First Look at the Gavox Spitfire, a Traditionally Sized Pilot’s Watch

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Gavox has a new release that should appeal to those interested in military-inspired watches with strong vintage design cues that also happen to be traditionally sized. The Spitfire, as its name implies, is a simple pilot style watch, but unlike many other watches in this genre, it’s only 36mm. Remember, actual pilot’s watches from the WWII era were occasionally larger than 36mm, so Gavox’s decision to go small here says something interesting about where we are in terms of watch size preference. The writing is most certainly on the wall: the big watch era is coming to an end.


Gavox Spitfire

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Black
  • Dimensions: 36 x 7.9 x 41.5mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire   
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters    
  • Crown: Push/pull     
  • Movement: Seiko VD75
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather strap, mesh bracelet 
  • Price: $201.32
  • Reference Number: n/a 
  • Expected Release: Available now

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Ok, so there will probably always be a market for oversized watches. You can’t just unring that bell — 42mm and up simply looks correct on the wrists of a generation of watch consumers who came of age when there was little else presented to them. And good design goes a long way — plenty of big watches work just fine. But, as an unabashed fan of smaller, slimmer watches, the fact that Gavox has released a small pilot’s watch and is marketing its diminutive size as a strength is really fascinating. 

The Spitfire is as simple as it gets. It’s a classic pilot’s watch layout with bright white Arabic numerals, large lumed hands, and an easy to read railroad style minutes track. If you’re a fan of the “Dirty Dozen” aesthetic, this piece will definitely hold some appeal. The Spitfire is 36mm in diameter and just 7.9mm thick, with a lug to lug length of 41.5mm. Folks should expect this to wear smaller than most of their modern watches, but they can also expect it to be comfortable and hug the wrist, providing an entirely different impression than a watch even just a few millimeters larger.

The watch is powered by a Seiko quartz movement, which allows the price to be kept right at that $200 mark. I like the idea of a quartz movement in a watch like this — it gives someone who might think they’re averse to the small size a chance to try it out without a large investment. Best case scenario, this watch serves as a gateway to all kinds of exciting conservatively sized vintage watches. Worst case scenario? You wind up with a completely unobjectionable grab and go watch for those times when you just need to find something that’s running. 

If you’re not too keen on the military styling of the Spitfire, Gavox has also introduced the Stellar, a marine-chronometer inspired dress watch in the same form factor. Roman numerals, Breguet style hands, and a dramatic white dial with multiple well executed (but stamped) finishes give the Stellar a totally different vibe in what is essentially the same case. This one has more of a unisex look to it, and could serve as a reliable, always ready dress watch for someone who doesn’t often have the need for one. 

The Spitfire and Stellar are both available now on the Gavox website. Gavox

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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