Today I review the Praesto Modern Fliegeruhr, a brand new take on the classic pilot’s watch and the first product from newcomer Praesto.

Specifications to get us started:

•Automatic mechanical, based on the Miyota 8245, handwinding but non-hacking. 21,600vph, 21 jewels.
•Water resistant to 200m (660ft).
•316L stainless steel case, bead-blasted to satin finish.
•Signed screw-down crown and caseback.
•Flat sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating.
•Functions: hours, minutes, and subseconds at 4:30.
•44mm by 12.5mm, 105g.
•24mm lugs, contrast-stitched leather strap which starts at a beefy 5.6mm and thins out to 4.2mm at the end.
•SuperLuminova lume on hands and dial.
•$360 for pre-order (still visible on their website — soon to rise to $480).
Please read on for the full review.

We wrote about Praesto last fall, and have been anticipating the Aviator quite keenly. Available in three color combos, I chose the blue dial over the PVD or plain bead-blasted versions. I’m pleased to say that is was worth the wait, and the result is wonderful. As expected, the blue dial is a vivid blue, and the orange contrasts on the propeller-style second hand and model text are nice accents. The dial is sunburst-finished, so as you tilt the watch the highlights move across the dial; quite hypnotic. As you can see from this picture, the anti-reflective coating is very effective which greatly aids in legibility. Praesto has promised to move to front-side-coating, as well, in future models, which is a bit easier to scratch but, even better for visibility.

 Case finishing is very very good; note the perfectly even finish in the closeups and consistent edges. Note also that the bezel rehaut on the dial is brushed, not polished — a subtle bit of visual detail to enjoy. The profile is tapered, and that combined with the 12.5mm thickness makes a easy fit under cuffs despite the 44mm width. As seen here, the crown is screwdown: 6.8mm, and signed with a “P.”

 The caseback is nicely etched with the specs and serial number, always a nice touch.

Timekeeping has been excellent — within 4 seconds per day. The watch handwinds nicely, and though I’d like to have hacking, it’s not critical in my opinions. Rotor spin is just barely audible if you listen closely.

The crown is a good size and shape.  It’s easy to grip, and screws down easily and smoothly.

 The leather strap is a substantial 24mm wide by 5.6mm at the lugs, thinning down to a still-chunky 4.2mm at the ends. Two keepers — one stitched in place — keep it anchored, and it ends in a Panerai-style tang buckle with etched brand name. The contrast stitching adds a sporty look and a bit of flair.

 On the wrist, the thin bezel and 44mm width combine with the blue dial for a bold look. It goes great with blue jeans and a dress shirt. The skeletonized hands are eminently readable, and the lume is quite bright at night. The use of three fonts on the dial somehow works: the minute markers are stenciled for a military feel, and the minutes are printed smaller in a sans-serif font that also works well. The hour hand reaches out just to the edge of the hour markers, and likewise for the minute hand. Nicely proportioned.

(There’s also the classic triangle at 12 o’clock — a bit smaller than usual.)

 Overall, I think Praesto has a winner on their hands with their first watch. It’s got a an original, vintage-inspired style, nice movement, and high-grade construction. If you can still get the pre-order price, it’s a screaming deal, and if you get the release price, it’s still a very good deal indeed.

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