Hands-On with the SaStek Time Speed Indicator

With all the pilot’s watches out there, it’s hard for a newcomer to stand out. It takes something unique visually or technically to be noticed. The designers over at SaStek clearly had this in mind when creating the Time Speed Indicator, the brand’s first watch. Based on “Machmeters” or “Air Speed Indicators,” the Time Speed Indicator (TSI from here on out) utilizes a system of disks and on-sapphire printing to create something genuinely novel and attractive. Powered by the Miyota 9015 and set to have a retail of $399, it’s also value minded.


We got one in to play with, and it makes an immediate impression (please note that the watch in the photos is a prototype, so some changes will be made for production). The case is big, but flat, measuring 44 x 52 x 9.5mm (the height is what was listed by the brand, though our samples measured a bit thicker). While I definitely prefer smaller watches, the size doesn’t feel inappropriate for the watch, as the dial does well with more real estate. Also, they place the crown at 4, preventing it from digging in.

In terms of design, the case is a two-parter consisting of a mid-case and case back, no bezel. The mid-case is a straight cylinder with slab sides and funky, faceted lugs coming off. The lugs are pretty straight, tapering just a bit, but have an aggressive angle in them, giving the case some needed personality. Flipping the watch over you have a snap on case back with a pretty cool etching of a pilot with full helmet and mask in a cockpit.


Hands-On with the SaStek Time Speed Indicator

PVD Steel
Miyota 9015
Sapphire w/ Print
Water Resistance
44 x 53mm
Lug Width

The dial is really where the TSI comes to life and flaunts its unique characteristics. Instead of being a typical three hander, the TSI mixes hands and discs with on glass printing for a cool take on an instrument display. The main dial consists of a black surface that is fully textured with circular graining, which immediately gives it a more metallic feel. On the surface is an hour index with white numerals that rotate with the angle of the hour, and an outer index of green squares (this color changes per the accent color of the watch) and white lines. The typeface chosen is very attractive, with tall, narrow numerals.

At a glance, it might seem that the white lines are for minutes, but they actually indicate quarter hour marks. This was a smart addition as there would have been too much space between the hours without them, and they give you a good at a glance indicator of your general place within an hour (oh, it’s half passed, etc…). The hour hand is then a lume filled triangle that runs along the index, peaking out from under the graphics on the sapphire. This works well, giving the watch a “meter” feeling and being easy to read.


The minutes and seconds are then disks. Printed on the back of a sapphire is a graphic of a black circle with a pale green line, some branding text and pointer. At the top of the graphic is an arching window through which one reads the minutes via rotating disk and the printed pointer. The disk consists of white markers with larger green numerals at intervals of five. It’s very easy to read, though it takes some getting use to at first. I have to say though that having the hour as a hand and the minutes as a disk is much simpler than having both as disks. Here, it works sort of like a regulator, separating out the functions and putting greater emphasis on the minutes.

The seconds hand is then a spinning spiral on a disk referring the graphic on the front of turbines. At first I thought this was a bit hokey, but it grew on me. The lack of numerals or even a pointer keeps the emphasis on the minutes and hours, while the spiral is a good “on” indicator. Overall, the unique design works and is clever. It feels very obvious, like this should have been done before, yet I can’t think of something quite like it. In the context of a pilot’s watch it’s fun and different, and makes sense with the instrument concept. I also love the green they chose for the “verde” model. It’s a soft, sea foam green that looks great with the black dial and case.


On the wrist, the TSI wears big, but works. With all that is going on with the dial it needs the space, and the case being fairly subdued doesn’t add to the overall feeling of scale. While I like the look of the lugs, I actually would love to see a lugless version of this watch. The dial has a very “circular” flow to it with the concentric graining, crystal graphic, disks, etc… That would also make it wear a bit smaller and feel more modern. But, as is it wears well for a larger watch. The 9.5mm thickness helps with this as it doesn’t feel clunky.

All in all, the SaStek Time Speed Indicator is a successful design, and a fun one at that. Doing something unique like using disks with hands only succeeds if the elements are designed well, and here they did a good job. It’s very clean, the use of color and typography work well and it doesn’t feel like a gimmick, which is perhaps most impressive. Overall, it brings a nice, modern graphic sensibility to the pilot’s watch, and something more clever and playful to the instrument concept. The TSI is currently undergoing funding on kickstarter with a starting price of $325, which is a great value for a 9015 powered watch. The final retail of $399 is really good too. So, if you’re looking for something different but in the vein of a pilot, be sure to check this out.

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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