Many modern watch designs feel driven by marketing, but family-run German brand Damasko's products are not among them. There's no hype, no celebrity ambassadors or trendy design influence here: just robust materials, in-house movements and tough, practical tool watches made in Bavaria. With their impressively affordable prices, Damasko timepieces make a jaded watch enthusiast feel energized and enthused again.
"We don’t really do marketing, we leave that up to the people," says company founder Konrad Damasko. In other words, it's up to individuals to discover and learn about Damasko's products on their own. That lends Damasko a sense of genuineness and honesty that's rare in the industry, and makes them a treat to discover — but it also leaves the brand's story largely unknown, even to well-versed watch lovers.
Many would be impressed to learn the level of engineering and extent of in-house production that goes into Damasko timepieces. The brand began making watch cases with a focus on materials, technical innovation and durability. Then, when the most popular supplier of Swiss mechanical movements, ETA, announced it would begin restricting supplies, Damasko started developing its own movement.
The company still makes certain watches with sourced movements, but its "manufacture" collection offers strong value considering the prestige and higher costs often associated with in-house production. With over 150 patents to his name and countless innovations, who better to explain his company's story than founder Konrad Damasko himself? We had a chance to ask him a few questions.
[This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]
Interview: Konrad Damasko
Q: How would you describe Damasko to people who are just now learning about the brand?
A: Damasko is based on technology: we build watches to be worn all day, every day, 100% made in Germany.
We make durable and reliable watches using in-house movements, high-tech materials such as titanium, silicon, ice-hardened stainless steel and submarine steel, and we bring these materials to very high standards using different processes (all patented).
We are one of the few watch manufacturers in the world to make its own components in-house, from cases to bracelets, movements, escapements and much more.
We don’t really do marketing, we leave that up to the people.
Q: What was your professional background before Damasko, and how has that experience translated into watchmaking?
A: I started my career in cutting technology processes, followed by production planning, and then as a materials specialist. Next, I worked in the optimization of turning and milling processes.
With a strong inclination for micro-mechanics, all the technological processes and other industrial advantages brought me to the watch industry.
It was a hidden passion for watches that took me there.
Q: What was your relationship with watches before starting your own brand?
A: I love micro-mechanics — I had no connection to the watch industry before. I combined knowledge and passion, and this is how the first Damasko watch came to be.
Q: What other watch brands or models do you admire?
Q: What does a "German watch" mean to you? What qualities do Damasko watches exhibit that reflect a German approach?
A: Highly engineered. We put a lot of emphasis on the technical part. We try to offer as much technology as possible in our watches, and focus on reliability.
No complicated design features, but absolute readability even under vibration, stress, low light and all different demanding environments that other watches wouldn’t withstand.
Q:Damasko has already developed a range of its own solutions for issues common to watches. What technical challenges remain for you to address? What are you working on or plan to work on next?
A: Indeed, we have achieved a lot of technical solutions, and we are very happy about that. In the watchmaking industry, it's hard to come up with groundbreaking solutions nowadays. So we concentrate a lot on improving the material properties.
At the moment, we have a lot of projects in the pipeline. We're working on a three-hand, in-house movement with a new self-winding system which includes new materials so that the winding system can work without lubrication and maintenance for many years. It will also have an increased power reserve.
For our C51 modified movement, we're working on a new indicator which was not possible until now. We will be the only ones to provide such an indicator.
Q: Damasko watches seem competitively priced. How does accessibility factor in to the type of products you choose to make?
A: We make a solid German watch at an affordable price considering the work, innovation and technology we have invested in.
Q: How would you describe the type of customer Damasko is serving?
A: It is very hard to categorize our customers. I would dare to say that we have lots of customers with a fine appreciation of technical features. They come from fields such as aviation, engineering, space industry, medicine, construction and so on. These are all people comparing the technical features we offer and who want the most value for their money.
Q: How has the global health crisis affected your business? What have you had to do differently?
A: Fortunately the business was not affected. Except some health regulations within the company, everything worked at the same parameters as before. We did the best to keep our employees in good health. The only negative aspect was the closure of our official store in Regensburg during the pandemic.
Q: Tell me about the watch you're wearing today.
A: I'm wearing a DC66, almost 20 years old. Still working in perfect condition despite lots of modifications suffered for different projects and tests. It simply doesn’t get old after all these years. It always reminds me of the first steps I made into watch industry.