I was amazed when the video I made of the original Devon Tread 1 fake watch went viral (you can see it on YouTube). Published in 2010, this video shows me how to use the Tread 1 and shows how its belt-driven timing system works. At the time of writing, it has about 450,000 views – an impromptu video I shot on a kitchen counter in Devon, Los Angeles. Later, I was lucky enough to get a Devon Tread 1 for a while and wrote about it in my full review.
In 2012, Tread 1 launched a special limited-edition “steampunk” version, and I’m delighted to offer this exclusive review and experience it for the first time. This is Devon’s answer to a more artistic version of the mechanical art watch, and I’m glad they decided to make it. If you think the Tread 1 is a niche product, I wonder how you feel about the Tread 1 Steampunk? In most respects, the steampunk version of the Tread 1 is identical to the original. Mechanically identical (though it has the latest firmware), and case dimensions are more or less comparable (all steampunk cladding differs). Having said that, the new parts make it feel like something else entirely – no, those aren’t loose screws coming out of it.
However, the watch does contain a lot of screws – mostly cosmetic. The steampunk aesthetic stems from a Jules Verne-inspired mix of science fiction and industrial revolution-era technology and machinery. Most people think it’s retro-futuristic, and I have to admit a lot of it is pretty cool. A hallmark of steampunk creation is the “stale” look, where things don’t look new. This is actually why bronze is a fashionable material in some watches. The Tread 1 Steampunk uses it heavily to create a convincingly aged look – which is actually a fascinating irony, since the Tread 1’s interior is so modern. No “real” steampunk item will have a computer microcontroller!
The Tread 1 Steampunk comes in shades of gold and brown, making it unique in the complex world of high-end steampunk. Compared to a few other things, the Tread 1 Steampunk is actually a bargain. Then again, as a luxury timepiece, it’s not cheap at all. Shopping fake watch
It’s hard for me not to laugh with the Tread 1 Steampunk on my wrist. I actually know it looks silly to a lot of people, but it just tickled me right in all the right places. Maybe it’s a lifetime of enjoying video games and sci-fi, maybe it’s just my “male instinct” telling me this watch is cool. Is it cooler than the original Tread 1? It’s really something completely different. In fact, I dare say that, given the steampunk colors and old-fashioned look, it’s actually more “fashionable and versatile” than the more futuristic units.
The size of the Tread 1 Steampunk is not small. The case is 56mm wide and 50mm high. The case is also 18.5mm thick. However, it’s a lot more comfortable to wear than you might think – thanks to the richly clad lugs. The metal case appears to be a mix of steel and bronze, paired with a nice-looking brown leather strap. Devon does a great job of mixing colors and textures well. Steampunk lovers will no doubt be fascinated.
The design element of the Tread 1 Steampunk is essentially the “armor cladding” on the original case. This includes bronze plates and screws. I first wrote about the Devon Tread 1 Steampunk watch here, showing a rendering of the design. You can see that the final version is slightly different, but not completely different. The “Frankenstein’s Monster” neck screw is still there and looks very proud. It’s actually not that sharp to the touch. My favorites are the screw rivets around the case and the patina that develops on the bronze surface. This patina evolves over time and slightly changes the look of the watch. Hardcore collectors love these things.
One element that wasn’t present in the Tread 1 Steampunk concept was a different color for the numbers on the belt. Devon should use a tan that matches bronze and brown. Maybe it’s not clear enough. A black belt with white text still does it for me. Although maybe it would be interesting to use a brown belt to give the appearance that the belt is made of leather or something like that. What Devon did was change the colour of the internal mechanics so they had a brass finish instead of a polished steel look. I think it’s a nice touch and is used throughout the movement mechanics.
I suddenly realized that some of you are reading Devon Tread 1 for the first time, which means you are not familiar with the concept. I’ll take a quick look at it, but see the review of the original Tread 1 for more details on how it works and everything it does. The concept of the watch is simple: use a series of electronic single-step motors in conjunction with a small computer to move a belt that shows the time. The dial has windows where you can read the correct hours, minutes and seconds. It’s easy to read and use.
Devon doesn’t call the watch a simple quartz movement, but an electromechanical movement. This is not inaccurate. The movement is specially designed in German and is very complicated. It has a lithium-ion battery that lasts about 2-3 weeks, and the watch can be turned off to save power, or put into a power saving mode that only displays hours and minutes (not seconds). This power saving mode is how most people leave their watch anyway – mainly because the constant sound of the motor running can be a little boring to the ears. In power saving mode it only happens once per minute. The full bore “All Belt Activity Mode” is for when you really want people to notice what’s on your wrist.
To control the fake watch Price, you have a kind of joystick that looks like a crown attached to the case. It works well once you understand how it works. Is this a quality timepiece for everyday wear? It really depends on who you are. Action heroes, Bond villains and oil tycoon-wearing rattlesnake boots probably wear a watch every day. Most others will choose a few times a week when they feel like they want to talk to the world. You really don’t want to wear this watch if you’re not seeking attention.