PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 8 Jan, 2018.
Mechanical chronographs are some of the greatest feats of engineering; so complex, yet so compact. It’s also one of those goals (I think) that everyone seriously into watches should try one out at least once. Of course, they’re usually more expensive (especially Swiss Made) so an affordable option is always welcome.
In comes the EMG DL63. Sporting a striking panda design, it comes in at a very reasonable $350 / £260. EMG are the initials of the founders name (Eric Goodlock), just so you know; but it’s more of a 3-man affair, Eric is joined by two awesome dudes named Derek and Ed. Let’s see how it fares as a watch as a whole.
Dimensions: 42mm diameter x 13mm height x 48mm lug to lug
Water resistance rating: 3ATM / 30m
Movement: Seagull ST1901
Accuracy: +6.4 sec/day
Lug width: 22mm
Warranty: 1 year
Price: $350 / £260
Buy here: https://emgwatches.com/collections/dl63/products/dl63-panda-mechanical-chronograph
The case has a brushed top, with polished sides and bottom. A 42mm diameter is right on point; large enough to provide impressive wrist presence but not too large that it feels like a dish on your wrist. The profile is smooth and sweeping too; with the sides tucking in from the top.
There are lovely pump-grip style pushers, fully polished and easy to use. They provide a decent thud and feedback whilst using them.
The push-pull crown has a detailed padlock (an ode to the founder’s surname “Goodlock”) engraved into the end. It has great grip, which is a good thing as due to it being a hand wind movement – you’ll have to use it every other day! The movement feels sturdy and secure whilst winding.
A disappointment is the fact that the EMG DL63 has a mineral crystal instead of sapphire. It does look cool; it’s boxed and sits high above case. Just be careful not to scratch it! When I enquiries about this; I was informed that there DL63 is using the same case as the well-known Seagull 1963 chronograph, so you’ll likely notice more similarities between the two.
The case back has an angular edging, featuring an exhibition window to showcase the movement nicely. Some minor specs are engraved surrounding the window.
The striking panda dial provides a dramatic view (panda being a white base with two black eyes staring back at you – just like a panda bear).
The logo is located in the centre of the top half – it’s simple but strong. DL63 is in the bottom half and is the only splash of colour.
The applied hour markers are an interesting U shape, made of a reflective black material which looks a bit plasticky. At the base of these is a lumed pip.
The black subdials have white hands and printing to aid legibility: the left is the running seconds and the right being the 30 minute chronograph indicator.
The outer edge of the dial is a bit too busy for my liking, with an inner track for the chronograph seconds hand (with 5 dashes per second), then a minute track and then the tachymeter. I’m not sure the minute track is required – it might have been worth combining the two tracks into one. The tachymeter is nice, a black ring with white text which frames the dial.
The hands are the same reflective black as the hour markers, with a thin lumed channel in the second half. The BGW9 lume isn’t the strongest though, so don’t expect it to be particularly legible in the dark.
The strap seems to be an after-market strap, as there’s no markings or signage on the buckle or strap itself; this is a bit of a shame.
However, the quality is lovely – the leather is super soft and supple; fitting beautifully on the wrist. It is a light tan colour with lighter creamy stitching.
The size is 22mm tapering to 18mm, which is the perfect proportion for the size of case. It also comes loaded with quick release pins, which I personally love and believe should be on every single strap.
It’s very sporty, style thanks to the holey design – working well in tandem with the panda dial.
The movement used in the EMG DL63 is a Seagull ST1901. I’ve seen it before a few times, and it really is a sight to behold. I love the depth to the bridges and inner workings, the finishing also being reasonably good for a cheaper movement.
It’s a very traditional column wheel hand-wind mechanical chronograph, sporting 21 jewels, running at 21.6k bph, with a 40 hour power reserve.
This particular one is very well regulated too, coming in at +6.4 sec/day. Don’t forget it’s hand wind only – you’ll need to crank it every other day otherwise it’ll wind down.
Simply put, a mechanical chronograph for under £300 is hard to beat. I’ve reviewed a couple of Alpha’s (the Radomir and Daytona homages), which are a fair bit cheaper, but the fit and finish is also lesser.
The only negative with the EMG DL63 is the fact that it has a mineral crystal rather than sapphire. Really, that’s the only question you can ask yourself: can you overlook that? Everything else is a non-brainer – striking design (I get sooo many comments on it), great construction and a very affordable price.
It’s good to know that in the future EMG will be offering a reverse panda, bracelet, and additional colours very soon too so it’s worth keeping that in mind.