Today, we’ll be following up on our earlier post on some of the latest designs to come from our friends over at Techne. And, in a change of pace from earlier reviews, we’ll be featuring two different models from the same collection – one automatic, and one quartz.
As you would expect, being from the same family, these watches share quite a few design elements. These include:
* 41mm stainless steel case (in PVD or natural finish); 11mm thick, 20mm lugs
* Sapphire crystal
* Similar dial design (including the “step” in the center)
* Partially-skeletonized handset
In short, it’s easy to see just with a quick look at the two pieces that they’re related watches. The most visually complex of the two is the quartz model (we reviewed ref. 392.05), powered by the Miyota GP11 movement. Here, we have a slightly oversize date display (with Zebra stripes next to it), and then two 24-hour indicators. The subdial at 9 o’clock indicates the time of day for the main hands, while the retrograde register at 6 o’clock can be independently set to display the timezone of your choice (our photos show the two in sync).
And have a look at that dial – if you’ll note, the matte black finish is as smooth and dark as a PVD finish on Techne’s cases is. Far from being just a dark blob, it’s still got visual interest, though, given the step in the center, and the readouts for the complications, of course. Starting our tour of the dial at the 12 o’clock position, you’ll note the dots flanking the 12 o’clock marker, in a nod to aviator watches of old. Continuing around, you next come to the date display.
At first, it’s your regular cutout that you see on several watches – though slightl enlarged (more on that in a bit). To the left, however, you’ve got a zebra-stripe box with an arrow next to it. While I can’t find a specific reference or cue for what this refers to (looks almost like a bay door?), it’s clearly in line with the aviation theme these watches hew to. Now, back to the size of that date display. It’s just under 50% bigger than what we’d normally see, and that gives us a clue as to what’s going on with the date wheel.
In truth, that should be called date wheels, as there are two, which enables this larger display. In other watches with “big date” displays, we’re more accustomed to seeing the numerals being separate, so it’s interesting to see this twist on the readout. Continuing on the tour, that brings us to the retrograde time zone display.
Here, the fan-shaped readout helps keep things visually distinct from the 24 hour subdial over at 9 o’clock – no mixing up which is the timezone you’re tracking, and which refers to the main handset time. Both registers feature hashmarks on the hours, with larger hashmarks (and numerals) every three hours. And it’s funny – with these two paired, I’m a bit torn. I’m a big fan of having a GMT (or second timezone) display, and if I can’t have that, a 24-hour indicator is nice to have. Together, while I can see the functionality, I’m just not sure if it’s not making things a tad too busy on the dial.
Having said that, I want to point out something I’m definitely a fan of with this layout. Note that there is an arrow here, pointing down (over by the date display, it’s pointed up). This is a simple visual indicator to remind you which direction to turn the crown (when out one stop) to adjust the appropriate register. Nice little inclusion, that! I’m also a fan of the lume that’s applied – it’s generous, it’s bright, and it even shows up on the hands on the sub-registers.
And that wraps up things with the quartz-driven model; let’s change focus over to the automatic (ref 363.13), powered by the rock-solid Miyota 9015. As we mentioned up front, this shares a lot of design similarities with the quartz Harrier, albeit with a few less complications. If you found the other model a bit too busy-looking for your tastes, then the automatic is very likely the one for you. All of the extra complications are removed (saved for the date display, which is smaller here), leaving us with a very clean readout. I also like, here, how the zebra stripes give another dimension to the dial, and help the date cutout be less of a distraction to the dial (I know that seems like a contradiction, but that’s how it felt to me).
Here again, the partially-skeletonized handset gives an update to the classic look; all of the lettering on the dial (including the new Techne logo) is done tastefully, and nothing extraneous is added for the sake of sounding more impressive. And, to protect that movement (whichever it is), you’ll have a 50m water resistance rating once you’ve locked down the 6mm crown.
To summarize, both of these watches continue in the tradition Techne follows – creating great aviation-inspired watches that offer great value in terms of design and technology. With the Harrier, we even have two price points, so you can choose where you enter the game. The GP11 (quartz) powered model starts at a modest $265, while the Miyota 9015 (automatic) model comes in at a slightly higher (but still very much a bargain) $490. Yes, it’s a slight step up in price compared to ones we’ve reviewed previously, but the design has also upped it’s game, and this is truly a higher-end piece for Techné. If you’re looking for an affordable aviator watch, you really need to check out what they have on offer. technewatches.biz