A traditional pilot watch is well over the 40mm range and that’s just a shame as the style is very appealing, even to the small-wristed. There are smaller case options of course and this is my take on a 36mm one. If you haven’t noticed by now, I tend to gravitate towards the smaller case sizes – partly because I have small wrists but also because I think watches proportionally look great with slim bezels and sub 30mm dials.
The Pilot 36 design started with a personal challange to create a well finished raised chapter ring around the edge of the dial. It’s subtle and the effect is lost in many of the photos but in person it’s enough of a difference to stand out and it adds a lot of interest. It took a bit of testing to get the right proportions and to also work out how best to finish the dial with the lume.
This is the first Pilot I made. I kept it simple with no date and used an NH35 movement. The case is a GS style one with a sapphire crystal, screw down crown and is rated to 200m. I used grade A BGW9 lume for the dial and it was hand applied which took a steady hand and a lot of breath holding.
The second one was a customer request for the same style but in a 39mm case.
I then started to experiment with a date version and at the same time I wanted to use a higher end movement. I settled on a 6 o’clock date for a more balanced look and used a top grade decorated ETA 2824. I wore this one for 3 weeks straight and at the end of that period it was precisely 0.00 s/d out – or not out as it were. Perhaps just a fluke but I did record the deviation daily and it did not stray too far from the end result. The 2824 is in a different class to the NH35 and the price reflects this when comparing just the movement cost but the overall cost is not that different when you consider what you get with the Swiss movement.
I have since experimented with some different colour dials. I used, somewhat fittingly, a United States Air Force blue for the next one. I have flagged a couple of other colours and hope to get to them at some point.
I really liked the colour combination with the above strap but I also had a black strap that has a blue two stitch detail that looks good. All of the above straps are custom made from Artisan Straps.
A very simple design but as is often the case, simple just works. Until the next one…