Techné is a brand we’ve been following since we first started worn&wound. Specializing in great looking pilot and aviator watches with even more outstanding prices, they are one of the few brands out there they is as committed to design as they are to quality and value. They also take a no fuss, transparent approach to what they make.Utilizing Asian made movements and cases, they keep their costs down, but not at the expense of quality. They also are willing to try things that many other brands seem scared of, such as using SeaGull ST1901 mechanical chronographs and interesting quartz movements to provide variety without high prices.
Their newest watches, the Harrier series, stay true to the philosophies of the brand while pursuing a more modern aesthetic. Though the older Techné models are clearly present in the new Harriers, one can see how the aesthetic has evolved and become both bolder and cleaner for a more aggressive and contemporary look. Once again, Techné has utilized a couple of different movements to give customers some interesting options, while maintaining a great price point that includes sapphire crystals.
For review we had the reference 363, which is a 3-hand model with date that is powered by the Miyota 9015 automatic movement, starting at $465. We also had a the less expensive, but featured-packed, reference 392, which has a Miyota GP11 Quartz with 24-hr dial, retrograde dual-time zone and oversized date, starting at $260.
Case: Brushed Steel or PVD
Movement: Miyota 9015 / Miyota GP11
Water Res.: 50m
Dimensions: 41 x 51mm
Thickness: 11.1 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown: 6 x 3 mm screw down
Warranty: 1 year
The steel case of the Harrier has a classic and straightforward design with just enough unique details to have a personality of its own. Measuring 41 x 51 x 11.1 mm, the case is a healthy medium size with a fairly thin profile. From above the case has a standard shape consisting of a circular center with slabs sides and angular lugs. The lugs are perhaps the most interesting aspect of the case. From the top, they look like triangular, attaching to the case at a wide point and tapering to the end. They have a sleekness that lends the Harrier an overall more modern and stealth feeling than previous Techné watches.
From the side, they are actually quite strange. The start with a slight slope away from the case then cut sharply into a flat plane angled down. The tip of the lugs then swoops underneath with a circular shape that is altogether unexpected. Overhead, it has a very fluid form, but from the side it feels more utilitarian and tool like, as though it were stripped out of another piece of equipment. One strange aspect is that the round area feels like a natural rotation point for the straps, but they actually connect further back.
The bezel is relatively thick, giving the watch a beefiness that suits the overall bold design. This also helps temper the size of the watch. At 3 there is a small screw-down crown that measures about 6 x 3mm. It’s perhaps a touch small for the case, but is still easily graspable, and doesn’t look out of place. On the flat side is an etching of what appears to be an old-school diving helmet. The case back of the ref 363 features a display window to show the Miyota 9015 automatic movement inside, while the 392 is a simple steel plate. Both feature various details about the watches and nothing particularly superfluous.
Overall, the cases are very well constructed with good tolerances and decent, though not cumbersome, weight. Both models feature fairly simple finishing. The 392 has an even brushing throughout that gives it a no fuss look. The 363 has a matte black PVD that is even, dense and well applied. One thing I’ve always liked about PVD Techné watches is the black of the dial and the black of the case tend to perfectly match, giving the watch more seamless look. This is of course the case with the 363 model. Both models are available in either steel or PVD.
Dial: ref 363
Staying true to Techné’s branding, the Harrier ref 363 is a spot on aviator. With big, bold, clean numerals and indexes, the watch puts legibility at the forefront. Aviator watches, being a fairly popular trend of the last several years, often are very similar to almost identical. While the aviator design vocabulary is clear in the Harrier watches, I do think that Techné added enough little differences to make it a unique watch.
The dial surface is dense matte black, as I mentioned before, which makes all of the markings stand out very clearly. Unlike many other aviators, the dial actually has multiple levels, which makes it more visually interesting. The center of dial is dropped down a step. Visually, it makes me think of the interior indexes of “navigator” style flieger watches (such as the Steinhart we reviewed) though it contains no index. That being said, it is used to house any text that is on the dial, which helps organize the layout.
