Aerowatch’s new timepieces for Baselworld 2019 include this attractive pilot’s watch, named Grande Mécanique Aviateur and part of the brand’s Renaissance collection. It is 43 mm in diameter with a narrow bezel and so it is a statement piece on the wrist, though it looks reasonably slim. The matt black dial provides a backdrop for the hands and numerals coated in luminescent paint for good visibility in the dark. The strap is in brown calfskin with exposed stitching, and it has a folding steel clasp with the Aerowatch logo.
The dial arrangement, with subdial for continuous seconds at 6 o’clock, reflects the traditional hand-wound movement, Unitas 6498-1, which dictates this layout. So the watch is an eclectic combination, of a B-Uhr type A pilot’s watch (which had a central seconds hand) and the earlier military watches that had small seconds on a subdial.
Unitas hand-wound movement
The movement cannot be seen because the caseback is solid, in stainless steel. It runs at 18,000 vibrations per hour, 2.5 Hertz, slower than most mechanical watches that generally run at 4 Hertz (28,800 vph) but with such a small seconds hand, this is not a problem.
The watchglass is domed sapphire, and the watch is water resistant to 50 metres (resistant to splashes and rain), I personally wouldn’t take it swimming.
All in all, this is an attractive pilot’s watch, with numerals a little larger than usual, the same design feature used in the superb Stowa Flieger Verus 40. The Swiss-made Grande Mécanique Aviateur costs €960, and it will be available from mid-April. More information from the Aerowatch website.