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04 : Watches

Damasko DA36

Bought Date 25/10/2016
Bought From Damasko, Germany
Price €1796
Movement ETA2836-2 : 25 Jewels, Automatic, Day/Date, 28,800vph
Serial NumberDA36-1981
Anti-magnetic80,000A/m,1000 Gauss
Water Resistance100m
StrapDamasko Steel Bracelet

The DA36

I see this watch as a modern version of Rolex's Milgauss - tough with the same level of Magnetic Resistance as the original Milgauss (1000 Gauss). The original anti-magnetic engineer's watch from Rolex wasn't the multi-thousands-of-pounds bauble they sell today.

Originally Rolex produced relatively expensive, but still affordable, tool-watches.

Unlike the Veblen Goods they churn out today.

Damasko's original and iconic watch, the DA36, is something akin to an early Rolex. Not cheap, but also not ridiculously over-priced. It has no obvious external frills, but has plenty of technology inside to justify the price and to add functional value.

I often ponder whether I'd buy a Milgauss if I could afford the £7000+ price tag. And now I've lived with the DA36 for almost 6 years I don't know that I would. My watch is now my watch. Why swap for another expensive toy?

Damasko have recently re-configured their range of watches and dropped the DA36, and most of the others from their early years of production, as they move upwards, into making higher price watches with in-house movements, rather than using off-the-shelf ETA units.

I'd love a DA36 to appear with the in-house movement, but I don't know that this is going to happen.

UPDATEJohn Pumford-Green 24/04/23 17:45

The DA36 has now reappeared - as the DK36 with the new in-house A26-3 movement.

DK36 at Damasko

My watch developed a fault after a couple of years but this was easily repaired by Damasko. I might have introduced the fault myself after opening it up a few times to regulate it - perhaps I let in some dirt that found its way to the escapement and caused some abrasion?

I don't know.

It's now working perfectly well after 2½ years of continuous daily wear. I only take it off to have a bath/shower and (usually) to sleep, and very rarely if I need to squeeze my left hand into a tight space when working on cars, Land Rovers or transmitters. I don't think I've let it run down since the repair in December 2019.

The Milgauss

A modern Milgauss for comparison. There's not a lot of aesthetic similarity, the modern Milgauss is quite gaudy, with its green sapphire crystal and shiny dial.

The 1960's version ref. 1019 (not the original submariner style with a timing bezel) looks more workmanlike and is the one I'd go for if I had the money. When I last looked a birth year 1966 Milgauss fetches around £22,000…. so I'll stick with my DA36 and let it age with me.

The Damasko Steel Bracelet

The DA36 was bought with the Damasko steel bracelet and initially I was happy with it.

It is super-engineered. Each link, of ice hardened bead-blasted steel to match the watch's case, is fixed with strong torx secured pivot pins. The whole bracelet can be dismantled for cleaning. It's very strong, very well designed and very well made.

After time though the lack of adjustment (even with the two supplied “long” links) meant it became difficult to find a good comfortable fit.

The DA36 was then worn mostly on the Damasko leather strap or a variety of NATO straps, including some elastic MN types, which are certainly very comfortable.

The steel bracelet was sold in 2017, to someone in the USA, after I decided I couldn't get on with it.

Following the appearance of the rate-error fault in 2018, I switched to my Seiko SKX007 on a Strapcode Oyster steel bracelet, and liked it so much I decided to buy another Damasko steel bracelet for the DA36, and to request a set of additional adjustment links to allow more variation in size. The longer links can be bought in sets of 2 pairs, which along with the 2 pairs that come with the bracelet, allow a smooth adjustment in tiny steps, almost matching the difference made by adding or removing a normal link.

The new bracelet and links were bought in November 2019.

This allowed the use of up to 5 1) adjustment links to step smoothly between the jump in one normal link. A good fit was obtained with 3 or 4 added long links. After some time I found I could wear the bracelet with no adjustment links, my wrist settled to a size that suited a whole number of normal links, but I have the option of a good range of adjustment, if things should change in future.

I occasionally put a NATO strap on, but it rarely stays for more than a day or two before the pull of the super-strong super-engineered bracelet wins out.

add some photos of the DA36

Watch-u-seek threads


Bought : 25/10/16 Arrived : 2/11/16

Initial Rate Tests

First 20 Days : Δ +11.4s -> +0.6s/d

Watchcheck data etc ....

