Review: Maratac Pilot Watch

Popular | Review | Under $1k | 12.28.2011

For those of you that have been following worn&wound for the past several months, the Maratac Pilot Watch should be familiar territory.  We highlighted it a few months back and included it in our holiday gift guide for guys.  I’ve owned a Maratac for some time now, and having it as a part of my watch collection has been a pleasure. With a quality automatic movement, sapphire crystal and outstanding pilot watch styling, all for under $200, how can you go wrong?

Case: Brushed stainless steel
Movement: Miyota 8245 21 jewel automatic movement
Luminous: Super Luminova C3
Lens: Domed sapphire glass
Case Back: Screw-down
Strap: Maratac Brand Mil-series nylon
Water Res.: 100 M
Dimensions: 46 mm
Thickness: 12.5 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: Screw down oversized onion
Warranty: Unknown


The headline to any discussion of the Maratac Pilot has to be what an outstanding value it is, and not just for its superb mechanical and material components.  Of course, the Miyota 8245 Automatic movement is a surprise in any watch under $200, and the inclusion of a domed sapphire crystal (a rather expensive material) adds tremendously to the watch’s value.  But the superb design, spot on pilot styling and clean finish of the Maratac is what dives its value over the top.

Given the size of the Maratac, and that its styling so closely references the classic (and very familiar) World War II pilot watch aesthetic, there is really very little room for error in design implementation and construction of the watch.  Magnified by a massive sapphire crystal, the face of the Maratac is stark and clean with a vintage military feel.  The off-white hour markings and indices have been cleanly applied and are free from inconsistencies.  In darkness, the C3 Super Luminova shines bright and even, with the small second hand remaining easily visible.  Further, the absence of any logos or other markings gives the Maratac a true utilitarian military feel.

The case of the Maratac is simple, as it should be, but upon closer inspection features some very nice detailing.  The stainless steel case is brushed throughout and is free from any jarring geometry.  Looking directly at the watch, you see the lugs transition smoothly into the rounded case, and taper nicely preserving the smooth lines of the case.   In viewing the watch’s profile you see a well-executed curvature, rounding the case to the shape of your wrist.  Staying with the profile, you also notice a very clean transition from the case to the domed sapphire crystal, giving the effect of one clean rounded line across the top of the case.

I also really appreciate the style and positioning of the crown on the Maratac.  Located in the bottom right-hand corner of the case, there is an oversized onion crown, featuring wide grooves and a flat polished top.  The crown is well machined, with cleanly finished lines.  Its size also fits quite well with the over-sized aesthetic of the watch.  Being tucked away in the corner of the case, the crown also doesn’t get in the way when wearing the watch, which is a concern with crowns on larger watches.  Due to its size and design, adjusting the crown of the Maratac is also very easy.  The mechanic of the crown also has a very nice feel.  Note that the Maratac is non-hacking (the second hand will continue to rotate when changing the time) and has the ability to be wound manually.

Similar to  the Maratac itself, the packaging and accessories that accompany the watch are minimal and simple, yet very useful and well constructed.  The Maratac comes in a “watch taco” made of a rigid canvas frame and soft plush interior.  This is a very handy accessory to have when storing the Maratac or when traveling with an extra watch.  The strap that comes with the Maratac is a black nylon mil-series made by the same company.  The strap feels well constructed, and my experience with this and other Maratac straps has been positive.  It is also worth noting that the mil-series strap design is quite nice, as it combines the look of a military strap with the functionality of a classic watch buckle (as apposed to the more ornate NATO style strap).

Wearing the Maratac is more effortless than you may expect, given that the watch measures 46 mm in diameter.  This is made possible in great part due to a number of the design elements I have described.  The curvature of the case and its lugs fits well to your wrist, making for a lower than expected profile.  The watch is also only 12.5 mm tall, which for a watch of this size is rather slim.  The offset crown also adds to the comfort of wearing the Maratac, as does the watch’s overall weight (110 grams by my measurement with a leather strap).  The Maratac is also very easy to read, with a large face free of distraction, featuring no erroneous markings and magnified by the sapphire crystal.

Adding to the Maratac’s value is its versatility of style.  This watch looks great on any number of military straps or leather bands.  A number of worn&wound readers commented on the strap featured in previous photos of the Maratac (see my initial impressions), and how beautifully the two pair.  As you can see in the photos included with this review, this is no less the case with nylon military style straps (*scroll to the bottom of this post for more info on straps featured in our photos).  This versatility leads the Maratac to look great in many settings, be it in the office or at home on the weekend.

