Pilot Watches


We finally got them in.. the limited edition BreitlingSource Forum watch, a Customized Steinhart Nav B-Uhr with a unique dial, and a special engraving on the back of the watch. Check it out!

The proverbial wristshot. The 47mm sized case might be a bit large for my 6.75″ wrist, but this is the first Limited Edition Forum watch, put together by Altair from our forum, and Gunter from Steinhart watches in Germany. It came to my door this morning, Christmas Eve! What a nice surprise.

Notice the dark grey Lumed Arabics, combined with a grey dial, and beautiful scripted Limited Edition lettering on the front. Combination brushed and polished case. These details are often much more appreciated when you are designing the watch yourself.

A photo from the other side. For good measure.

The black riveted pilot strap is a nubuck/sueded finish, and complements the watch REALLY well. I think aside from possibly a Dark grey/Black nubuck Crocodile rivet strap, there wouldn’t be anything I prefer more with the possible exception of a Bracelet maybe.

The Diamon crown isn’t machined as well as an IWC Big Pilot.. but its not bad. I wouldn’t mind an Onion crown as an option however.. I like the big round onions too.

A nice shot of the ETA/Unitas 6497 movement, with Cote de Geneves striping and beveled gears. Its a step up from the base level Unitas Movements that I have owned before. It also has my name, and the Limited Edition of 15 number engraved on the back as well. Very nice!

Thanks to Altair and Gunter for putting this one together!

As some of you might have already known, I had purchased a U-Boat Flightdeck CAS 50mm watch, which many on the forum kept saying was “Cheaply made” and they felt that the metal was cheap and that the crystal was cheap. I had a totally different experience and felt that the case machining was on par with anything in the price range, and that the only part that was neglected was the finish of the movement. I’ll elaborate a bit more here.

uboat_flightdeck_01

There is a general shot of the U-Boat, atop the U-Boat box. As you can see, the lines on the bezel are crisp and sharp, an indication of high-end finishing techniques, usually executed partially by hand. The strap on the other hand, while made in Italy by hand, is ugly. The preforated inserts on the strap serve to cheapen the overall look of the watch, and I immediately put it on a StrapLuxe grey leather strap with white stitching which matches the watch perfect in my opinion.

uboat_flightdeck_01

A close up of the dial, and you can see the crisp lines of the bezel in this photo as well. The dial lume is applied meticulously and precisely. While this watch is made in Italy, I have no doubt that the quality of the painting on the dial is up to the standards of similarly priced swiss watches. While the overall style of the watch probably does not ooze class, it is a well made watch in my opinion. The crystals are Sapphire, and the case steel is 316L, the same type as most high-quality Swiss watches.

It was told to me that the quality of this watch was no better than the Nixon watches out there. While I might agree with this statement if it were applied to Hamilton watches or Swiss Army Victorinox case finishing, I would not agree in repect to U-Boat. I would put U-Boat solidly along the lines of Tag Heuer’s Carrera line for quality of finish.

uboat_flightdeck_01

The movement finish on the other hand is sorely lacking, and not up to the quality standards of even Tag Heuer. The U-Boat movements are definately in the same quality range as Hamilton. The extra canteen hardware is very well machined and made as well, given a quality feel when unscrewing and using the canteen cover.

The Plain Jane Valjoux/ETA 7750 is visible on the caseback as can be seen, and is mounted reversed for a left-crown configuration, an obvious necessity given the size of crown and 50mm case diameter. The watch is quite heavy and does not feel light for its size in my opinion.

Not seen in the photos is the U-BOAT deeply engraved on the side of the case, which is deeply sunken and bead basted in the deep parts, given the case an extra level of finish. I purchased this watch from a friend, after I had handled it and felt that the quality of the finish was at an acceptable level. I have since sold this watch, mostly because I found the 50mm size a bit inconvenient. It makes the watch somewhat impractical for daily wear, and sometimes the size makes it look a bit tacky IMO. This is the “mid-sized” U-boat, with a larger 55mm size and smaller 43mm version available.

uboat_flightdeck_01

There’s the proverbial wrist shot, mounted on the stock strap and shown on my 6 3/4″ wrist. While it is large, and somewhat saucer-like in appearance, it is not entirely out of the question, and much more manageable than I would have thought 50mm would be. Now, the 55mm version would be totally out of the question for me, but I could see a guy with an 8″ wrist pull a 55mm U-Boat off no problem…

I posted this video a couple weeks ago, but had forgotten to announce it here. So I’m linking it now. This is to supplement the Wilson Watch Works Navigator Watch Review that I wrote previously. I also believe that its called an Observer Dial not a Navigator dial, and since Wilson Watch Works doesn’t name their watches, I had to kind of make up a name. Nevertheless, it is a very solid, well-made watch using great materials.

I hope you enjoy the video if you haven’t already:

Archimede launches a new Big(gish) Pilot, the 45mm Automatic pilot, using a automatic swiss ETA 2824-2 Movement. Sort of an in-between size as it is smaller than most of the BP watches that are a 47mm diameter, and bigger than the 42mm varieties. I personally find the 42mm a good size, though a bit more diameter wouldn’t hurt. The 47mm I do find a bit big for my wrists and tastes, so this Archimede might be on my radar, even though I have quite enough pilot watches for now.

arxl1

I’ve posted video reviews of both Ticino Big Pilots of Youtube, and here they are for you guys to check out if you haven’t seen them already. Both are 47mm reproductions of the Nav B-uhr Pilot watch from WWII. Manual winding Chinese unitas copy movements.

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