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Hello Friends of Chinese Microbrands,

The goal was to add a Pilot Type A watch to my collection and there are so many (between 200 - 2000 USD) that its not that easy to even say which one is the original.

Additional requirements:
- 42 mm case size
- High-beat movement
- Date that doesn't disturb the symmetry of the dial or no date
- Fully lumed hands, Numbers, Indices

After researching the market I found the Laco Type A Automatic Pilot Watch 861688 but there is no way that I'm paying 400 bucks for a watch with an Miyota 821A (low beat, no hacking, no manual winding). Playing with google image search I ended up with the SAN MARTINs Pilot watch that on paper checks all requirements for ~176 USDs. After reading a handful of positive SAN MARTIN stories and availability of an Ebay coupon I decided to play the Lottery for 149 USDs and get one of these. Here is my impression so far:
- The seller had an issue with his Paypal account so I had to interact with them and communication worked out well
- The watch was shipped to me in less than 2 weeks which is pretty OK for orders from China
- The package contained a small diver case (plastic box) that contained the Watch, Chinese Instructions and a cleaning cloth

Impression after 5 days of use:
- The biggest wow effect is the Lume - It exceeds everything else I have seen in the < 500 bucks category
- Their QC guys have been spot on - there is nothing that immediately annoyed me when comparing to other <500 watches
- The Seagull ST2130 performs exceptionally well (-2 seconds after 5 days) without taking much care at all about position or activity
- There is no AR coating whatsoever which is kind of a downside but acceptable if you consider that the alternatives are 2 times more expensive
- Killer strap watch combo is a blue-gray NATO

I have no idea how long this watch will work but I'm positively surprised and impressed.

Cheers
Mic

sanmartin-1.jpg sanmartin-2.jpg sanmartin-4.jpg sanmartin-3.jpg
 

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I have 4 of these. Two medium blue, and two midnight blue. One is bronze. All of them have been upgraded with ETA 2824-2 Elabores, and two have the the back cases cut out, and Sapphire to see the movements. One is bronze, with a midnight Blue dial. I am hoping to find one more with a medium blue dial, so I can have it put into the bronze. I have had one in everyday use for 1 year, and this is what I can tell you. The case, dial, and glass are first rate, and after spending money to up grade them, they end up at half of what Tourby, and Laco area asking. The movements have been painstakingly adjusted and regulated by the legendary Dan Hodge and Rick Hoover. If you can find a medium blue dial in SS, or Bronze grab it. The Seagull movements are highly accurate, and they will eventually find a home. At under $200, and after an ETA 2824-2, they are a steal. Love them, and sterile dial Type A is easy to read, and beautiful. Keep in mind that case for German and Swiss watches have been coming from Hong Kong, since the 1950's, and they are really making some nice machined watches over in China. These Sunburst Dials catch more eyes than any other watch that I know of.
 

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I have 4 of these. Two medium blue, and two midnight blue. One is bronze. All of them have been upgraded with ETA 2824-2 Elabores, and two have the the back cases cut out, and Sapphire to see the movements. One is bronze, with a midnight Blue dial. I am hoping to find one more with a medium blue dial, so I can have it put into the bronze. I have had one in everyday use for 1 year, and this is what I can tell you. The case, dial, and glass are first rate, and after spending money to up grade them, they end up at half of what Tourby, and Laco area asking. The movements have been painstakingly adjusted and regulated by the legendary Dan Hodge and Rick Hoover. If you can find a medium blue dial in SS, or Bronze grab it. The Seagull movements are highly accurate, and they will eventually find a home. At under $200, and after an ETA 2824-2, they are a steal. Love them, and sterile dial Type A is easy to read, and beautiful. Keep in mind that case for German and Swiss watches have been coming from Hong Kong, since the 1950's, and they are really making some nice machined watches over in China. These Sunburst Dials catch more eyes than any other watch that I know of.
Get Scott,

I purchased one with a midnight blue by mistake, so I gave that one to my girlfriend as a gift and re-purchased a black one for myself. This second time around I went with a different seller, and this watch I believe is brass. I am pretty disappointed with how it looks; the color is very pale and doesn't match the bronze hardware on my nato AT ALL. The previous one matched it perfectly. I talked to Sanmartinwatch directly on eBay before my first purchase, and he did mention they have stainless, bronze, and brass.

This other seller lied and said in the listing it was bronze. Obviously 99% of people would have no idea if they aren't into watches, and especially if they didn't have another one to compare it to like I did. The seller has gone dark (shady China seller), so I'll be going through the hassle of fighting to return this and get my money back. I'll have to re-purchase yet again. Who did you buy from?

What I really want to do is switch the dial out for a Type B. Sanmartin measured for me, and the dial size is 37mm. I talked with Helenarou, and the dials she offers are about 39mm, so it would require cutting and might not work, especially with hands that were made for a 39mm dial. You have any ideas how to go about getting a dial? The only other option for a Type B bronze is an Archimede which is over $1000.
 

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Hi guys,
Have you ohter thought about these watch ?
Does any One have reviewed the 39mm case and NH35 Movement ?
What about the brass aspect since your purchase ?
Can someone take some photos ? Or wristshot ?

Thank you
 
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