Often brands describe their watches with some pretty highfalutin language. I mean, who can blame them? If they don’t do it, who will? Nevertheless, it was refreshing to see Astor + Banks of Chicago describe their newest watch, the Pilotmatic, in very down to Earth terms. “This is a no frills watch that is simply made to last with high quality materials.” A+B don’t think they are changing the world one wrist at a time, redefining the watch industry or proving that something can be done that no one has done before. Nope, they just wanted to make a good watch, pure and simple.
With that in mind, approaching the Pilomatic is an easy proposition. The vintage inspired timepiece combines a classic, 42mm German-made pilot case with an ETA 2824-2 and a clean dial. Available in either black or blue, both limited to 50 units, it’s a three-hander with a date and a just a little extra style. The case has lines you’ve seen before, with a smooth taper on the lugs, slab sides and a broad chamfered bezel. The massive diamond crown shouts vintage flieger. As noted, the case is German-made, which sets up expectations for sharp lines and good finishing, which it fully delivers on. The brushing around the case has a nice texture, while punctuations of polished surfaces on the top and sides of the bezel add some complexity. The case back is very plain, just a lightly etched solid surface. Though in keeping with the notion of producing something that’s “no frills,” something a little extra would have been nice.
The theme continues to the dial, which has a series of graphic indexes without numerals. Before getting to them, it’s worth looking at the two color options. First there is the black option, which is as expected, with a matter surface and white highlights. The blue is more odd and unexpected. The surface is a dark blue sunray that is accented with bright green lume markers and white printed indexes. This takes the concept of the watch into slightly more stylized territory as it does come across a bit colorful.