You may have seen these watches on Facebook ads and wondered if they are any good. We were sent a DMC 1981 watch to see if it’s a hit or a miss.

A Week on the Wrist – DMC 1981 Chronograph Review

DMC – or the DeLorean Motor Company to give its full name may not be a household name these days, but to those of us who grew up in the 1980s, it means a lot. That’s because a futuristic gullwing DeLorean car was used to propel Doc Brown and Marty McFly Back to the Future in the film series and now a British brand has licensed the name to use on a series of… watches?

DeLorean DMC

The DMC is presented while in a quality box with white stitching and shiny logo, with an image of the iconic vehicle on the front. It really would make a great gift for a lover of the 80s!


The DMC 1981 is based around a 42mm 316L stainless steel case. It is polished, not brushed, so beware of micro-scratches! The watch feels solid and suitably heavy, with good action on the pushers and the unsigned crown. Round the back is an etched design of the DeLorean car which looks very cool indeed. The crystal is mineral glass which is acceptable for the price range, but not as scratch resistant as sapphire. The watch wears well, and it is well balanced.

Inside is a quartz Miyota movement that has a chronograph function. Unfortunately, like the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane I reviewed last month, it is not a “true” chronograph as the central seconds hand has a constant tick. There is a Tachymeter on the fixed bezel, but it’s just for show because the chronometer second hand doesn’t point at it!

Dial and Hands

The dial is very cool. It has three sub-dials, one dial at 9 O’clock with no markings and a 24-hour dial at 12 O’Clock. At 6 O’clock is the chronograph seconds hand. I am not a fan of dials without a function, but the one at 9 O’clock is relatively unintrusive and adds a splash of colour so I will not be too harsh. The DMC logo is slightly embossed and there is a nice sense of depth when viewed from an angle. I did notice some dust under the crystal around the logo, so if you buy the watch do a careful QC check when it arrives for any minor issues like this.

The date window is at 4 O’clock – or more accurately about ten past 4. Due to the size of the movement, it does not quite line up properly with the dial markings, which is a pet hate of mine. See a watch like the Hamtun Kraken for an example of how to do it right – or an older Christopher Ward C60 quartz to see even the bigger brands getting it wrong! It not as distracting on this watch as some others due to the balance of the large DMC text and the sundials. It’s easy enough to read the time, but the subdial hands do not reach the edge of the dial so are hard to read.

Bracelet and Clasp

The bracelet is very nice. I expected a cheaper, folded example but it is made of solid steel with polished centre links. The adjustable links are fitted with push pins, not screws, but that’s fine at this end of the market. The clasp is similar to Hamtun’s – a rather thin mechanism with three micro adjustment holes. It’s adequate, but not going to give Rolex a run for their money. The signed clasp is nicely done.

DeLorean DMC Watch Video Review

What I Liked

  • This is one cool looking watch – especially if you like a retro 1980s feel
  • It’s well built with a solid link bracelet and nicely finished case
  • It’s good value at just over £100

What I Didn’t Like

  • The running central second hand renders the chronograph function almost useless.
  • I didn’t like the non-working dial at 9 and decorative tachymeter. If a watch looks like it has a function I like it to have it!
  • The polished case and mid links will be scratch magnets if you are not careful with the watch.

DeLorean DMC 1981 watch – the WRUK Verdict

I can’t say that I minded sending the review sample back to DMC, but before giving my final verdict it is important to stop and remember that this is a low-priced fashion watch and that it is not necessarily aimed at “watch enthusiasts”. I can see it being popular as a gift, or as an impulse buy. That means price, reliability and flexibility are important – and this watch ticks all those boxes. For your £110 you are definitely getting £110 worth of value.

Buy a DMC Watch

DMC watches are sold direct from the brand’s website:

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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