It’s very rare to come across a watch designed with a singular style and aesthetic, but the example we have in today reflects a tradition of Swiss aviation watches. The AirNautic AN-24 Pilot is an automatic pilots watch that features a time-proven design and the backing of a familiar brand.
The AirNautic brand was founded by Mitch Feig of OCEAN7 Watch Co in order to preserve the aesthetic created by Yantar watches. Their distinctive 24-hour dial and bright contrasting colors have carried over under Mitch’s guidance, and has allowed a new audience to enjoy a very cool design. We jumped at the opportunity to review the AN-24 Pilot, and here’s why:
•ETA 2893-2 24-hour timekeeping. (The dial is based on 24-hours rather than 12.)
•41.5mm wide and 11.75 mm tall.
•Flat sapphire crystal with internal AR coating.
•Screw down crown.
•100m (330ft) water resistance.
•Black leather strap with signed buckle.
•Date window at 4 o’clock position.
The AN-24 is a visual treat with its bright colors, perfect lines, and unusual dial. The 24-hour timekeeping is foreign at first, but I will admit that it grew on me and is a great feature for this watch. The hour hand will complete only one full pass of the dial in a given day as opposed to the two it would make under conventional timekeeping. In the morning, it’s hard to tell a difference, but by early afternoon, reading the time is a whole new ball game, at least for the first few days as you acclimate.
We received the AN-24 in the blue and orange dial configuration with the open-lug case. It’s striking and beautiful in the same way Doxa watches are — a slice of the past respectfully modernized.
The AN-24 Pilot is an impressive mix of precision and vintage design. The bright colors and distinctive dial may make the watch stand out, but I feel that it is the case that deserves the most attention. The case is 41.5mm wide, and while this is smaller than many of the watches I normally wear, the AN-24 wears a little larger because the full dial design incorporates a thin bezel. The case is solid, cylindrical, and the lugs exit the case in a beautiful smooth manner (see photos and video). The overall feel of the watch is a subtle craziness, like a banker who sky dives in his free time.
The subtle and beautiful lines of the case blend well with the bright orange and blue of the dial. It stands out, but not in an ostentatious way. The AN-24 is confident, not flashy. After wearing this watch for a couple weeks, I began to realize that it is nearly without peers; Glycine makes some similar looking watches, but the AN-24 is a rather unique example of this style.
The build quality is exactly what we have come to expect from OCEAN7; the case, crown and crystal fit perfectly. The screwed-through lugs make strap changes simple and give the watch a “tool” appearance that is very nice. The ETA 2893-2 is mostly undecorated and can be viewed through the display back window. The ETA 2893-2 is based off of ETA’s best movement — the 2892-A2 — and the timekeeping reflects that. The accuracy has been very good, running about +5-7 seconds a day, and keeping time well on and off the wrist. This movement has proven to be reliable enough to be used by many large Swiss brands.
The signed screw-down crown is precise in its settings and has smooth threading with a confident feel. The date is displayed through a small window at the four o’clock position, and is shown via white text on a black background.
The luminous paint is bright, but the charge does not last as long as a dive watch since the markers and hands are smaller and thus allow for less paint. The lume is colorful and fun to look at in the dark as the markers are blue/orange and the hands are a bright orange. Lume is usually blueish-green, so it’s fun to see a different color being used on the AN-24 Pilot.
The AN-24 Pilot sells for $999 directly from the AirNautic website. The AN-24 lineup includes the Pilot, Submarine and the GMT. All models are available with open or hooded “Euro” lugs. AirNautic has 12 and 24 hour dial styles and will be announcing the availability of decorated COSC ETA movements in all three AN-24 models in the coming weeks.
The AN-24 Pilot is quite unique, and given the fantastic case and upgraded movement options, it’s also well priced. It’s a no-nonsense watch in terms of practicality and usefulness. The size and shape of the case are agreeable with sleeves, cuffs, and wrists of all sizes. The dial is extremely legible, and the 24hr timekeeping is simple, straightforward, and thanks to the movement, very accurate.
Whether you’re into aviation style watches, or simply looking for a well priced and unique watch that doesn’t skimp on build quality or movement, the AirNautic AN-24 Pilot is a great choice.