Introducing the Guinand Flying Officer 12h Automatic

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In 2016, we announced the return of Guinand, the company once helmed by Helmut Sinn after his departure from his eponymous brand. Driven by new leadership, Guinand promised a revamped catalog of watches that would grow the firm, yet remain true to the ethos that has made Guinand a best-kept-secret in German watchmaking.

One of Guinand’s most technically-interesting watches has been and remains the Flying Officer. It’s a remake of a pilot’s chronograph bearing the same name that Guinand produced in the ‘60s (Guinand’s take on the 24-hour chronograph shouldn’t be confused with the Flying Officer also produced by Galet).

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What makes the Flying Officer especially intriguing, and it’s also what one would likely notice first upon seeing or handling the watch, is that it features a true 24-hour dial, with the hour hand advancing across the dial once every 24 hours. To achieve that, the watch’s engine—the now-discontinued Valjoux 7760—had to be modified in-house by Guinand. Furthermore, to achieve the register layout of the original, Guinand had to move the 30-minute sub-dial counter to three o’clock from 12 (the historical model, it should be noted, featured a sub-dial with a 45-minute counter at three). While not an uncommon modification, it is a significant one. In an act of self-restraint, Guinand has also omitted the date window, keeping the symmetry intact.

New versus old.

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Going beyond the movement, another appealing trait of the Flying Officer is its size. It measures 37.5mm wide and 11mm thick, which is absolutely wild for a chronograph being produced in 2017.

Guinand first brought the Flying Officer back into the fold in 2011 as a limited edition release during the Hassler era of the brand—that is, after Helmut Sinn left and before the new management under Matthias Klueh took over. It is still currently available for purchase, though last I checked availability seems to be totally dependent on Guinand’s stock of modified 7760s.

Flying Officer. Image credit: WUS coelacanth.

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Earlier this summer Guinand unveiled the Flying Officer 12h Automatic—an iteration of the Flying Officer that, while admittedly a departure from the original’s concept, retains some of the foundational DNA of the Flying Officer aesthetic. For sure, it’s a different watch with some significant changes in functionality from the original Flying Officer, but it’s still damn cool.

The Flying Officer 12h Automatic is, as the name spoils, a 12-hour chronograph powered by an automatic caliber—here the Valjoux 7753. The architecture of the 7753 is responsible for a highly pleasing register configuration, with the 30-minute counter at three, a 12-hour counter at six, and the active seconds at nine. And yes, there’s no date window here, too.

Guinand Flying Officer 12h Automatic. Image credit: WUS

As far as the size goes, the case retains its 37.5mm width, but it’s been scaled up in height to about 14mm to account for the automatic movement. The case is stainless steel (fully polished), and it features a domed sapphire crystal with internal anti-reflective coating up top and a screwed case back with a sapphire aperture around back.

One thing that Guinand hasn’t changed in all these years is their direct-to-consumer model. As a result, both the Flying Officer and the Flying Officer 12h Automatic are offered at highly competitive prices. The Flying Officer 12h Automatic is €1,790, and the Flying Officer—with its greater level of movement modification—is a slightly higher, yet reasonable €1,889. Excluding VAT and converted to USD with current exchange rates, that’s about $1,772 and $1,870, respectively. For what you’re getting with either of these two watches, that’s a really solid deal. Guinand

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Ilya is worn&wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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  • Joel

    Now that is exciting. A sturdy, rugged chrono at 37mm. Yes, I’m one of those small waisted guys & this is truly appealing! Thanks for bringing this to my (& all of our) attention Ilya.

  • I love this look, beautifully clear dials with simple, minimal text and a gorgeous logo. Beautiful watches both. I like the triple register 12h Automatic but wish it was hand wound and 11mm like the 24hr model. It comes back to something you talked about on the podcast, the lack of modern hand wound chronograph movements. I wish there was more demand for them.

    • egznyc

      I am amazed that the 24 hour model comes in at just 11mm. Not sure why a winding rotor would add a full 3mm or so to the thickness. That just doesn’t seem possible, as it’s based on the same 77xx architecture.

      Sure wish they’d included some lume shots!

      • The difference between the respective movement heights is less than 1mm which would multiply a little into the case design. The article mentions that the 12hr automatic has a display case back. I’m not sure if the 24hr has one. If not suspect that would also add extra height.

        • egznyc

          Good points. Though even if it added to the height, I’d still want a domed crystal. 😉

        • sugurunishioka

          24hr one also has display back. I’m “coelacanth” credited for the 24hr model picture above.

  • Stephen Scharf

    Another very nice watch from a brand that is consistently under-appreciated but has impeccable credentials. One of these days, I’ll be getting a Guinand. Along with Fortis and Sinn, you get an incredible watch for the money.

  • Mikita

    Easily one of the best looking no-nonsense military chronos I’ve seen so far. Amazing watch, but I have hard time choosing between 12h and 24h…

    • DanW94

      I’d go with the 24 hour dial. You just don’t see too many of those around. It’s something unique. I also like the two register design.

      • Mikita

        And the 24-hour dial seems more in line with the military looks of the watch.

  • Alan Jai Kuriako

    This is why I like Worn&Wound. You guys always bring up indie and underrated watch brands. Hodinkee just goes on about Rolex everyday.

    • egznyc

      Absolutely – I have to imagine others must share this sentiment, and it’s greatly appreciated!

  • SVK

    I regret every day not buying the manual version of this a year ago. This model is also lovely, but is substantially thicker than the manual wind and makes it a bit less appealing for my small wrists.

  • BJ314

    Case size is perfect. Finally, someone heard us.

  • Yojimbo

    solid solid looking watch at a competitive price

  • Phillip Chouzenoux

    A most beautiful timepiece your watch reviews are STELLAR.

  • Tracy Swan

    Comparing these watches to a Sinn how do they stack up?

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