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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Brief review of a new aviator’s watch -
Made in India with a Swiss heart


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Brand: Bangalore Watch Company

Model: Mach1A (Aviator)

List Price: INR 48,930 (approx $680.00, €615)

Written: August 2019


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When Bhanu Chopra, WUS Senior Editor running www.fliegerfriday.com, went on a business trip to India medio 2019 he came back with a new watch. Don’t take it literally. He did not came back with a watch. But he came back with an interesting story.

Actually he met with Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj, the two founders of Bangalore Watch Company, in Bangalore to talk about watches in general and the Bangalore Watch Company watches in particular.

When Bhanu heard about a new aircraft inspired project (Mach1) his interest in their new project was immediately affected since he loves flieger watches.

To cut a long story short, Bangalore Watch Company sent me their MACH 1 AVIATOR (Mach1A) in stainless steel which I am reviewing here.

About Bangalore Watch Company

Bangalore Watch Company is a small enthusiast-driven watch brand based out of Bangalore, India. In fact Bangalore Watch Company is a „two men show“, the husband and wife team run the brand which debuted in 2018 with their Renaissance Automatic.

The Founders about themselves:

„We are husband and wife team, Nirupesh Joshi (NJ) and Mercy Amalraj, that have called Bangalore home for over fifteen years.
Fascinated by the world of fine watchmaking during our time spent in parts of Asia, we returned home leaving behind our tech careers in Hong Kong to start an Indian origin fine watch brand in early 2017.
A combined two decades of technology experience spanning sales, quality assurance, solutions design, and strategy along with an eye for personal fashion allowed us to quickly pivot into the microbrand watch industry.
We are industry outsiders, and we're proud of the fact.
After over a year of learning the trade, scouting for the best suppliers, design & prototyping, we launched our debut the Renaissance Automatic in early 2018.“

The Renaissance Automatic collection, all equipped with a Miyota 9015, was a set of dress watches in six variations: three dial variants, each encased in a choice of stainless steel or PVD rosé gold. The CNBC verdict in 2018: „Good-looking watch: simple, subtle but extremely well-made.“

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About the Mach1

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The MACH 1 pays tribute to the First Supersonic Fighter Jet of the Indian Air Force, the MiG 21 Type 77.

It’s a modern pilot’s watch that stands out from the Type A and Type B Flieger, while borrowing design cues from the MiG 21 history in the Indian Air Force.

There are five models in the MACH 1 collection, with prices ranging from INR 48,000 ($680) to INR 53,000 ($730).

The watches will be available for pre-order on the brand’s website starting September 10th, and deliveries worldwide will begin in November 2019.

According to NJ the MACH 1 collection was designed and is assembled in Bangalore with components imported from around the world.

The watches feature Swiss Sellita automatic movements (SW 220-1) and are made of 316L stainless-steel , so called surgical steel.

Further features are a sapphire crystal, 10 atm water resistance, fighter-jet cockpit inspired dial, and a deep laser etched MiG 21 design motif on the screw-down case back.

As part of the launch, the brand is also releasing a special edition of 21 pieces named MACH 1X, these will be equipped with dials made of aerospace materials recovered from the skin of a decommissioned Indian Air Force MiG 21 aircraft.

The price of the MACH 1X special-edition is available on request.

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Key data of the Mach1A by Bangalore Watch Company:

+ Case: Stainless steel 316L

+ Case dimensions: 42mm diameter, height 11mm, lug width 22mm, L2L 48mm

+ Crown: Afterburner nozzle inspired design, screw-down crown

+ Water resistance: 10 atm (100 M /660 feet)

+ Movement: Swiss made automatic Sellita SW220-1

+ Power reserve: 38 hours

+ Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Triple anti-reflective coating for extreme legibility.

+ Dial: Matte black, C3 Super-Luminova numerals

+ Hands: Matte black with C3 SL filled hour and minute hands

+ Strap: Seatbelt strap, genuine leather lining, quick-release spring-bar

+ Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle with logo.

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Reviewing the Mach1A

Case and crown

The Mach1A case is made of 316L stainless steel and comes in a brushed finish. It is beautiful made and very solid.

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Imho the 42 mm diameter case looks great even on a smaller wrist (6,5’’’). The short lugs do contribute to easy wear, the L2L is 48mm.

With a height of 11 mm the Mach1A will easily fit with any shirt cuff.

The corrugated screw-in crown, with the Bangalore Watch Company logo engraved on it, is easy to grip and operates very smooth. The design of the crown resembles the look of a MiG afterburner.

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Out of the box you will feel a little bit of friction due to the threading but after some operations the screw-in process will become smoother and smoother, you will always feel when the crown is completely tight.

