This, the end of our Poor Man’s GMT round-up, is fraught with horror. The Aeromatic 1912 GMT is a quartz watch. It’s nice, it has a big face, but the ticking hand makes me slightly nauseous. Can I put off my horror long enough to write about it? Sure.

A quick story before we begin: when I lived in Poland, they had bikers. These bikers were not like my neighbor, who is a biker. These bikers looked for a “look,” they wanted the biker style and biker cool. But they didn’t have the history. They rode Harley’s, sure, but they’d get their asses kicked at a Brooklyn biker bar. It’s just too hard to pull off. When I look at the Aeromatic I think of those bikers. It tries so hard, wants to be so great, yet it falls flat.

The Aeromatic is not unattractive. Huge hands, nice GMT hand, an attractively polished case. But everything vies for your attention. The crown is too big. The numerals are too Breitling-esque. The hands are huge by half and the GMT hand looks like an orphan in a wading pool. Nothing comes together here, and nothing seems to work.

That is not to say that the finish isn’t excellent and, for the money, it is a great way to play in the second-time-zone world. But a similarly apportioned Glycine or Rolex does a much better job and is nicely understated, eschewing the massive logo for form and function. Look at the little globe at the top of this piece? It seems as if someone really liked that globe. It doesn’t seem as if the globe branded or named this watch.

The presentation is meticulous, if bland. The watch comes in a padded metal box with warranty information. Setting is simple. Change the GMT and the date at the first pull-out position and change the time at the second position. That’s to be expected. This watch is apparently waterproof to 5ATM, but the leather strap and signed buckle would say otherwise. Overall, at the price, a nicer GMT can be found.

Quality: 3/5
Style: 1/5
Overall: 2/5

–John Biggs

Looking for an aviator? Consider…
Tissot T-Navigator 3000 Men Black Leather T96.1.428.52

Tissot T-Navigator 3000 Men Black Leather T96.1.428.52

Size: GENT. Case Material: STAINLESS STEEL. Water Resistance: 50 METERS Glass: TACTILE SAPPHIRE. Dial: BLACK. Hour indicators: ARABIC NUMBER. Bracelet: BLACK LEATHER. Movement Caliber: E45.301 QUARTZ (TACTILE). Function(s): MULTIFUNCTION. Battery Life: 36 months.

By John Biggs

John lives in Brooklyn and has loved watches since he got his first Swatch Irony automatic in 1998. He is the editor of WristWatchReview.

37 thoughts on “Review – Aeromatic 1912 GMT”
  1. What cobblers!.This is a nice watch for very little money,I have one.
    It’s different,reliable,rare,easy to read and keeps excellent time.Why buy the thing if your going to slag it off!?.Your Average watch is as common as muck compared to this,as there are probably only,(Or are ever going to be)200 in the entire world!.

  2. I recently bid on an Aeromatic 1912 “Classic Calendarium”, One of only 100 made. Its an automatic watch, which I like and the price was very reasonable at $67.00 plus $12.00 shipping (although I live in Alaska-should have been $15.00).
    Have not gotten the watch yet, but would certainly like your opinion of this watch as a family heirloom or investment. Thank you.

  3. Personal tastes aside…..if your going to unfairly compare an Aeromatic watch with a Rolex or a Glycine then in my eyes the review is flawed. Its good to think that some people hold them in the same light as such brands though.

    For the price the timepieces from the wide Aeromatic range are a well built, purposeful, durable, eye catching and ultimately a wise and class purchase that can stand on their own merits. These are watches are made in low volume with quality parts and as such are extremely unique. There is no doubt they’ll be held with regard regardless of them not becoming the chosen attire of the rich & famous or having the commercial/sponsored success of other certain brands.

    This is from someone that operates in the field of the classic and modern Heuer, Breitling, Lemania, Omega chrono models. More recently i’ve had a desire for the 60’s 70’s & 80’s Seiko’s plus certain Soviet pieces too, i became suitably impressed and purchased. Through all this i’ve never had the desire to buy a Rolex, put one on my wrist and it just hasnt got it for the high £££k’s expected, put an Aeromatic on my wrist and for the reasonable £££’s expected i started to grin….one happy customer and one happy dealer.