The main index consists of large lumed rectangles with smaller white hash marks for the individual minutes/seconds. Two details that I really like about this index is the fine white line around the very edge of the dial, which gives the design a finished feeling, and the two dots at 12. On either side of the rectangle at 12 are white lumed dots that refer to classic pilot/military dial design. The two dots provide an immediate visual cue for orienting the watch.
Amending the main index are large 6, 9 and 12 numerals, which are telltale design elements of an aviator watch. These numerals are clearly the visual centerpiece of the design, and as such were executed very nicely. They numerals are very large, but not ridiculous, enabling at-a-glance readability. These numerals are also lumed, so they stay legible in low light.
Another interesting detail of the dial is date window at 3 o’clock. The window itself is fairly typical, showing the black on silver disk of the Miyota 9015 movement, but next to it is a hash-marked white and black surface with an up arrow next to it, both raised out of the dial. Clearly referring to aviation equipment, this detail is sort of an exclamation drawing the eye to the date. Though not a necessary detail, given the size of the 6, 9 and 12 numerals, I think this helps balance out the gap created by the date window. The up arrow also helps one remember that the date is changed by turning the crown up, or away from oneself.
In the center dropdown area below 12 is the new Techné logo, which features a very elegant calligraphic font, and Latin in red that reads “Opus Manufactum”. Above 6 is a block of 3 lines that read “Harrier, automatic, 24 jewels”. The text is well implemented and not particularly distracting.
The hands of the ref 363 are also of note. Clearly referring to the sword style hands of most aviator watches, the semi-skeletonized design is different, modern and attractive. The minute hand is a white, long narrow fence post that tapers ever so slightly. It is skeletonized to just past half way, with lume on the outer half. The hour hand is a squat Roman sword with a similar partially filled design and the second hand is a lumed stick with a flared skeleton shape as a counter weight. The hollow design allows the hands to be fairly large without being too bold or covering to much area, and in the dark gives them an interesting floating quality.
Movement: Miyota 9015
The ref 363 comes with the 24-jewel automatic Miyota 9015 movement inside. This is a movement we are always happy to see a manufacturer use, as it is a great alternative to some of the Swiss made standards. Though it’s not always the case, Techné has managed to use these movements and keep the price of the watch very fair at $465-$490. The 9015 comes standard with a little decoration in the form of Geneva stripes on the back plate. The standard rotor, however, is a bit dull and we would have liked to have seen some etching or decoration here, even as an option for additional cost.
As far as accuracy, in our time with the watch we have seen no issues. Techné actually takes the movements, which are rated at -10/+30 a day and regulates them to -4/+6 ,which is COSC standard. This really is going above and beyond a watch this price.
Dial: ref 392.
The ref 392 takes the same basic design of the 363 automatic, but adds additional dials, hands and a cool large size date, for a more technical look and increased functionality. At 3, there is a larger than average date window showing the black on white date, with a similar “warning” hash-mark area to the left. The date itself is 45% larger than that of a standard date, which was accomplished with a dual wheel design. Standard “big date” complications have two wheels either side-by-side or one within the other, creating a date of 2 separately rotating numerals.
The oversized date featured on this watch is created with two stacked wheels, one with 1-15, the other 16-31. When the date clicks over to the 16th, the first wheel has a cutaway away to show the second wheel below, which then turns to cover the wheel below again at the first. It’s a very simple and elegant way to create a larger date without a big date complication or a cylcops.
Across the dial at 9, rather instead of 9, is a 24-hour sub-dial. This simple and clean dial sits a step down from the main dial, creating instant visual separation of the information. The sub-dial features an index with markings for each hour, getting bolder every 3 hours with a triangle at 24. There are also numerals every 3 hours. The 24-hour hand is a small white arrow that very clearly indicates the hour. While this dial might not be of everyday use, it is nice to have as an additional function and useful abroad.