So to wrap up my thoughts on the Maratac Pilot Watch, the quality components and superb design that are the foundation for this watch far exceed its $200 price tag.  Taking into account its excellent construction, detailing and versatility, it is safe to say that the Maratac Pilot would be a deal at $300 or more.  In fact, few if any other watches that I have come across in this price range provide nearly the same bang for your buck.  So whether you’re an avid fan of the pilot watch look or just a collector with a hole in your watch repertoire, I would strongly suggest picking up a Maratac Pilot Watch.

What’s that?  You think the 46 mm size is too big for your wrist?  Well that’s no problem because Maratac has recently released a mid-sized 39 mm version!  I think this is an incredibly wise decision by Maratac as the 46 mm case size of the original Maratac may be a non-starter for those with smaller wrists.  This new model features the same great styling, movement and price.

* The military straps featured in the photos for this review are all products of Maratac.   For a more complete listing of sellers of military straps, please click here.  The leather bands featured are sold by Holben’s Fine Watch Bands (light brown | dark brown).

  • FrancisBaconthe3rd

    I don’t remember how I stumbled upon your site. But I’m really liking it. I’m still too poor to buy an Omega or IWC but the Maratac Pilot looks really good, especially at the price point. Also wanted to mention that the thorough video review is great. The The high quality really sets you guys apart from just searching through forums or searching on google. Keep it up.

    • Blake

      Thanks for the kind words. Its great to hear that we stand out from te crowd!

  • David

    I really want one of these, but can’t get them in Australia. Any idea how I’d be able to get one? Great review as always.

  • Dennis

    I got mine last week, but had to send it back. It had a nick in the bezel. Countycomm responded quickly though saying they would correct it if I sent it back. I hope to get the replacement or repaired watch back soon.

    • Blake

      Dennis, that’s too bad about the bezel. Sounds like County Comm is taking care of it and you’ll have your Maratac soon enough. Thanks for commenting. Check back in when your watch arrives and let us know what you think!

  • Steve

    Googled reviews on the Maratac Pilot watch and stumbled across yours. Great review and even greater pictures! This has become the frontrunner in the search for my next watch (Sottomarino Pilotare and Ticino Pilot watch were the others I was considering- maybe a review on these?) Only downside is the strap that comes with it. I really like the leather strap pictured in your review. Can you provide information where you got it? Also considering a deploy clasp/buckle. What do you think? Thanks.

    • Blake

      Hey Steve. Thanks for reading and for the comment. I think the Maratac would look great on a deployment clasp. Ever worn one befor? I find that some can be a bit uncomfortable. But they look great and provide nice functionality. As for the leather straps in the photos, if the look at the very last paragraph of the review, you’ll find links to where you can find them. Lastly, it would be great to review the Sottomarino Pilotare or Ticino Pilot. Maybe we can get out hands on a review unit. Thanks again for reading!

      • Steve

        Wow, fast reply! Oops, I overlooked that part- thanks! I have never worn a deployant clasp, but read reviews that a single fold clasp would go nicely with the thicker leather strap. Plus it gives the watch an up-scale look. After deciding the Maratac Pilot is the front runner, thanks for throwing a new wrench in the works with reporting that they have come out with a mid-sized 39mm version! Now I’m stuck with either going for the WOW factor or the subtlety… Great site- bookmarked!

  • Ryan

    Just received my Mid-Pilot today and couldn’t be more pleased. Its a great watch, perfect for ones first automatic. I ordered the light brown Hirsch liberty in 20mm as well and it really brings this watch to a new level. Great site, I bet I’m not the only one that ordered the watch based on your review and amazing pictures. Keep up the good work my friend!

    • Blake

      Ryan, that’s awesome. I’m happy you like the mid-sized. In addition to referrals from the site, a bunch of my friends have ordered the Maratac after seeing it in person. It’s really an impressive watch for the price.

      Thanks also for the kind words. Keep reading and commenting – its great to hear your thoughts!

  • OhioHead

    After reading the review of the 46mm and being on the Countycomm website to purchase some other products (watch straps/pen)I saw the 39mm pilot watch, total impulse purchase!

    I received it about 2+ weeks ago, it has barely left my skinny wrist, I love the watch! The lume is bright, legibility is excellent, fit and finish is very good! The Miyota movement is actually running fast – my only complaint….

