The makers of the DMG-11 describe it as the watch made in heaven, and certainly it is a timepiece that has been rigorously tested at heights and speeds unimaginable to many of us.
The DMG-11, which was launched at BaselWorld last month, is the brainchild of Finnish watchmakers De Motu and is the fruit of five years of intensive research and testing to create a world first: a pilots’ watch with an integrated G-meter that measures G-force.
The story of the watch began back in 2007, when aviation engineer Valdemar Hirvelä got in touch with Finnish champion pilot Sami Kontio to see whether he would be interested in testing a watch with a G-meter. Hirvelä had designed and made a rudimentary G-meter himself but Kontio willingly accepted the challenge. Upon his first test flight wearing the timepiece Kontio, as pilot, saw the potential of De Motu’s watches and soon became involved with the testing and adaptation of prototypes.
Due to the extreme G-force being placed upon the timepiece, De Motu soon found that using a regular Swiss-made watch movement would not suffice. Instead, it set about creating the watch to its own exacting standards. Today all aspects of the DMG-11 – its design, the G-meter and movement – are made in-house at its workshop within Helsinki-Malmi Airport.
The DMG-11, which has been designed to look like a cockpit instrument, has been built to defy the crushing conditions of G-force. The result has been the creation of its DM 101 movement, a G-meter small enough and reliable enough to fit into a watch.
Though the brand is careful not to reveal the exact components of its movement, it does say it includes a quartz oscillator, has an electro-mechanical design and construction and is able to deliver G-force measurement and timekeeping simultaneously with “astonishing precision”, even under high G-loads and when going very fast and taking corners or turns at extreme speeds; something that aerobatic and jet pilots will endure.
The hours, minutes and seconds hands and a small date are depicted as a sub-dial to the G-meter that takes over the dial, measured in units of two. Its hands measure both the pilot’s current G-force and the top G-force reached, with a maximum reading of 11.
The watch has also been designed to mimic the feel and functions of a plane cockpit. While pilots get a level of feedback and resistance from the buttons and levers in a cockpit and are thus able to tell when a button is locked on without the need for visual confirmation, the DMG-11’s push buttons do the same, providing a level of resistance when pressed.
Before any De Motu watch is considered ready, however, it undergoes a lengthy and varied array of tests on both terra firma and up in the sky. As the technology is brand new it has meant that all tests on the DMG-11 are bespoke to De Motu’s watches. While the watch undergoes traditional testing on the ground each one is taken into the air by test pilots, who measure, verify and record each watch’s function, often for prolonged periods, noting them down in a special logbook that is presented alongside each DMG-11.
DE MOTU DMG-11: THE STATS
Weight: 147 grams
Movement: Manufacture De Motu DM 101
Materials: Case crafted in a choice of tripartite stainless steel, DIARC-coated stainless steel or titanium, with a choice of leather or steel bracelet straps
Water Resistance: 100m
Series: 30 numbered pieces
RRP: From £5,720
This article was taken from the April 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine. To read a digital version of this issue online click here.