Aug 22, 2021DuBois et Fils, Limited Edition

 

What to do with a bunch of movements that have been lying in a warehouse since the 1950’s?  Bring them to life in modern timepieces of course!!

That is what Dubois et fils have done with the Bidynator and at the same time have made a period of horological history available to modern day watch lovers.  

A series of different limited edition designs are available and they all share the same secret – each piece houses an original rose gold Felsa Calibre that was originally built in the 1950’s.

DuBois et fils summarise the idea behind the Bidynator so eloquently here:

Almost 70 years after its invention, DuBois et fils is bringing back the first automatic movement with a double-sided winding rotor – the Bidynator – in its authentic form.  DuBois et fils offers these valuable eyewitnesses of the Swiss watch industry accessible to each and every one who appreciates high-quality craft and beauty.

DuBois et Fils Bidynator

DuBois et Fils Bidynator

Face & case

The 42 mm stainless steel case, has both polished and brushed surfaces.  The bezel is relatively wide and lugs short and purposeful, which gives the Bidynator a slightly smaller appearance than other watches with the same case size.

In this version, a deep chocolate brown dial is complimented by applied rose gold plated hour markers, which even though the dial is flat and the markers are quite long (and straight and flat too), the indexes appear curved, due to the box shaped sapphire crystal having some height and a steep angle to it’s angled edge.  Four shorter, minute markers are printed in white between each of the hour markers.

Dubois et Fil’s name and logo are prominent, taking up most of the area below 12 o’clock; these have also applied and in rose gold.  The model name Bidynator is in bold and white, above 6 o’clock, Swiss Made on either side of 6 o’clock and there is also a date window and wheel in white at 3 o’clock.

The hands top it off and are finished in rose gold.  The hour and minute hands are surprisingly intricate; in a skeletonised Dauphine style and the central seconds hand is narrow, but slightly thicker after the centre.  

Unusually, the crown tapers in slightly from the watch to its end and is plated in rose gold; the brand’s logo is stamped onto the end.

Looking at the watch from the side, you will notice the lugs appear quite short; flowing smoothly out from the case, they then curve down quickly at their ends, allowing for comfortable fit to the wrist.

Turn it over and you will see the rose gold Felsa 4007N Bidynator movement through the exhibition caseback, both “FELSA 4007N” and “BIDYNATOR” are clearly engraved around the edge. The oscillating weight has various finishes on it, including the brand’s logo and their year of launch (1785).  

The sapphire crystal is held down by the 4 screws visible on the frame, as well as other engravings, such as the brand’s name, the limited edition number, model reference and 5 ATM, confirming the watch has been tested to provide 50m water resistance.

DuBois et Fils Bidynator Case Back

DuBois et Fils Bidynator Case Back

Movement

DuBois et fils have used the rose gold FELSA 4007N Bidynator movement here.  Originally built in the 1950s, they have been expertly disassembled, cleaned, checked, oiled and carefully regulated, so their reliability and accuracy easily compares with modern automatic movements.

Featuring 25 jewels, the Calibre beats at a frequency of 18’000 A/H and owners should expect a power reserve of around 42 hours.

The majority of the movements parts have been manufactured using rose gold.

DuBois et Fils Bidynator Side & Crown

DuBois et Fils Bidynator Side & Crown

Strap

A chocolate brown calf leather strap, with dark brown stitching and a protective rubber lining is secured with a stainless steel pin buckle. 

Similar to the case, the buckle has both polished and brushed edges to it; it is also oversized, which makes way for the brand’s logo to be engraved boldly across it.  The pin also has a slightly larger width to it. 

DuBois et Fils Bidynator Strap & Buckle

DuBois et Fils Bidynator Strap & Buckle

Other stuff

DuBois et fils are proud to have the oldest watch factory in Switzerland – founded by Philippe DuBois in 1785, the brand originally created pocket watches and now makes wristwatches.  

DuBois et fils also owns a warehouse of historic movements which dates from the last century.  Many of these movements will be incorporated into limited edition watches by DuBois et fils, the purpose being to preserve historic Swiss Watch examples for future generations. 

Small clockwork manufacturers (in particular) used to dominate the Swiss watch market. They continuously improved the quality of the works and developed new functions and their innovations therefor by default ended up influencing the products that the big watch brands released to the retail markets for decades.

Amongst the great innovators of the 1940’s and 1950’s was Friedrich Meyer.  Whilst at the clockwork manufacture FELSA in Grenchen, Switzerland, in 1942 he developed the first automatic movement with a double sided winding rotor.  This was called the “Bidynator” and it made a big impression on the Swiss watch industry – it is this exact movement being used in this Bidynator.

DuBois et Fils Bidynator On the WristDuBois et Fils Bidynator On the Wrist

Our verdict

I am personally a big fan of brown dials in rose gold cases, however I haven’t seem many (if any) attempts in stainless steel cases.  I do think it works though; the use of rose gold on the dial and hands creates the contrast as expected, however in my opinion, the crown would have been better in steel to match the case.

At 42mm, the size is perfect for me – it does wear slightly smaller than that, but it has a decent weight to it and fits comfortably.  At only 12mm thick, it can be worn as discretely as the owner likes and the box crystal is smooth, so fighting with cuffs will likely not be a concern.

There is no doubt that the watch comes with an abundance of heritage.  Many collectors (myself included) would not only be interested to learn the history behind the Felsa movement inside, but also to know they have a piece of that history on their wrist in a modern timepiece.

DuBois et fils have done well here, as they have managed to bring these movements back to life in this brown dial version, in a 33 piece limited edition, for a modest 4,500 CHF.

The bad news is that this brown dial version of the Bidynator is already sold out, but the good news is that as I write, there are currently another 5 designs (out of 11 released so far) and all are limited edition runs around the same retail price as this one is – they all are powered by a piece of Swiss watch making history.

 https://duboisfils.ch/

 

 

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