Name of Reviewer: UKWolfeman
Watch Being Reviewed: Airbatic Pilot Watch
watch donated for review by d.freemont Swiss Watches
Company Website: http://www.dfreemontwatches.com/airbatic.htm
Email: [email protected]
Address and Phone:
PO BOX 417
HOLLIDAYSBURG PA 16648-0417
877- 236-9248 or 814-695-0280
About/History: "The Swiss are legendary craftsmen... all d.freemont watches are Swiss made in truth and by definition. There are many component manufacturers supplying the watch industry in Switzerland, and the choice of suppliers is in the hands of the designer; although, all Swiss components and craftsmanship are at least the best the world has to offer. We, at d.freemont, go a step further to seek out only the finest. Our reputation is important and we share pride in your selection of a d.freemont watch.
Many considerations must be carefully analyzed -the choice of the movement is paramount...technology first. The style, no matter how impressive, must be complimented by the "engine" of the watch. The d.freemont watch is always presented with a full disclosure of the internal parts. We are pleased to inform our customer that we have quality watches utilizing state of the art features, such as low friction movements and synthetic lubricants. Our suppliers must conform to the highest quality standards; standards which we verify throughout the production sequence. We have abandoned the traditional assembly by in-house labor to the more controlled method of contract craftsmen and finishers."
History in regards to the Airbatic: "A tribute to the famous "Citabria®". A pre-war Chief of a different color, the "Citabria®" was first introduced by the Aeronca Champion Aircraft Corp. in the mid 1960's. Their famous Aeronca Champ, a plane in which d.freemont took his 1st airplane ride, was the basis for the souped-up and acrobatic air worthy plane known as the "Citabria®." Citabria® spelled backwards is Airbatic.
The Airbatic “Citabria®” is sacred to d.freemont because of the relationship not only to the creator (df), but also for the relationship it has to famous persons. The Taylor Craft Corp, after a series of buyouts, nurtured this great little airplane into the famous “Citabria®”… derivation of the name is Airbatic spelled backward, now owned by Bellanca Aircraft. The principal engine was a Lycoming, interestingly; df graduated from Lycoming College in Lycoming County, Pa, the site of Lycoming Engine Corp. Originally built in north western Pennsylvania, these airplanes were used in greater numbers as trainers – in fact, df had his earliest training in one.
The death of the world famous airman Steve Fossett in a Citabria® has many thinking about the unusual circumstances, like the great number of pilots lost in what is now called the Nevada triangle. Steve lost his life on a clear day less than 100 miles from his field. Some of his remains were located a year later. Is there any mystery here… df thinks so! The Citabria® is a fully certified Airbatic aircraft with more than adequate power to negotiate excessive winds and turbulence at lower altitudes. The Nevada triangle is now being scrutinized by many associated with recently complied facts about lost aircraft in the neighborhood of Area 51.
You can read more at: http://stevefossett.blogspot.com/2007/09/citabria-super-decathlon-aircraft-steve.html
Stainless steel case
40mm x 9.5 mm
Custom coin edge bezel and acorn crown
ETA 2804 – 17 jewel movement
Water resistant to 150 ft
Italian superb leather strap
Custom leather travel case
Dial – brass base with copper applied markers
Each watch is numbered.
Weight: 59 grams
First Impressions: Elegant and different in appearance due to the markers on the dial.
Case: The case is made of 316L stainless steel measuring 40mm. If you take into account the crown the Airbatic measures in at 42mm. The crown is acorn shaped with a coin edge measuring just under 6mm. The crown is the push/pull variety which is fairly standard on watches of this type. The case is just under 10mm in overall thickness allowing for a very slim appearance on the wrist. The case also measures 46mm from lug to lug making it a really good size for a wide range of wrist sizes. The case finish is all high polish which is fitting for the watch as besides being a pilot style watch it also has a dressy feel to it. I'm not certain it would look as appealing with any other finish. I can find nothing of note or unique about the non crown side of the case to mention for review purposes. The Airbatic case has a very elegant and dressy look overall for a pilot watch.
