Aquatico is a Hong Kong based watch brand that specializes in “Precision Diving Watches’” For this review I am looking at a watch from their Blue Angels line, which is NOT one of their dive watches. The market seems to have as many pilot watches as Submariner homages. Many brands have a long history of making watches for the military in different countries. I must admit that most of them look similar with their primary theme being extremely good readability. Some of these watches have faces that emphasis 60 minutes or seconds, while others emphasize a 24 hour clock and amazingly some primarily just tell the time. Of course readability without durability and reliability does not make a pilot watch.
The Blue Angels line from Aquatico comes in four color variations; gray, silver, black and blue. The matte blue face of this watch is a great choice, imo. All of the watches use the extremely popular Seiko/Time Module NH35A with date movement. This is a 24 jewel automatic hacking workhorse movement that is normally rated to have a 41 hour power reserve that runs at 21,600 bph. It might be the number one selling automatic watch movement in the world. Standard accuracy is listed at -20 to +40 seconds a day, but the movement can be regulated for excellent accuracy, as my example is. This watch has an exhibition back, which is a bit unusual for a pilot watch, in my experience. In addition, the glass back has a mirrored silver image of a F/A-18 Hornet as currently used by the Blue Angels U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. The F/A-18 blocks a large portion of the visible movement, but it is totally appropriate to the watch.
The 316L stainless steel case is completely brushed and has a very nice beveled bezel with a slightly raised flat K1 hardened mineral crystal. The gear edge push pull crown is just right at under 7 mm in diameter and has a nicely polished and blasted finish with their dolphin logo signature. The 22 mm lugs perfectly blend into the watch case and circle the bottom of the case bezel. The 50 mm lugs curve down exactly as I like and the line around the screw down case back where it meets the case goes perfectly with the line of the bezel edge.
What really makes this watch look right is the well lumed ( a combination of BGW9 or GLC3 lume) dial that has absolutely perfect proportions and type style. The 3 o’clock black on white date window doesn’t interfere with the numeral 3 on the face, which means all twelve numbers of the dial are executed exactly the same way. In addition, there are properly proportioned smaller inner white numbers from 13 to 24 and wonderful cathedral like fully lumed and brushed hour and minute hands. There is also a red outlined and polished needle tipped second hand and an excellent minute/second chapter ring with matching red numerals every five minutes or seconds. To top it off, the brand name on the upper half of the face is absolutely spot on with the lower half of the face with the word “AUTOMATIC” in matching red and just below it “330 ft/100 m” in white. A subtle line on the blue face circles the middle of the slightly raised middle section of the dial as well. Aesthetically this pilot watch is perfect in my book.
What don’t I like about this watch? Well, I would prefer the crystal to be sapphire and the crown screw down. The watch is rated a more than adequate 10 ATM water resistance. The 22 mm leather strap with white stitching matches the face quite well and the brushed and signed buckle is exactly right for this watch; not too wide or large. What is really great is the price, which is currently $159 with free shipping world wide. If you are looking for a pilot watch, don’t overlook the Blue Angel line from Aquatico. Remember, Aquatico makes “Precision Diving Watches” as well. www.aquaticowatch.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.