And what do I mean by that?  Well, with the A12 name, I had a military plane in mind (as it turns out, the wrong one, but still).  Some quick research, and what do you know, the A-12 was a super-secret, super awesome-looking plane.  On the other hand, the Astra Watches A12 is no secret, but it is pretty awesome, if you ask me.

I have been on a bit of a fluted bezel kick as of late, given my current fascination with the Rolex DateJust and DayDate lines.  This manifested itself first with my ESQ review, and now has turned it’s lens towards the Astra Watches A12.  While we definitely have fluting here, it’s taken a twist – literally.  This mixes things up in a delightful way, and I rather like that polished pinion gear around the crystal.

Between the polish and the angles, the bezel on the Astra Watches A12 catches a lot of light, which brings a nice bit of sparkle to things.  And – other than the sapphire crystal – it’s the only bit of high-polish there.  The case has a blasted finish, and the dial has a flatter finish as well.  In other words, a combination of subdued and flashy in just the right proportions.

That can be tough to balance, particularly on a bigger watch, with the Astra Watches A12 is.  The case comes in at 44mm, which fits the sort of vintage miltary/aviator feel of the design.  This comes primarily via the font chosen for the numerals (one of my favorites), which are made of luminous paint.  Also?  The Astra logo is lumed on the dial, another nice touch.  The sword hands are lumed as well, which means this is an easy one to read, day or night.

While there are other color combos and configs, we opted to have a look at the Astra Watches A12 with the blue dial and date window.  I find dates a particularly useful config, and here, the date window is not a distraction.  It’s a touch small, but that helps to minimize the impact of the white date wheel (which does correspond to the white numerals).  As far as blue, well, it is my favorite color.  And, paired as it is with a tan suede/roughout strap, it’s just got a nice look of summer casual for me.  Given as the strap are of the quick-change variety, it would be a simple matter to swap in something else if you wanted, mixing things up to make your own.

Tucked into the case of the Astra Watches A12 is the well-known Miyota 8215.  So, no surprises here, that helps keep the price down.  And, at the current pricing of $200, the Astra Watches A12 feels like an absolute steal.  I enjoyed wearing this one at the office and around the house, and just watching how the light catches the bevels on the the bezel.  Oh, and speaking of bevels – the sapphire crystal has a bevel to it as well.  It’s not quite the same angle as the bezel, but it’s a nice stepping of angles to get into the curve of the crystal.

If you’re on the hunt for an inexpensive mechanical watch, and you’re not so much into the dive watch scene (or just want something different), I’d say you should check out the Astra Watches A12 lineup.  It’s something different, with pieces of recognizable cues (the numerals and bezel, for example) that make the watch feel familiar, while not being a clone of anything, necessarily.  And at two bills, well, what’s to argue with?

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Astra Watches A12
  • Price:  $200
  • Who’s it for? You are on the hunt for an inexpensive summer watch, but aren’t feeling divers at the moment
  • Would I wear it?  Yes – that bezel is a fun one for sure
  • What I would change:  Play with the lume – perhaps a different shade for the logo?  Also, bumping up to 100m WR would be lovely.
  • The best thing about it:  The bezel.  The bezel.  Oh, and the bezel.
Tech Specs from Astra Watches
  • 44mm Case
  • Miyota 8215 Automatic Movement- 21 Jewels- 21,600 Bph- 42 Hour Reserve
  • Zero distortion, double-domed sapphire glass with custom cut edge.
  • Italian leather band featuring quick change mechanism.
  • 316L Stainless Steel case
  • Date Window
  • Screw down case back with mineral glass window.
  • 5 ATM / 50metres / 165ft Water resistance: Will resist moisture and can also be worn while swimming in shallow water.

ByPatrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.