    Countycomm has made a great watch, in fact with with a little modification to the watch case, Countycomm could have an “excellent” field watch.

    Just my $.02 worth

  • Paul

    Hey I am strongly considering purchasing this watch, what is your wrist size for reference?

    • Blake

      Hey Paul. It’s a great watch. My wrist is 7.5 inches.

  • Ericson

    What a clean looking affordable watch! Love how easy it is to change those nylon straps. How many straps does it come with stock?

  • Zac

    My Mid-Pilot came today and its exactly as described. Looks awesome with no writing on the face. Now to find the perfect strap, the stock black nylon doesn’t do it justice.

  • Mark

    So glad I stumbled upon your site. Fantastic reviews, casual and non-pretentious and very aware of value for the common consumer. Thank you!

    I have been waiting for this watch to come back in stock at CountyComm. I have been looking for a daily wearer. I prefer bracelets most days and would love to find one with end links that match this watch. I know pilot watch fans will call heresy but I sweat too much for leather in the summer and I find nylon too casual and just not my style. I’ve seen a 39mm Maratac Pilot on a bracelet. Wondering if you have come across a bracelet that would fit this 46mm model.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  • http://URL Logan

    Great review, Blake!

    I have a 7″ wrist and of course, am concerned about the size of the 46″ behemoth! Can you tell me the lug to lug measurement on it?

    Also, Worn & Wound is becoming one of my go-to resources for watch reviews. Nicely done!

  • Stu

    How can I get a Maratac Pilot Mid?!? Harder to find than unicorns…

  • http://www.about.me/mikepetrucci Mike P.

    I love the look and the features of this watch. I know it’s not as sexy or full featured as others but for being only $200 I’m impressed. It looks like you are too. So you would recommend this as someone getting their first “real” watch?

  • http://URL JAC

    Thank you for taking the time to draft this review. I’ve seen the Pilot elsewhere and had a passing interest, but this sealed the deal for me.

  • http://URL dan

    Does anyone know where to get my Maratac Pilot Watch serviced? I broke the crown (it doesn’t screw in anymore) and I can’t find anyone to fix it… No web site or customer support either… Please help? Thank you!

    • http://URL Geoff

      Yes, countycomm will service your watch if you can’t find a jewler locally, but that shouldn’t be hard as the movement is one of the most common movements on the market. I just had mine serviced by countycomm for $65, and they put in a brand new, regulated movement, and it looks like they replaced the case and back as well! It’s basically a new watch, so no worries

  • http://URL Steve saiz

    It was finally available in April! Price went up to just under $300 with shipping. Price makes it more believable now for what you get, looks like its sold out again! I have several Rolex watches and panerai, and I needed a cheap beater watch that had a Saphire and was battery free. This watch fit the bill right on! Feels expensive and the 46 mm size is not to big on small wrist. Lows are: the rotor is pretty loud and It makes cheap noises when you move your wrist. Second hands are way to small and it seems like an after thought, hands are kinda small Also compared to huge face, the strap that it comes with has to be imediatly ditched! Other than that how can you go wrong with this watch for the price! I say it’s a keeper!!!

  • http://URL Bob

    Great review as usual!

    Could you let me know which exact Holben’s Fine Watch Bands model did you use for this review? I did search its website but there are many similiar models which look alike.

    Cheers,

  • http://URL Alex

    Make it 300m under water and will be the only watch to buy up to $1000 dollar range.

  • http://URL Alex

    I already have one on German rubber band and it has a killer look.

  • http://URL Alex

    ….about some problems with foging , yes my watch did this when I first wore it – it was a rainy day in Minesota and my watch got fogged inside. So when I got back home (Las Vegas) – I put the watch in zip lock bag full of rice for 3 days with fully unscrewed crown. The next trip to Florida with more rain and humidity – no more fogging. It turns out that the problem was – not fully screwed in crown. So maybe put some oil ( the one they use on hair clippers) on the thread of the crown and screw in completely.

    The accuracy of the watch is perfect +- 2 / day

  • http://www.rsdwatches.com/ William

    It’s one of my dream watches with killer looks.

  • http://URL Razinski

    The Pilot is a really great watch. I am tough on watches and it has lasted really, really we’ll. Recommended. Like your review too.

  • http://URL Andy

    Which Holben bands are these exactly? There are many on the website. Thanks.

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