At 6 is the most interesting and unique function, as well as design element, of the watch, the retrograde dual-time zone indicator. This fan shaped sub-dial, which also sits a step below the main dial, indicates a second time zone, which can be set separately from the main time at 1-hour increments. Similar to the 24-hour dial, the index consists of small white hash marks for every hour, getting bolder every 3, with numerals every three hours as well.
Since this function has a retrograde feature (it snaps back to zero at the 24th hour rather than having to make a full rotation) the layout of the index is an arc, which is very interesting looking. It gives the dial a different balance than one with multiple circular sub-dials would have, as they tend to always be reminiscent of chronographs. The unique shape, and accompanying green hand, also helps separate the information when quickly looking at the watch. Most dual-time of GMT watches have the 4th hand about the center, and can sometimes be a bit visually overwhelming, since there is a lot of information presented at once. The Harrier 392 clearly does not suffer from this.
One interesting little detail is that just above 6 there is another small arrow, this time pointing down. This indicates that the crown, when pulled out one stop, is turned towards you to change the second time zone. Though you are likely to remember this, it is nice to have a reference.
Movement: Miyota GP11
The GP11 quartz movement is very interesting, as indicated in the preceding section, given its added functionality. Since it is a quartz, it also has the added benefit of great accuracy at +/- 20 sec a month. In the time we spent with the watch, we saw no issues with the accuracy or any of the extra functions. The GP11 has a battery life of 3 years, which is decent/average for a quartz.
Straps and Wearability
The Harriers we had in for review came on leather straps that can also be purchased for an additional $25 from Techné. The 363 was fitted with a 20mm sand colored, matte cowhide with cream stitching that complemented the black PVD perfectly. It’s a very attractive strap with an interesting texture, almost nubuck, which quickly gains a nice patina. It also featured a black thumbnail buckle to match the PVD case.
The 392 came with a black oil-leather strap with cream stitching and optional deployment clasp. This heavily padded strap has a satin sheen that gives the watch a slightly dressier appearance. It works very well with the brushed steel of the 392, continuing the black of the dial without being too dense.
On the wrist, the Harriers wear very comfortably. 41mm is a great size for a sport watch as it is large enough to have visual presence, but small enough to not look oversized. It also will likely fit wrists of various sizes. Meanwhile, the 11mm thickness isn’t going to tower on your wrist, or be so thin as to feel light. The geometry of the case really comes through when worn, appearing sleek and modern from overhead, rugged and tool-like from the side. The black 363 version is a drop meaner looking, as PVD watches tend to be. The clean 3-hand dial is very well balanced, and when paired with the sand colored strap, the watch takes on a bit more of military feel. The 392, which is much busier, has a more technical / functional appearance, making it feel more like a genuine piece of pilot’s equipment.
All said and done, the two watches achieve a modern aviator aesthetic without feeling staid or derivative. The watches are well executed overall, but the dials particularly stand out. They are perfectly printed, with crisp lines and very deep black surfaces. The use of impressed surfaces and interesting hands gives the Harrier’s a unique look that makes them standout from the herd of aviators.
The other major standout feature is the value proposition of these watches. The 363, with optional PVD coating, sapphire crystal and regulated Miyota 9015, at $490 with leather strap is genuinely a great deal. The 392, with sapphire, quality leather strap and a quartz Miyota GP11 movement featuring 24-hr, retrograde dual time and oversized date, is also a great deal at $275 given its additional features. I was really happy to see that they used the GP11 movement, as I feel that to increase the value of a quartz watch adding complications that would make a mechanical much more expensive makes them far more tempting.
So, if you are in the market for an aviator style that doesn’t break the bank, the Techné Harriers are a very viable option. It’s worth noting that both of the units reviewed are available in either steel or PVD and with various strap options. There is also a version we didn’t discuss, the ref 375, which starts at $230 and features a variation on the quartz GP11 movement with small seconds and oversized date.
By Zach Weiss
Review units supplied by Techné Watches