For this model, we were sent two samples – a “back in black” (ref. NS44CHPBA.BA0.3.LBA) and the “vintage pilot” (ref. NS44CHSS.SI0.1.LBE), which present differing feel – much more than you’d think a simple color scheme change would actually net you.
First and foremost, the design of this watch really grabs the eye. Looking at it straight on, you noticed the unbalanced lugs (long on bottom, short up top) and the crown and pushers up at the 12 o’clock position. The lug variability allows the watch (ostensibly) to be positioned to ease readability, as well as accessing the pushers.
Another neat trick is that you can use the watch in a more traditional stopwatch-style hold when you take it off your wrist. And, unfortunately for me, I had these off the wrist more often than I had them on. With the lug style, this will allow the case to hug your wrist – and it does.
Where the problem lies for me, with this model (and my 7.25″ wrist) is that, when I had the strap adjusted to comfort, it was just slightly loose enough that the top-heavy case would rotate down, throwing off viewing angles (when brought up), as well as making it more likely to bang those on the desk – so I took them off. If I tightened up the strap one notch, it did hold things in place – but it was then too tight to be comfortable for me.
While I won’t call it a design flaw (because it isn’t), it will be something you should be aware of, depending on how you like to have your strap adjusted in normal wear. Oh, and with the strap, it has a drivers glove look to it, but the straps are not perforated all the way through. Not a deal breaker for that one point, but it would be nice to see a fully-perforated strap, at least as an option.
Housed within that oblong case you have a lovely, crystal-clear dial. Both variants were very readable, and presented different looks. The stealthier version managed to somehow be bold and subtle at the same time – and the blue lume was a nice change of page. On the flip side, the vintage style was that sort of aqua-lume (when not glowing) that we associate with older styles, and helps to push the funky case to a more traditional look.
On top of the dial, you have a mineral crystal with AR and sapphire coatings (the black model presented this as a bluish hue); under the dial you have the Miyota OS11 chronograph movement keeping track of everything.
For me, personally, this would not be a good watch to pick up, just due to the fit. That aside, this is a very bold and interesting design, and would no doubt garner some appreciation from even the non-watch oriented folks in your circle. If you’re near one of their stores, you can find the range (and try one on) between $625 and $675.