After dive watches, I would hazard a guess that pilot watches are the next most popular style – in general – of watches. And if they aren’t, they have to be in the top 5, just based on the sheer number of models that I have seen released. A lot of these tend to come from the more established brands, or those with a particular history with aviation watches. What I have not noticed near as much are pilot-style watches coming from independent brands, especially those using Kickstarter to get the ball rolling. As you might guess, that’s where we find the MEW Depth Pilot.
Now, based on the word “depth” in the name of the watch (the MEW Depth Pilot), you might be thinking this is a pilot watch you can go diving with, but, unfortunately, that is not the case. This is something I asked the brand about, and they stated that most aviator watches stick to a 30 or 50m WR rating, so they increased things by using gaskets and a screw-down crown. The watch itself carries a 100m WR rating, so while you won’t be totally ruining your watch by washing your hands, that’s probably the most water I would risk exposing it to. Jumping into the pool with this watch may not be the best idea. While I would not have minded seeing a more, shall we say, robust WR rating, the 100m should be perfectly acceptable for daily wear.
So, let’s tackle the other part of the name of the MEW Depth Pilot, “pilot”. If you are like me, you have seen all manner of pilot watches, most predominantly the various flieger-spec watches. These come from all range of companies, with prices from well under $200 to into the thousands. After awhile, they all sort of blend together, and it can be hard to tell them apart. When I saw the photos of the MEW Depth Pilot, I was immediately struck by the watch. After looking it over for a bit, I realized that it was the raised markers (particularly the dotted triangle at 12 o’clock) that was grabbing my eye. Many fliegers have simple, printed dials. While these of course offer the legibility and functionality the spec calls for, when you compare it to something with dimensionality (as we have here), well, it’s a different ball game.
The use of the raised indices on the MEW Depth Pilot also allows for a different lume to be used than what they print the dial with. Everything that shows as orange ends up glowing in your standard green, while the white printing (for the 24-hour scale) glows in blue. While this is by no means necessary, I do really like seeing multiple colors of lume on a watch. It does not enhance readability, but it definitely looks very cool in a dark room.
By now, you have realized that the MEW Depth Pilot also offers a GMT complication. This is courtesy of the Swiss Made Ronda 515.24H Quartz movement the brand is using. For me, the quartz presents no problem – it will get the job done (and accurately), and this particular one allows those who are particular about it to keep their watch (movement, at least) with that Swiss Made classification. It also allows the brand to keep things at a rather nice price point (more on that in a bit).
This movement is tucked into the sandblasted 42mm case of the MEW Depth Pilot, which is itself topped with a domed mineral crystal. With the case finish and the grey dial, you have a rather subdued base on the watch that gives things a somewhat more upscale feel, which, well, feels like an odd thing to say about a flieger, but there you have it. When you consider that the early-bird funding level for the MEW Depth Pilot is only $99, then I really do think that this is quite a bargain. Sure, the winged skull logo may turn some folks off (to me, it calls to mind a military patch of some sort), but when you combine the styling and price point, I think there can be a compelling case to be made.
If you want to check out more details on this, head on over to the project page. Of note, the project closes on December 30th, with delivery anticipated in March 2016 If you do decide to back the project, our standard disclaimer (caveat emptor) applies. We have not seen any major issues with Kickstarter watch brands (if funding is hit), but there is always that risk. If you add in the fact that the fellow behind MEW, Mengu Evrensel , has been running luxury brand Remy Cruz since 2007, then some additional confidence would seem to be merited. I will add that I like what we see here, and will be working with the brand to get one in for a hands-on review once stock is made available. In the meantime, let us know if you’re picking one up for yourself, and if you have run across other pilot watches on the crowdfunding sites – inquiring minds want to know! mewtactical.com
- Brand & Model: MEW Depth Pilot
- Price: $99 and up
- Who we think it might be for: You’re looking for an inexpensive GMT that loosely follows Flieger specs
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Quite possibly
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The raised and applied indices
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