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The crown itself feels solid enough to overcome thousands and thousands of pull out / push in operations.

The solid case back is screwed in and you get some information about the watch you’re wearing on the other edge.

+ SW 220-1

+ Sapphire

+ 100m

+ 316L

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The inner edge is engraved with „India’s first supersonic Fighter 1963 - 2013 MIG 21 Type 77“. Furthermore and visually more important the casebook is engraved with 3 MiGs in a V- formation.

Movement

This time Bangalore Watch Company chose for the automatic day-date Sellita SW 220-1 to be the „engine“ for the Mach1 line-up.

Specs:

* Diameter 25,60 mm — 11 ½ ´´´lines

* Height 5,05mm

* 28,800 b/h

* 26 jewels

* Power Reserve 38 hrs

* Instantaneous date and day indicator (quick corrector)

* Lift angle 50°

Unexpected for me: The day wheel was in English and French. As you can take from my pics I decided to use the French day indication.

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It's been about 10 days since I first got the Mach1A. Accuracy was pretty good over the time. I noted a middle rate of +8 sec per day. Not bad given the fact that Sellita states a middle rate of 12 ±12 s/d for the standard grade.

This time I had no access to my watchmaker’s timegrapher since he preferred to visit the Baltic Sea. No info on amplitude and/or isochronism though.

Dial and hands

Dial and hands are very well executed and fit perfectly with the other specs in order to give this timepieces an overall military flavour.

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The matte black dial with white numerals (lume: green) is as clean and legible as one would expect from an aviators watch. With an outer minutes circle (05 - 60) and an inner hours circle (13-24) the dial design takes up the Baumuster B design of WWII observer watches. However, it is a distinct interpretation, not just a copy. At 12 you will find a small red triangle, not the usual triangle with two dots but nevertheless somehow a standard Flieger characteristics.

NJ emphasizes: „The design of the MACH 1 is that of a contemporary pilot’s watch, intentionally departed from the style of German Flieger.“

The rehaut features numerals and hour markers from 1 to 12 complementing the 13-24 on the inner-side of the dial.

At 9 o’clock you will find the vertical fin flash of the Indian Air Force. Nothing wrong with that as the Mach1 series pays tribute to India’s first supersonic Fighter 1963 - 2013 MIG 21 Type 77. At 3 you will find the company’s name under the day-date-windows, above the brand’s logo.

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The hands are straight and have the correct length. The minutes hand do reach far enough to make an exact reading of the minutes possible. The seconds hand is nicely tipped in red. The hour/minute hands are filled with luminous compound (Super Luminova C3).

Neither am I a real night owl nor am I a lume freak so as far as I am concerned I think that the Mach1A provides sufficient readability at night.

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Crystal

Of course the crystal is a flat sapphire crystal. New to me was its triple anti-reflective coating the Bangalore Watch Company chose for for extreme legibility. However, I learned that „X“-layers-ar-coating isn’t unusual.

Readability was perfect in whatever lighting conditions. For what it*s worth, it should be noted that the crystal isn’t extremely prone to smudges and finger prints.

Strap and buckle

As already mentioned the Mach1A is fitted with a black sailcloth strap, with genuine leather lining and quick-release spring-bars.

The strap was very stiff for the first 2 days but thereafter it loosened and was comfortable to wear. Our member „mercury66“ experienced the same, see his brief review on our Pilots’ & Military Watches Forum.

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The buckle is engraved with the Bangalore Watch Company’s logo and features brushed finishing on the top side and polished finishing on the bottom.
From NJ I learned that the buckle finish will change in the future. They will change the buckle to an all-brushed finishing to match the case.

Box

The watch comes in a nice pelican-styled tactical box.

Price

Prices vary from INR 48,000 ($680) to INR 53,000 ($730)

Summary/Conclusion

By now I think I’ve said most I want to say about the Mach1A in the previous sections but there’s always room for a closing comment.

Exclusivity is such a relative term. A certain watch company that makes more than 700.000 washes per nano is considered by some to be exclusive. But what about a little company that makes a fraction of this ? The Mach1A is such an exclusive watch. For the price, I do believe that this watch does not have to fear its competitors.

It is a pretty well manufactured and military inspired wrist watch.

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The Bangalore Watch Company has done another excellent job in creating a watch made in India, this time with a Swiss heart.

By any standards, the Mach1A is a pretty well made watch.

The price of approx €615 ($680) does not appear to steep compared to other manufacturers using the SW 220-1 like Sinn, Oris, Mühle, Eterna.

Thank you for reading. If there’s any question left do not hesitate to ask.


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[Royal Air Force Club, Mayfair, London, 128 Picadilly)
 
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