The Damasko Story
If you're anything like us, an ardent horologist, then nothing will excite you quite so much as an exclusive. We occasionally pinch ourselves to think that we're Damasko's sole agent in the UK. To discover why, keep reading.
Before we delve into the brand’s heritage to discuss the astonishing technological leaps that this family-run watchmaker has made since its inception in 1994, let us first remind ourselves of what we are dealing with.
Every Damasko timepiece in existence is, first and foremost, a highly accurate, reliable and robust tool. The German brand is and always has been, laser-focused on the technical prowess of their timepieces above all else. The watches’ action ready styling does indeed draw appreciative gazes, but these timepieces are thoroughly up to task.
After all, they’re seemingly indestructible. Damasko’s stainless steel watch cases are approximately four times harder than your average timepiece, crafted as they are by a manufacturer who develops materials for use in tasks as extreme as Space Shuttle fuel pumps, jet engine turbine bearings and helicopter rotor bearings. They are known to wear down steel tweezers and iron nails before succumbing to damage themselves.
Their ability to withstand up to 9G, temperature fluctuations from -40C to Sahara-like +54C, and intense scratches or scuffs, caused Damasko watches to pass comprehensive military testing. Airbus, Eurofighter pilots and test pilots from Airbus, in Manching, Bavaria, have worn the Damasko DC56 as uniform for nine years.
But we digress. Were it not for founder Konrad Damasko's previous career, as the owner of Damasko Metallbearbeitung from 1990, today’s Damasko watches would never have been commercially attainable. The necessary research and development costs of Damasko's innovations would have placed a stratospheric price tag on the watches, which may have crippled the brand altogether, simply due to lack of demand.
However, Damasko's high-tech metal processing company allowed him to make watches of this calibre, for a reasonable price – their value for money simply can't be matched elsewhere. Prior to watch making, he precision engineered over five million ultra-high grade metal components for instruments as diverse as satellites and fountain pens, piston rods and surgical instruments.
In the very beginning, watchmaking was a fascination for him, which, fortunately for collectors and the watch industry at large, surely blossomed into a vocation. Damasko set his mind to constructing a robust mechanical wristwatch which required little maintenance. And so the Damasko Watch Collection was established in 1994, co-founded by his wife Petra Damasko.
Their children Nadja, Christoph, and Isabella have since joined the boutique family business in Barbing, Germany - where they design and manufacture over 90% of the necessary watch parts inhouse, excluding the glass, dials, and hands. Expert craftsmen spend a week assembling each Damasko watch. They’re not, and never will be, mass produced – so you belong to a small and select group of collectors indeed, when you own one.
For the first four years of business, Damasko’s drive for innovation was particularly acute, although their industrious drive for perfection is relentless even now. The industry-leading, research obsessed brand filed over 100 patents to safeguard their innovations thus far.
1994 saw their first ground-breaking patent, for the aforementioned nickel-free, ultra-hard, ice-tempered stainless steel watch case. Molten steel is enriched with nitrogen while under pressure in the manufacturing process.
Today, the case cutting machine sets to work on Monday morning, but everything made before Tuesday afternoon is discarded, because Damasko refuse to consider them absolutely perfect, until the machine and building temperature stabilises. Such is their attention to detail.
From the year 2000, the brand turned their attention on silicon and DLC coatings. Even now, every black Damasko is covered in ‘Damest’ by a single person – a secret patent, used to protect and maintain your watch’s showroom quality appearance. It makes it all but impossible to mark your Damasko watch, and we invite you to test this yourself!
Between 2004 and 2006, Damasko focussed their efforts on crafting wear-free bezels, balance-springs and poly-silicon escapements. But arguably, their greatest triumph occurred in the spring of 2010 – when Damasko invented their first self-winding mechanism, the A35-1.
Make no mistake, this truly world-class feat has had other companies racing to catch up with ever since. True to form, Damasko spared no effort or attention on their automatic movement. Although silicon hairsprings are lighter than metal alternatives, and therefore less susceptible to damage, brands rarely use them. But of course Damasko do, and in addition, they developed nano-technology coatings using diamond like carbon, to create a lubricant-free escapement fit for purpose.
Their first in-house movement is exquisitely decorated with 18 rubies and blued screws. The cock and bridges are adorned with Geneva stripes, while the winding wheels enjoy a sun-brushed finish, on the circular-grained and rhodium-plated base plate. It’s shock proof and resistant to incredible centrifugal and gravitational forces. These watches are built to last.
Two years later, Damasko released their first ever dress watch, the DK101. It came packed with another innovation, the brand’s first hand-winding movement, the H35. To witness the graceful movement in action, simply peer through your watches sapphire case back. In 2013, Damasko Watch Collection ultimately rebranded as the Damasko, we know and admire today.
Collectors, the wider watch industry, Page and Cooper, patiently wait to witness Damasko’s future advances. While their timepieces are hardly ostentatious, they’re extremely well finished, functional and solid – remarkable achievements for a 20 year old brand.
If this has whet your appetite for further information about Damasko, consider it sated. You can read our interview with Konrad Damasko and take a look back on our recent factory visit here or watch our video tour.