  4. The original review is like comparing a Audi with a Aston Martin with the expectation it will perform like a Porsche.

    – K

  5. This watch looks exactly like my automatic Uhr-Kraft GMT, I got 2 years ago & which has been discontinued since. Obviously, it’s “second coming” of what I found a fun & very usable watch in its price range. Doesn’t have feel or finish of my Glycine Incursore, but then I paid $200 for it.

  6. Well, guys…I’m over here in Germany where they make the damned things and I made the mistake of buying one of the Aeromatic 1912 “Metal Boy” chronographs off of Ebay, for the look as well as price($100+ shipping) and water-resistance, because I dive. You just can’t get a decent waterproof chronograph for that price and this is no exception!
    For one, I wore the watch for a grand total of 2 weeks before the hexagonal pin that screws together to join the band to the timepeice came out and disappeared before I could retrieve it…so, I contacted them and sent it back. They replaced it(which took like a month or so!)with a brand-spanking-new watch and exactly 2 weeks after getting it back, the very same thing happened! I don’t think the watch is horrible to look at, but aside from needing to use Locktite or some equally bulletproof muscelage to keep the pieces from falling off, the damned thing weights about 12 ounces. I think I had a small pistol once that was lighter. At any rate, save your money and get a reputable watch that you can rely on service from the makers…these people won’t even answer my emails anymore.

  7. Well I ordered (from ebay) an Aeromatic 1912 on the 3rd of January, they said it shipped on the 4th and was coming airmail, here it is the 23rd and nothing. Jim did you ever get your watch? I hope I haven’t throw away good money.

  8. lot’s of anger in this comments thread – let’s put it this way: I review these ebay brands for YOU. i don’t buy them for myself and eventually sell them or give them away. For example, I gave this one to my brother-in-law and he loves it or at least he didn’t complain. I wasn’t pleased by this piece but there are plenty of people who are. Clearly, this all boils down to taste. the movement is stock average and the workmanship, though solid, has some flaws.

    it’s a $100 watch, which is a lot for many people, myself included. Because I make a bit of money off of this site, I try to churn that money back into picking up a few one-off ebay pieces for kicks. if you love yours, please comment. if you hate yours, please comment. but in terms of value for your money, I would consider a vintage GMT.

  9. I ordered and received my Aeromatic with no problems. I have been very pleased with it and a great conversation piece since very few people actually own automatic watches. Especially one with an exhibition back as nice as these. I didn’t really mind finding out that it is not an ‘original’ german watch.

  10. Its a watch- its going to tell the time. Its going to be worn, and its going to be looked at.
    Acuracy, function and style matter.
    Judging it on its “history” is extreamly unfair.
    I like mechanical watches, and finding some decent looking NEW ones for a reasnable price is a pleasure!
    I dont have the money for a rolex, and if i did i doubt i’d have the guts to wear it in ‘real life’. Better to have a decent mechanical watch that i can wear but wount cry over too much if i break.

  11. I’ve been running my aeromatic self winding watch for 3 wks now and its pretty consistant- gains between 12 and 23 secs a day. Its ‘hackable’ so i reset and test it every day. Its not a chronometer, obviously, but it looks very nice without being ‘flash’ and if i were THAT worried about 12 seconds here and there i’d buy a quartz down at walmart. I sopose i could adjust the watches rate if was was worried too…
    Good value for money, class and classic look and resnable MECHANICAL time keeping. A Good buy!

  12. I have owned 4 “Aeromatic 1912” watches of different designs. And from extensive experience, I do agree with the reviewer that “AEROMATIC 1912 = GARBAGE”.

    Each watch lasted less than 6 months of daily wear. The shortest being about a week and the longest being about 5 months. I didn’t do anything extreme, hell I even took it off to wash my hands. They averaged a life expectancy of ~3 to 4 months before either the mov’t stopped or something fell apart.