Bezel, Dial and Hands: Besides the dial features that I will mention later the first aspect of the Airbatic that stands out is the high polished coin edge bezel. The bezel design and finish just add to the overall dressy and elegant appearance of the watch. The bezel is fixed which is fairly standard for similar pilot style watches. The watch is fitted with a flat Sapphire Crystal providing for a dial opening measuring approximately 35mm. I believe the 35mm dial opening provides an illusion of a slightly bigger than 40mm pilot watch.
Beneath the sapphire crystal rest a brass base dial. The dial has traditional numbered dial markings for the most part. The dial markers are all applied and are probably the most unique aspect of the Airbatic. The markers are copper which really amps up the elegant dressy appearance of the watch. The dial markers are not lumed. The other unique feature of the markers is the 7 which has been designed using the d freemont logo. Some may like while others may not but I really appreciate a company branding a watch in a unique way rather than what we see on many watches such as the brand name engraved in the side of the case for example. The company logo is painted on the dial above center and the company name and model below center dial. The dial is also marked Swiss Made below the 6 marker. The hour and minute hands are what I consider baton shaped with a black enamel finish and filled with what seems to be C3 superluminova. The second hand is black enamel and is lumed at the tip. The entire dial is clean and elegant in appearance incorporating unique aspects and I am thoroughly impressed.
Case Back and Movement: Beneath the 23mm opening is a highly decorated ETA 2804 – 17 jewel movement. The movement is highly decorated with Geneva striping and has the d freemont logo and number painted on the main plate of the movement. My guess is the movement is an Elabore grade at the price point offered. I do not know a lot about this particular movement but the second hand sweep seems to be as smooth or even smoother than Unitas movements I have owned in the past. The only aspect I'm not fond of is the movement is non hacking meaning the second hand does not disengage when setting the time. However, the movement is perfect to keep with the overall elegant appearance of the Airbatic.
The Airbatic is also available with an ETA 25 jewel automatic movement if you prefer that variation over the manual movement.
Strap: The stock strap is the only feature of the Airbatic that I find lacking. The specifications indicate the stock strap to be Italian superb leather and while it may be the strap just doesn't feel as good as I would expect for a $1200 watch. The strap measures 20/mm and around 3mm at the thickest padded point. While the Airbatic is designed as a more elegant dressy style pilot watch I believe a more standard style pilot strap with high polish rivets and buckle would look fantastic.
On the wrist: The stock strap was too small to model on my 7 3/4 inch wrist so I improvised. I only had one other 20mm strap in my possession. As I suggested above I would like to see a more standard style pilot strap on the Airbatic. Once I pick something up I will update the review with my findings regarding that aspect. However for now based on what I have available I can report that the Airbatic is very light and comfortable on the wrist. The watch only weighs about 59 grams.
Lume: I know many prefer tons of lume on their watches. I'm not certain pilot watches need a lot of lume, however, d freemont delivers with more than adequate lume on the Airbatic. The hour and minute hands contain lume at their center and the second hand is lumed at the tip. The lume appears to be C3 superluminova and has a strong initial charge. The afterglow last for many hours. Perfect lume for this style of watch.
Summary: I do apologize as photographing the Airbatic was extremely difficult with the high polished finish of the case as well as the reflective nature of the markers but I think the photos I was able to settle on show the very elegant dressy nature of the watch. d freemont has produced a numbered limited edition pilot watch with great specifications from the highly decorated ETA movement, sapphire crystal, lume and other unique design aspects. The watch design makes it perfect for a wide variety occasions ranging from every day use or a night out on the town. I really appreciate all of the design features of the Airbatic and hope that d freemont will look into possibly upgrading the strap options to make the watch even more special and unique. Thanks for reading and as always I look forward to your questions and comments.