Checking out new watches is almost always a fun proposition. And when the maker of said watches is local? Well, all the better, because then you get to have a conversation with the guy behind the brand, as well as have a peek around the workshop, and maybe see something new that’s in the works. Well, it’s been awhile since I have been over to Astor+Banks, so I cannot say that I was privy to what was being cooked up. That’s ok, because we still have all the details for you on the recently announced Astor+Banks Pilomatic.
Astor+Banks is taking an interesting path. While their first watch was quartz (which I reviewed here), it was no simple three-hander. No, they built out a full-on chrono, came up with some great straps, and totally avoided the crowd-funded route. The next watch was a manually-wound mechanical, and now they have arrived at an automatic.
In fact, that ETA 2824-2 is partially how the watch got it’s name, Pilomatic. You see, it’s sort of inspired by pilot watches, and it has the auto movement, so a bit of word whisking gets us to this point. On the pilot watch front, you have the larger crown that is immediately identifiable. For the rest though, where’s the triangle up at 12? Or the sword-style handset? The brand was up-front about that, in that they felt there were already many good watches that followed the basic Flieger style, so they wanted to deviate a bit.
That means that, on the Pilomatic, the 12 o’clock arrow is replaced by the chevron that has become identifiable as being the brand’s (and, really, it’s still a triangle, it’s just missing a side). As to the handset, the sword hands are gone. Instead, you have a handset that really has the look of airplane propeller blades. The minute hand looks to be spot on, reaching out to that outer track. The hour hand, while proportional to the minute hand, I think could do with be a touch longer, so it can graze the edge of the hour markers.
All in all, it makes for a clean look. It’s not one that will raise eyebrows or grab attention, for those who get into the details (and are familiar with pilot watches) they will be able to pick out the changes. There are two variants that will be made of the Pilomatic, one with a black dial and white lume (BGW9), and the other with a blue dial with a greenish-tinged (C3 Superluminova) lume and sun ray finish. Holding those beauties on to your wrist will be straps made of Horween leather, which just further cements the “made in Chicago” vibe (yup, I checked – these watches are being assembled in the Astor+Banks workshop in the city).
The Astor+Banks Pilomatic was just announced, and that means that there’s a pre-order period going on right now. All told, there will be 100 pieces made (50 in each color), and you can pick one up for a pre-order price of $950 (after the pre-order, regular pricing will be $1,249). While we have not seen this watch in the steel, I have been impressed with the quality (build and otherwise) in the other Astor+Banks watches I’ve handled. I also appreciate the fact that this is a clean watch that trades on pilot watch themes without being just another replica. Then again, perhaps that’s just me – let us know in the comments what you think about this latest entry from the brand. astorandbanks.com
- Brand & Model: Astor+Banks Pilomatic
- Price: $950 (during the pre-order; MSRP will be $1,249)
- Who we think it might be for: You like the idea behind a pilot watch, but want something that has a less Germanic feel to it
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Probably not – if I was going for a three-hander tool watch, I’d be more apt to be drawn to a diver than a pilot
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: The hour hand could be a touch longer
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The clean variation on classic pilot watch design
Tech Specs from Astor+Banks
- 42mm German made cases with solid case back and screw down crown
- Sapphire with AR coating
- ETA 2824-2
- Black dial has BGW9 and Blue dial is sun ray finish with C3 Superluminova
- 20ATM WR
- Horween leather vintage style strap