    Yes they are cheap. Yes they do look good for the money. But if you add up the cost of continually replacing these ‘awesome’ watches you can easily afford one of the top-line Seikos. Keep at it long enough you could afford a real Rolex, which is what I ended up doing.

  13. The first reviewer is an obvious clown. How can he compare a $60 watch to a $4000 watch? Well heres my opinion, If you gave me a rolex GMT and I bought a Aeromatic GMT. I’d be wearing the Aeromatic. Rolexes are as bland as you can get, no uniqueness, and for my money, no value.

  14. I’ve owned four Aeromatic watches for between one and three years, and have never had problems with them. One is a manual-winding skeleton, two are autos with a variety of calendar functions, and one is a half-regulator with jumping-hour. They were flawless when delivered, keep excellent time, and have decent-quality straps. The automatic watches also hack.

    Yes, if one of these watches were to flat-out stop working–as they did with Kevin–I’d be very irritated. But this has never happened. I’ll give it time and see. But at about $60-$120 per watch, Aeromatics have more than satisfied my modest expectations. The only real weakness I see with them is their cheap mineral crystals, which are over-reflective and scratch easily.

    I’m also fond of another low-cost “Germasian” brand, Trias. They have very attractive watches for the money, but they haven’t been as refined or consistent as my Aeromatics. Their main weakness–cheap crystals, as well.

    I write the above as someone with several high-end Swiss watches (Vacheron Constantin, Rolex, Zodiac, Mido). Yes, of course one can feel the superior quality of such timepieces, but I can’t say I’ve gotten forty or fifty times the pleasure from my VC or Rolex than I’ve gotten from my Aeromatics, despite the commensurate difference in cost.

    I have to agree with the observation made on Chronocentric’s “Buyer’s Guide to Fine Wristwatches”: What it really boils down to is this: any wristwatch over US $200 is more jewelry than a timepiece. So forget about evaluating such items by adding up the cost of components, factoring in the value of precious metals or imagining some supreme value hidden in the mechanism inside.” (

  15. Rolex in my opinion is nothing but bloated over priced machinery at best. Good quality manufactured timpieces but they keep ass lousy time and they are not ever worth what the company charges for them. They are only so expensive because they have established themselves as the Jordache jeans of watches when in reality they cant even begin to hold a candle to watches such as Vacheron, or Patek. Rolex=Garbage to me.

  16. Apparently very few of the writers above know anything about watches at all. Mechanical movements are complex items, made of often several hundreds moving parts working together in perfect harmony. You can’t manufacturing such pieces and place them in watches that costs below $100. And if you stumble across new mechanical watches in this price range you can be sure of only one thing: It’s garbage of the lowest possible quality. Certainly, Aeromatic 1912 is no exception. They make lousy watches, although often with an eye-catching design, with Chinese-based movements that will last anyting from a few weeks to a couple of months and the mention of “chronometer” on their website is just hilarious: Not even a single Aeromatic 1912 has gone through the rigorous COSC-testing. That’s just as good aswell since no watch ever produced by Aeromatic would receive a chronometer certificate granted by the COSC institute.

    I seriously recommend all of you to spend your money on serious watches. For the double price of an Aeromatic you can get a Seiko with the selfwinding 7S26 calibre, made to last years on end and with a quality simply outstanding compared to an Aeromatic. For the tripple price of an Aeromatic you can get a Tissot PR50 with an automatic ETA 2824-2 movement, a movement that will last forever if it’s been properly serviced and cared for. This movement, manufactured by ETA and delivered to not only Tissot but most other nice swiss brands, including Breitling in the movements most refined version, is the way to go for people who can not afford the satisfaction of owning a Rolex or an Omega.

    Just don’t put your money on Aeromatic watches. It is like throwing your money of a bridge, atleast in that case you’ll see them go away forever.

    With kindest regards

  17. Nice metaphor, but I don’t think you’ve been in Brooklyn anytime recently. You should not use “Brooklyn Biker bars” as a construct anymore. Brooklyn is a zone for mamby-pambys these days. No one gets their asses kicked.

