Last September I reviewed the stainless steel Aquatico Blue Angels Pilot Watch. The Hong Kong based brand has expanded its offerings and has now added a line of watches named the Bronze Blue Angels. These watches are cased in marine grade bronze, CuSn8, in a completely satin brushed finish. Though the word “pilot” does not appear in the name of this watch, four McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets are engraved in formation on the stainless steel engraved case back. Currently this watch line is offered in your choice of black, blue, brown or green textured dials which look stunning with the watch’s bronze case. I am partial to the military green dial, as reviewed, since it compliments bronze so well.
Aquatico really wants this watch to function well in water with an extraordinary water resistance rating of 300 meters, something I do not recall seeing in this type of watch before. The Aquatico brand name refers to water while the US Navy and Marine Blue Angel planes aligns the watch line to a very famous US military exhibition fighter aircraft organization. Combined with a unique screw down bronze crown and beautifully etched and engraved stainless steel case back, this watch is perfectly suitable for use on land, sea or in the air. Adding a raised, flat, box sapphire crystal with A/R, emphasizes that this watch can handle just about anything.
The one piece machined bronze case has a well finished beveled, raised bezel. The bronze case and the buckle should patina quite nicely over time. By my measurements the watch is 43mm in diameter, 51.75mm lug to lug with a 22mm lug width and it is only 12.25mm thick. The squashed bronze, grooved, onion like screw down crown measures a large 9mm in diameter and is 3.25mm thick. This crown is extremely easy to operate and doesn’t seem to rub my seven inch wrist, despite its size. The watch’s brushed, tapered, bronze case lugs turn down nicely while the stainless steel case back helps keeps the bronze case from touching the wearer’s wrist. Bronze can react with some people’s skin where it leaves behind a green mark.
The bronze, engraved strap buckle is a rugged design that I have not seen before. The deep chocolate brown crazy horse leather used for the strap on this line of watches only slightly tapers from 22mm at the lugs. The strap has one fixed and one loose loop with a very appropriate white stitching while the back side of the strap is primarily black. Six rectangular adjustment holes in the strap finish it off. This is a rugged, yet very comfortable strap made of a softer and more flexible leather than most that does not seem to be prone to cracking.
The watch has a pilot’s face with a couple of neat details normally not found on this type of watch. The movement is a Time Module/Seiko SII NH37A which is a nice alternate to the more popular NH35A by having a 24 hour subdial with white markings at 10:30. Specifications of the NH37A are virtually the same as the NH35A. There are eleven Arabic numerals in the face itself with the 11 partially cut off by the 24 hour subdial. The second track surrounding the face along with the rectangular hour markers and the triangle at 12 o’clock are all done perfectly. The 24 hour subdial makes setting the 3 o’clock date window that much easier. When combined with the matte and sanded face finish and caramel lumed indices, this watch has far more character than most pilot watches.
The slightly raised, caramel framed 3 o’clock date window is moved toward the center of the dial to help preserve the face’s balance, something that I rarely see. The only flat caramel printing on the watch face is the brand name and “AUTOMATIC” on the lower portion of the dial. The brass Leaf design used for the hour, minute and subdial hands are nicely filled in with the same Superluminova as the raised indices on the face. In addition, the second hand’s Superluminova filled, elongated diamond tip is framed in orange, which makes it more visible. The best part of this watch face is at times it appears to change color, depending on the lighting.
Overall, I feel that this is a very well done and unique larger bronze pilot watch. I would like to see Aquatico offer an additional model line of this watch in a smaller 40mm size, but I don’t think the 24 hour subdial would work as well with a smaller watch face. If you like well built, finished and designed bronze pilot watches, I highly recommend you consider the Aquatico Bronze Blue Angel watch line. Aquaticowatch.com $279.
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.