When it comes to flieger-style watches, you’ve got a lot of options in the marketplace – at least when it comes to look-alikes (ie, the dial at least has the dotted triangle). If you’re looking for one that’s a biit truer to the originals, and you don’t want to break the bank, then you’ll want to read on for more about the Timefactors Speedbird III.
This model is also known as the PRS-22, and that’s what I’ll be referring to it as for the remainder of this article. Timefactors, of course, is the brand run by Eddie Platts out of England, providing all manner of interesting “unbranded” watches for some time now.
The PRS-22 is more than just a simple homage to the flieger watches of yore. The 39mm (yes, it’s a tad on the smaller side) stainless steel case features a brushed finish (to cut down glare), and is just under 12mm thick. The black iron dial also minimizes glare, as well as helping reduce external influences on the movement (along with the soft iron inner case).
The clean (almost stark dial) is easily read at a glance, and it’s protected by a crystal (AR coated on the underside) that’s secured in place against negative pressure (say, your canopy blows off at altitude). In other words, it’s not just a flieger-style watch, it’s a flieger watch that’s intended to work in conditions the originals were prepared for.
Ticking away inside that steel and iron cage you’ve got an ETA 2824-2 movement (TOP grade) keeping things nice and accurate – another thing you’d want if you were trying to use this as a flying instrument (or, you know, make sure you’re not late for your next appointment).
Tucked into the 20mm lugs you’ve got what looks to be a fairly robust stainless steel bracelet that perfectly complements the “ready to work” look the PRS-22 has going for it. Though, should you prefer for something a bit lighter weight, it looks like there’s also a black nylon strap included in the kit.
All this works together to present a watch that is an unassuming performer. To anyone else looking at it who doesn’t know (or appreciate) watches, it may look like just another clone (especially with it’s lack of flash or branding). To those in the know, of course, it’s a different story.
While I myself am not in the market for an flieger, if someone came to me asking for a recommendation, this very likely would be at the top of the list for them to look at. At just around $760, I think it’s quite the bargain for what you’re getting. And, given the combination of materials and movement, this is a watch that should last a good long time, properly maintained. Sure, the plain styling may not be for everyone, but for the person who values historical accuracy in their new watch, this is a sure thing.