Steinhart, a German brand that we are big admirers of, recently released their “Aviation Chronograph”; an extension to their Aviator line. Normally, I am not a huge fan of the instrument dial styled “aviator” watches that saturate the market. Perhaps this is because, due to the popularity of Bell & Ross, too many brands have attempted to create their own, or perhaps it is because they are generally clunky and lacking in refinement. However, I find Steinhart’s Aviation line to be quite elegant, and simply put, the nicest aviator out there. The body is a highly tuned circle-in-square format, somewhere between a B&R and a Panerai body, with 4 hex bolts on the perimeter that measures 44mm x 44mm x 17mm. When looking at their detail shots, the build quality is apparent: every line is sharp, the tolerances of gaps are exacting, the crown is highly detailed and the brushed finished is clean and precise.
The face though is where this watch really shines. Keeping with the instrument panel aesthetic of Aviator watches, Steinhart has done some very interesting thing in the layout of the dial while staying true to the source. The non-rotating inner bezel is marked with an index for minutes, with numerals every 5 minutes. Moving in, the hour index is marked primarily with large white/lume lines with large 12 and 06 hour markings in a clean font and a small seconds dial at the 9 o’clock position. The date is shown at 3 via a window that shows day of, before and after. The really cool part, however, are the chrono dials. There are two semi-circular chrono dials, one for hours and the other for minutes, aligned vertically on the face. Since they are half-circles, the indexes are doubled and are read via two colors, white and orange. The hands on the subdials are mirrored over their axis, one side being white and the other orange; thus, when the orange hand is over the index you read the orange numbers and vice-versa for white. This clever little feature allowed Steinhart to create larger chrono dials that do not interfere with the rest of the face and adds a certain uniqueness to the overall design.
The Aviation chrono is powered by a Valjoux 7750 élaboré, a more decorated version of what is in their Nav B Chrono, with a stylish golden rotor and it has a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coatings on each side. At 161g, this watch is super heavy, but that seems suiting as it supposed to be part of a plane. The watch costs about $1,025, so it is not cheap, but it is also a lot of watch for that price. If aviation watches are your thing, I would certainly recommend this unique offering over the more prolific brands.
images from Steinhartwatches.de