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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dear all I would like to share with you my quest for the ”perfect pilot watch” that is giving me quite of a headache.

I have been flying for fun since I was 18 and I had the luck to have very nice watches at my wrist, but unfortunately none of them were close to my own idea of The Perfect Pilot Watch: the aircraft clock A-13A. Basically I was looking for a no frills, large, easy to read dial, central minute counter for my VFR navigation, no tiny sub-dials, no date….a tool working well in a cockpit, not a watch to show to your friends at the bar.
So after many years (and many drawings) I’ve finally decided to design my own watch, for my personal usage.







Updated now,

what I like so far:
· The double coated sapphire is excellent and glare is not an issue
· I’ve tried to put the largest, most visible dial into a 42 mm case and to my eyes it works fine
· I’m happy of the general layout and it’s just Ok while flying.
· Kevlar Cordura strap works very well.

what I do not like:
· The movement Eta 251.264 is far away from the first movement I took into consideration years ago, the Lemania 5100. I will never understand why they dismissed that.
· Setting crown looks too tall and looks “wrong”
· The counterweight of the two central counters look huge. Unfortunately I guess there is very little to do here since the manufacturer specifies for them an extremely low allowable unbalance. Basically their center of mass shall be on their shaft, period. Central counters hands have been the most time consuming problem for far.
· The shade of black of the hands look more matt then the black of the dial and I’m not sure I like it
· The case back engraving doesn’t please me that much. I’m thinking about a much deeper engraving.

Pilots and watch enthusiasts please share your opinions and suggestions with me.
Be careful up there!
 

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That's fantastic, where did you get that done? I would probably without question put a triangle where the 12 is... A nod to the originals ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thank you, that's very encouraging.
A new set of hands is on the away just to see if their black matches better with the dial. I've designed a new setting crow and I'm also thinking to have it engraved with a small symbol. I choose the Greek letter "Alpha" since it represents the angle of attach, the most iconic physic/aviation symbol ... I hope Omega won't take that too badly :):).

Yes, as Ceanag said, I've tried to stick to the C-4699E Mil Spec as much as I could with minor modifications to better fit a wrist watch case.
Too bad I couldn't possibly duplicate the shape of the central minute counter. :-(







 

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Looks great!! I will prefer a date window at 4.00 (maybe red numbers) but I'm not a pilot...anyhow, I'm in if you put it for sale!!

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Love pilot watches, and I really like the direction of this one. Appreciate the dedication to get the details just right. I'm interested. Keep this thread active.
 

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Wow. You've actually managed to make an exciting, fresh design in a sea of pilot watches. Let's get this thing Kickstarted already!

I think the movement choice is totally fine. Keeps the cost down unless you're looking to compete with IWC, Omega etc.

If you don't like the counterweight for the hands (I actually really do!) may I suggests something like the IWC 3717 center seconds. It's a great design that is not quite as bold while accomplishing the same goal.


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Thank you, that's very encouraging.
A new set of hands is on the away just to see if their black matches better with the dial. I've designed a new setting crow and I'm also thinking to have it engraved with a small symbol. I choose the Greek letter "Alpha" since it represents the angle of attach, the most iconic physic/aviation symbol ... I hope Omega won't take that too badly :):).

Yes, as Ceanag said, I've tried to stick to the C-4699E Mil Spec as much as I could with minor modifications to better fit a wrist watch case.
Too bad I couldn't possibly duplicate the shape of the central minute counter. :-(







image.jpeg
 
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As beauty, perfection is in the eye of the beholder. If you can't find it you make it. Good job.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
.... may I suggests something like the IWC 3717 center seconds. It's a great design that is not quite as bold while accomplishing the same goal.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I find the 3717 central second shape incredibly elegant too. The problem I had (it almost made my project fail) is the extremely low mass and unbalance ratio that the two central counters must have in order to pass the NIHS shock test. Here below you can see the manufacturer's requirement from ETA Manufacturing Information pdf

Both hands shall meet a maximum unbalance of 0,057microNm AND the total mass of the hands (including paint and superluminova) shall not exceed 15 micrograms. This translates into a maximum offset of the center of gravity of the hands from the their center of rotation of only 0.38 mm! So both hands need to be fully counterweighted and made in aluminum instead of brass. It has been my largest headache.

In answer to Turbojoly and Gerry question in "Timepiece in the cockpit:pics thread", I've started this project with the aim to make my own watch. I had quite a lot of requests to make a small lot but very honestly I made no evaluation on the matter and honestly I even didn't make any cost analysis. It was not the purpose of my project. Having said that, I think I will first finalize the design (new hands, new crown, new back case...) just to see how close I can get to my original idea, then we'll see.

For whom not familiar with the Aircraft Clock A-13A, you can find it on the bottom right corner of this F-16 cockpit pic.
 

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As an Aircraft Technician for over 30 years and starting out in the Air Force and loving watches I am always looking for the perfect watch to bring what I do to my wrist, and this would be it! There are some that are close like Sinn, Bell and Ross, etc, but this is a mini A13 for the wrist, and truly an original idea. Thanks for sharing, and keep us posted on your project.
 

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Looks great! You're obviously considering making more than 1, right? Depending on price, I may be interested in one for myself. Let me know!
 

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Looks great! You're obviously considering making more than 1, right? Depending on price, I may be interested in one for myself. Let me know!
Yours is a beautiful design.

Among your considerations, it there a UTC movement you would consider?

As a 10,000+ hour pilot, nothing we do requires split second (literally) timing. But, the constant time zone changes make Rolex/Pan Am's design from the 1960's about perfect, but very expensive:

https://www.blaken.com/en/vintage/pan-am-gmt-master

Another watch that has the same information, well presented is the Bulova Astronaut

OFT1028A.jpg
 

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All I can say is: wow :-!

Congratulations on your imagination, technical knowledge, attention to details and energy to finish this very interesting project.

Can't wait to see the final version of the watch.
 
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