Fault apparent

29/08/18	-5.7	-2.1
30/08/18	-36.3	-31.4		????? Massive loss in one day!!! 

Rate and amplitude errors v. bad on Timegrapher.

Watch put aside and not worn, until October 2019!!

Worn again after 12 months

10/11/19	-11.9	-2.4		dial down overnight
11/11/19	-14.1	-2.3		dial up overnight. Low amp. observed during the previous day?
12/11/19	-16.2	-2.2		Overnight on winder. Low amp. observed during the previous day
13/11/19	-18.6	-2.3		overnight on winder. being consistent day → day despite amplitude concerns.
14/11/19	-21.0	-2.3		overnight on winder.

Fault Re-appears

New period - fault re-appearing

14/11/19	-32.6	-44.9 		(21:04:32) on winder for previous hour. 2 seconds lost.    	      
15/11/19	-45.2	-19.5  		(17:36:45) on TG since 06:30.... variable amp. & poor rate

2019 Repair Details

Sent to Damasko for inspection and repair : 18/11/19

Damasko confirm fault as After checking it our watchmaker told us that there is many abrasion in the movement.

Repair details

Cleaning, and oiling the escapement

Regulate DA36.1981 €120

Shipping costs UK €50

Total amount €170

Returned from Damasko : 14/12/19

Fault now absent :-)

Performance after repair

Timegrapher Check 20/11/20

After 11 months of daily wear

Dial Up321+8
Dial Down290+6
D -6

Timegrapher Check 19/12/21

2 Years after repair. Worn Daily

D up321+5
D dn308+3
D -3

Timegrapher Check 18/1/22

Still wearing daily

D up313 +2
D dn316 +1
6H296 +1
3H292 0
9H278 0
12H286 0
D -1

Watchcheck 2022


Rate is now dropping after 2½ years of daily wear. Will monitor and wait for rate to exceed manufacturer's specification before sending for service/regulation.

See dedicated page Measurements (2022)

Timegrapher Check 22/5/22

A morning and afternoon test to compare readings of different levels of power.

  • Time : 10:15
    • After overnight Dial Up
D up299 -3
D dn300 -1
6H277 -4
3H272 -4
9H269 -3
12H277 -4
D -1
  • Time : 15:45
    • worn for 7 hours
D up317 +1
D dn307 +3
6H289 -1
3H302 0
9H301 0
12H299 -1
D -2

Update May 2022

I've owned the DA36 now for over 5 years. After the repair, and getting the 2nd bracelet, it's rarely off my wrist. I'll occasionally wear another watch (typically a G-Shock) on my right wrist.

The DA36 stays on the left.

The ice-hardened steel is very resistant to scratching or other marks. After 5 years I can see some slight blemishes - just signs of an active life. The bracelet has more marks than the watch case itself - links rub against each other and the bracelet is more likely to be rubbed against hard surfaces than the watch - and as time goes by it slowly (very slowly) starts to look less like a new watch and more like a tool watch.

There are marks on the bezel, and on the bracelet end-link, at the 12 o'clock position, I guess I caught it on something abrasive at some time…. more wabi-sabi

The hardened steel, and matte bead-blasted finish, mean that there is no slow development of a general swirly patina. A scratch shows up, in the right light, as a shiny area of un-bead-blasted reflective steel. It's just the characteristic of the material. I wonder what it'll look like in another 10 years?

Time Keeping performance

Still well within COSC standards ( -4 / +6 ) at around -2s/d as of May 2022. Rolex now guarantee their watches to run better than COSC, at ±2 s/d. My DA36 has been within this range for the last few years, and is only now starting to fall outside that range. It may wander back towards zero over time. Who knows how all the different variables inter-react to make up the overall rate error, and how they vary with time?

Time Grapher 23/5/22

Dial Up316+2
Dial Down315+4
D -4

Quick shot on the TimeGrapher…


On a Marine-Nationale Green/Yellow NATO

John Pumford-Green 31/05/22 12:54

A change from the super-tough steel bracelet.

New WatchGecko NATO

John Pumford-Green 05/06/22 17:25


Page created Sun May 22 00:25:30 2022 by John Pumford-Green

Page last updated: 05/06/22 17:25 BST

yes, I've actually got 5 pairs in total, can't remember the details of how this happened!
public/watches/damasko/start.txt · Last modified: 24/04/23 18:48 BST by john