    Everyone is too lawsuit-fearful. And the police are too gung-ho to find potential Homeland Security incidents. They show up with heavy artillery at the drop of a hat.

    Major freak out. Small crimes, like bar-beatings over bike pedigree, are a thing of the past. Crime is not the ‘flavor of the neighborhood’ the way it used to be.

    No one puts up their dukes anymore.

  18. German Automatic 1912 Calandarium: Gentlemen and Ladies, I obtained one of these watches and I am stunned at its accuracy and dependability — when timed against the Naval Observatory Atomic Clock in Colorado, it comes through as an ultra-superior chronometer. The value for the dollar is out of sight. The watch looks great, is trouble free, and clearly robust (translate to a bit thick, but what the hey!). The big plus: it will never require expensive cleaning or repair because when and if that day ever comes I’ll take up a screwdriver and a pair of pliers and play Mongo the Amateur Watch Repairman and either get it going again or doodle it to smithereens. Not a great loss. I will also replace it with an identical and new Automatic 1912 Calandarium. This report is based on two months of absolutely delighted ownership.

  19. Still running the watch and it still runs well. Strap neads replacing- not wonderful leather but my abuse doesnt help….
    Watch survived an acidental dunk in water (and mashed potatoes….!)

    Possibly the best “watch-per-dollar” i ever bought- i’ll reserve judgment untili’ve had my Tachmeister T0080 for a while.

  20. I just purchased 3 dfferent styles of the Aeromatic 1912 flight Computer (E6B based). As a pilot, I thought they would be handy to have (2 are for other people who were also won over by thier design) Each were under $70. And, if the computer really works, it will be a $300 saving over the next competiter. I’ve spent 3 days reading forums and comments on these watches and, so far its 50/50 for and against. I hope they turn out to be as dependable and solid as my $150 Swiss Torgoen T5.

  21. I just wanted to say — these watches are NOT waterproof. I’ve had an Astroavia and Aeromatic 1912 and BOTH first got little moisture stains on the inside of the glass, then after deciding to take a shower with them I simply threw them away. Nice look though.

  22. I recently purchased two Aeromatic 1912 watches from a retail store, not online. They are a A1164 half phase regulator and a A1263 skeleton. For the money I cannot fault these watches, they keep perfect time,have superb looks and leave bland, boring seikos and tissots for dead.I cannot agree with some of the critics here as the movements are nicely built and finished and I dont see how they are going to fall apart in six months. Naturally I was able to fully inspect the watches before I parted with the cash. Anyway, one very happy owner. P.S. I own a Rolex datejust so I know what a fine watch is.

  23. I just purchased a XXL Military Worldtimer and it states that it comes with a Swiss Ronda Cal.515-24H movement. Are these movements also made in China?

  24. i bought an tauchmeister 1912 two years ago,it failed three months later. i took it down to my local watch shop he replaced the crap jap or dud movement it had with a jap mituyoto runs well now keeps good time and is the best looking watch out of my collection of 20 watches,it is the best looking watch of the lot keeping excellent time,for me replacing the rubbish movement with a good jap movement was the best thing i could have done. Terry

  25. “Apparently very few of the writers above know anything about watches at all. Mechanical movements are complex items, made of often several hundreds moving parts working together in perfect harmony. You can’t manufacturing such pieces and place them in watches that costs below $100. And if you stumble across new mechanical watches in this price range you can be sure of only one thing: It’s garbage of the lowest possible quality.”

    You obviously know absolutely nothing at all about engineering or manufacturing.

    Mechanical watches are very simple and crude 400 year old technology. There are about 1/10 for engineering complexity. Mechanical movements have extremely low tolerances and are made of cheap common materials such as steel and brass. A high quality mechanical movement can easily be made for far less than $5.

    Virtually all watches under $50k are mass produced in highly automated factories. They aren’t hand made at all. Rolex makes nearly a million automatic watches a year. More Rolex Submariners have been made than VW beetles or Model T Fords.

    The total materials cost for a top quality stainless steel watch is less than $10 including a sapphire crystal.

