The DW30 Story


The new square design (again by Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs) was quite a departure from the round DW20 so Braun conducted a series of acceptance tests. They showed the proposed new design to both the public and to specialist dealers and invited their comments.

Prototypes were produced with both the black and silver finish and a choice of metal or leather straps. In addition a rubber strap was also proposed. It consisted of a thin precious metal strap with a skeleton function concealed within a u-shaped, shoe-like rubber, covered with 'rubber' pimples on the underside. This option was rejected quite early on.

Despite the suggested selling price for the DW30 being a third dearer than the DW20, 80% of the participants in the acceptance test preferred the new rectangular shape. Although 55% preferred the metal strap it was the leather option that eventually went into production. Dieter Rams himself favoured the metal strap as he found the contrast between the silver watch case and the black leather strap too strong. However, he did go on to wear a silver DW30 with the grooved leather strap option for many years. Luckily at least one of the silver prototypes with a metal strap is known to have survived but I have never seen a picture of the rubber strap.


Following the problems with the DW20 LCD module the Swiss manufacturer spent a year improving and developing an upgraded module for the DW30. This considerably improved LCD module had the same functions as the DW20 but with bigger numbers which were more suited to the overall look and easier to read. The module could be programmed so that the display constantly showed hours/minutes or hours/minutes alternating every few seconds with a date/month display. When set to show hours/minutes pressing the right hand button once would change the display to date/month for a few seconds before if reverted back to hours/minutes. Pressing the right hand button twice would change the display to running seconds. Pressing again would change it back to hours/minutes. The left hand button was for the light.


Although an entirely new design the production of the DW30 case utilised the same material and case finishing processes as the DW20. The rectangular shaped case and display together with the function buttons mounted on the top gave the watch an individual look. The length of the watch case required a curvature of the base to follow the shape of the wrist. This makes the watch look flatter and emphasises its lightness. It looks 'designed' even from below where the base plate is attached by four cross-headed screws with very deep countersinking. The metal trims incorporated into the ends of the leather strap are threaded for these screws. The leather strap was unique to the DW30 and was offered with either a grooved or smooth finish. A rubber seal is sandwiched between the base plate and the casing.


The packaging for the DW20 and DW30 is very similar. Each watch is contained within a black plastic box which in turn fits into an inner carton protected by an outer sleeve. Printed on the white outer sleeve is either the wording Braun quartz LCD (for the DW20) or Braun Digital DW30 with the Braun logo bottom right.

The rectangular black plastic box is lined with an imitation velvet-like material and with the Braun logo printed on the front. Inside the plastic box the watch is stretched over a swivelling plastic frame. For the DW20 the plastic box is enlarged in two places to allow for the wider circular case and the inner white carton was also designed to accommodate the irregular shaped plastic box.

The instructions are printed in silver and black but in German only. Although Braun main agents outside Germany were able to place orders the majority of the watches were distributed and sold in Germany.


With a low production run of about 9,500 silver watches, sales of the DW30 were still almost twice as many as the DW20. Following a change of Braun senior management and after an initial production run of just 200 the black DW30 was dropped from the range. As a result of this decision the black DW30 is now the rarest and most sought after model although good examples of any DW20 or DW30 are very hard to find these days. The last minute decision to stop production of the black version came so late that the advertising leaflet showing a black and silver DW30 had already been printed. It was hastily reprinted showing the silver version only.

The DW30 remained available until 1981 after which the DW20/DW30 watches slowly slipped into history but have now been discovered again by a new generation of design and watch enthusiasts worldwide.