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This is my third D1 Milano (behind the Ultra Thin and X-Ray), and they never cease to amaze me. Beautifully slender watches with some serious Gerald Genta vibes; they could easily be classed as an affordable alternative for those who love the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or Patek Philippe Nautilus style.

The case and especially the bracelet that D1 Milano craft is a force to be reckoned with; it’s a work of art at this price point. However, the RRP of €545 / £490 for a watch housing an NH35 seems a bit steep at first glance. Let’s check out the watch in closer detail.

The specs

The video review

Let’s start with how it wears on my 7” wrist. Well, it’s perfect. The 41.5mm diameter case doesn’t wear as large as that, thanks to the integrated bracelet and down-turned lugs. It truly hugs the wrist very well indeed, helped by the very malleable and flexible nature of the brilliant bracelet.

There’s barely a curve in sight; instead, D1 Milano has opted for an extremely angular and aggressive case shape with pronounced angles, edges and corners. It’s impressively machined, showcasing very definite lines and extremities.

The case is all brushed, bar four polished edges of the bezel which provide a bit of glitz and glamour to an otherwise rather industrial vibe. The overall quality in construction is to a very high standard, with definite lines and corners as well as tidy finishing.

The flat sapphire crystal has an effective anti-reflective coating on the underside; it’s very clear and provides a pleasant viewing experience of the dial.

The hexagon screw-in crown has a clean and crisp bevelled edge and is super easy to grip and use.

50m water resistance is a bit of a disappointment, especially as the watch has a screw-in crown. Perhaps this is due to the industrial styled caseback, which is octagonal and secured in place by 8 screws.

Moving on to the dial; it’s straightforward in design but I’m smitten by the blue dial and complementary orange outer second track and seconds hand.

The pitched and polished hour and minute hands alongside the applied hour markers are simple yet bold, and impeccably crafted.

And now, the star of the show: the bracelet. D1 Milano’s bracelets are some of the best I’ve ever come across under £500. Each link is created to the minutest detail, with millimetre-perfect precision. Fully brushed to ensure it remains scratch-free for as long as possible, due to the relatively short length of each link the bracelet wraps around the wrist very well, is straight forward to get a comfortable fit, and it provides a glorious array of reflections. The viewing pleasure is compounded by the bevelling found along the outer edges of each link.

There’s one minor point – it’s a nightmare to open. The concealed butterfly clasp looks excellent; the only tease of its existence is a ridge with the D1 Milano logo neatly and deeply engraved on one side which overlaps the other side of the clasp. But, as it’s just a push-fit clasp (no buttons to open it), it’s extremely tight and tough to open just by pulling it. Of course, it’s good in a way, as it ensures the clasp won’t open up willy-nilly; but I just wish it wasn’t quite as tough as it is.

Now, on to the question that we’re all asking. How can they justify that price when it’s powered by an NH35? I must admit, I’m struggling to do so. After all, you can get some amazing Swiss Made watches boasting the peerless ETA 2824-2 around the £500 mark.

Now, I don’t want to poopoo the NH35 totally, as it’s quite possibly the most popular automatic movement found within affordable watches at the moment, and there’s no doubt about it – it is a brilliant piece of engineering. Solid, dependable, reliable; but it’s also cheap and uninspiring. For a watch costing £500, I would expect at least a high-beat Miyota 9XXX series. There is one positive; it’s clearly been regulated as it’s been running at an impressive +4.8 seconds a day. It has a hacking seconds hand and hand winding capabilities and runs at 21.6k bph (6 ticks per second) as well as 24 jewels and a 41-hour power reserve.

It’s such a shame, as whilst it’s a good movement, it just not special enough for the asking price.

Final comments

There’s no doubt about it, this is a gorgeously crafted timepiece. The case and bracelet are to die for, particularly in the sub-£500 bracket. It’s also a modern, clean design throughout.

But, that RRP is a tough one to take. Personally, I can’t justify the RRP due to the movement within. If you can find one either in a sale or with a price discount then I’d wholeheartedly recommend one. However, that is a subjective case; after all, some of you may not necessarily care too much about the movement. In which case, you’ll get a delightful watch.

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