    A steel watch that costs $100 is probably overpriced let alone one that costs $10,000

  26. Still got my Tauchmeisteier “divers” watch and its survied swimming pools, dish washing and being banged about in the garden and playing with kids. My “sextant Pilot” watch was working up until a week ago when I (My fault for being dumb) tore the crown and stem. Paying 40 bucks to get it repaired is still cheeper then nuying a new one.
    June 2006 was my first post here and those folks who claim Aeromatic / Tauchmeister make watches that die in three months are either very unlucky or abusing them some how!
    All three of mine are A OK!!!
    Waiting for an Aeromatic MECHANICAL Chronograph to arrive in the mail- for 200 bucks New I think i may actualy dare to wear it for everyday.

  27. Very interesting reading. I love watches, only got a few but I’ve only been collecting for about a year. I, like many people, like the look of some rolexes and omegas but I find it hard to see the value in a steel watch for thousands of dollars. The new rolexes I have seen are very well finished. Omegas are not quite so well finished, but still pretty good, on a par with good Seikos. It seems to me that some of the extra cost of expensive watches comes from:
    1. Place of manufacture. Swiss labour and japanese labour (i.e. grand seiko) is very expensive
    2. Construction method. Carving cases and band pieces out of solid steel is much more energy intensive than casting pieces.
    3. Marketing. This is the big one. How many Rolex and Omega ads do you see in full coplur, often inside the front cover or on the back cover of magazines. Seiko also advertise a lot, but they seem to wear more of the costs themselves.

    Please note I’m not talking about genuinely high end hand made watches. As somebody said above, these are likely to cost >$50,000.

    So if you have buckets of cash, I’m sure it is great to go out and buy a Sea Dewller Deep Sea if you need a dive watch. These are probably the ebst finished divers I’ve seen, and I would love one. But if you don’t have the AU$13k it costs in my country as spare change, then maybe an argument could be made that divers which are nearly as good (in terms of finish adn functionality) can be had for $2000 (Seiko MM, Ball HC) or even $1,000 (Seiko Sumo), or $500 (seiko samurai).

    This has becoem a long winded rant (!) but the my actual point is I think it is obnoxious for rich people (or watch idiot savants who aren’t even rich but are just brand suckers) to say x-brand is crap because rolex and omega are better. (omegas aren’t even that great, but I won’t go there!) Many people love watches but can’t afford a rolex. Or can afford one but would ratehr spend the money on, say, a holiday, house extension, jewellery (real stuff with gold, platinum, diamonds) etc.

    Having said all this, I was going to buy a Rolex GMT recently until my GF and a couple of mates suggested it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. So I’m going to build a patio. And get me one of those Tauchmeister GMTs or the he valve divers (1000m) on ebay for like US$110 – $150. Aeromatic and Tauchmeister have had mixed reviews above. I am very curious about the watches, can’t wait to try one out. If it breaks it’s not the end of the world, just a the price of a nice dinner out with my GF. Bad points about the Tauches I can see so far:

    1. Finish. Not as good as Seiko / Omega, definitely no Rolex! Cases are cast not machined. Dials are a bit chintzy. Hands are nothing flash.

    2. Folded end links (on GMT, diver has rubber strap).

    3. Mineral glass, not sapph.

    4. GMT is not real GMT, just a fourth hand. i.e. can’t be set independently from hour hand. So you have to set the 24 hr time with the bezel.

    On the plus side, the colours are pretty sweet. The case of the 1000m diver is distinctive. I don’t know anybody around here who has either of em. I won’t be afraid to wear it around (most of my watches are wrapped in plastic!). I hope!

    So to all you other “poor man’s” watch lovers, I’m with you all! It’s arguably better to spend tens of 1000s of $$$ having a LIFE, rather than on a piece of steel (I amke an exception with gold – I LOVE gold! And you can SELL it if you have to becasue it has intrinsic value). And spend a grand (or less, whatever you think is reasonable) on 3 or 4 interesting watches that make you smile.

    And to all the rich folf (or poor folk who want to look rich) who rave about rolexes and omegas and the like, seriously, we know they’re good watches. We’ve all seen em, don’t need you to tell us that. But if you think they’re THAT good (as in, $5 – 10k good), you’re just having a tug of yourself. Also fair enough.

    But to then bag others because they have to (or choose to) buy cheap watches is tacky and uncouth. I don’t know about you but I dobn’t walk around town telling poorer people I’m richer than them. Not very nice.

  28. I had my “sextant” watches crown and stem replaced after being dumb and am very happy to get it back. My “Dive” watch still keeps good time and my Aeromatic chronograph arived.
    It looks great! and for 200 bucks I doubt I could get a new automatic chronograph anywhere else.

    I ran a “time trial” on my aeromatic watches for a week- the Sextant pilots watch performed the worst at a Consistant 22 seconds fast (plus or minus 3 seconds from this value). The Divers watch was bang on 10 seconds fast WITH NO VARIATION AT ALL (worn OR in box!!) for seven days.
    The mechanical Chronograph was pretty accurate but not so consistant- it was between 5 seconds slow and 8 seconds fast per day. When WORN as oposed to left on its back it gains about 8 seconds a day.
    While obviously not “Chronometer” grade these watches have proved to be relible and pretty consistant. There are no doubt better watches out there but I do not think that there are many of better VALUE.

  29. I need help looking up world time on 1912. Do I just set home city (Los Angeles) and 12 at the 12 o’clock marker and calculate time in other cities? Since New York is three marks ahead of Los Angeles on the inner dial, do I add three to the current time, or do the dials need to move with time? Basically, is this a conversion chart? Is this how multi time zone watches work, or is there a different type of mechanism?

  30. Still have the Aeromatic 1912 Calendarium, and it is still working flawlessly. The crystal is scratched, but that is the only trouble we’ve had with it.

  31. Like Jim Paradis, my two Aeromatics are going still going great after almost 3 years. I have read many online articles on so-called ‘germ-asian’ watch brands over the last few years (such as Trias, Perigaum, Astbury & Co, Buchner & Bovalier, Adee Kaye, Aeromatic 1912 etc.) It is somewhat of a mixed bag of quality what you get. Most feature chinese mechanical or automatic movements from various factories across the country, encased in watch housings shared between all these ‘brand names’. Don’t get me wrong, some chinese made watches such as the range from Arbutus of New York or Kenneth Cole are of consistantly high quality for the money. Watch movements from Seagull or Dixmont etc. find there way into some very fine watches (as regards ‘Replica Watches’ don’t go there) P.S. Here is a free plug for a excellent watch maker in Hong Kong w.w.w., check out there website and the straightforward honest approach they take for reworking chinese watches in classic designs. I’ve just purchased a Regulator watch from them for US$130. Superb bargain.

  32. I was given a Aeromatic 1912 as a wedding gift. I wore it for two weeks and the glass on the underside of the watch shattered and left bits of glass imbedded in my wrist. Also a few gears rolled out when i took it off. Their website won’t return any emails I send. A best friend gave me the watch, so obviously I don’t want to trash it. Anybody know where i can get this thing repaired? I live in Memphis Tennessee, U.S.A.

  33. I also own a 70’s Omega Seamaster. So I know a good watch when I see it. I would like the Aeromatic repaired thats all. C’mon guys really, how many of us are even going to buy a watch over $1k-$2k, a few lucky guys? Some help would be appreciated for those of us that spend half that, or less. Thanks everybody

  34. I read your review and have to disagree, I love my Aeromatic watch. It is the best in the value to quality comparison. What I love best about it is the large face and numbers. I have a automatic watch and if you are unaware, Aeromatic makes a vairtiy of quartz, automatic and hand wind mechanical watches. These watches stand out of the crowed of mundane looking watches that are too expensive for what you get.

  35. A Glycine or Rolex does a much better job? Are you crazy? I spent time reading what I expected to be a review on a USD 120 Chinese Made/German Assembled cheap watch and ur comparing it to a Rolex. You should know better.

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