Aerowatch Les Grandes Classiques Limited Edition
Aerowatch may lack the brand awareness of some large watch brands, however, as Angus Davies explains, its timepieces are worthy of consideration. Indeed, several of its models offer an array of attributes for comparatively modest sums of money.
This review of the Aerowatch Les Grandes Classiques Limited Edition includes live images, specification details and pricing.
My mother-in-law is looking to buy a new car. She has asked for my help with the procurement process. She has clearly stated her requirements, ‘It must be Japanese, have shelves in the front, where I can store things, and a boot, sufficiently large to carry numerous bags of garden waste’. While I appreciate she has specific needs, I do wonder whether she has disregarded some worthy options in the process.
I often receive emails from readers stating they are interested in purchasing a new timepiece. The usual suspects include: Breitling, IWC, Omega, Panerai and Rolex. The question they invariably ask is, ‘Which is the best?’. The answer is complicated and cannot be answered without knowing the individual concerned. What is their profession? Will the watch be susceptible to harsh treatment? Do they intend to dive while wearing the watch or require certain complications? Is the would-be wearer small in stature or, alternatively, of large build? The responses to these questions will strongly influence the decision making process.
Furthermore, I always urge prospective watch buyers to try on a multitude of timepieces as images in magazines or shown on websites are no substitute for a ‘hands-on’ encounter.
Returning to the brands I mentioned earlier, while they all sell impressive watches, they are not the only firms to offer horological excellence. Indeed, similar to my mother-in-law’s automotive prerequisites, sometimes focussing on merely mainstream brands may cause one to overlook a watch that delivers more in terms of design, functionality, readability or value.
Aerowatch, a family-owned watch company based in the Swiss Jura, may not enjoy the brand awareness of Breitling, IWC, et. al, but that does not diminish the virtue of its products. Indeed, having examined its models closely over the years, several of this brand’s timepieces are deserving of praise. A few weeks ago, I grasped the opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ with the Aerowatch Les Grandes Classiques Limited Edition and appraise its specification first-hand.
The anthracite dial is adorned with a sun-brushed motif, evoking areas of light and shade. The hours and minutes are proclaimed with faceted hands, lined with SuperLuminova. Similar to the hands, the indexes are faceted and luminescent. Moreover, the indexes sit above the main dial plane, conferring an attractive depth to the overall composition.
Three snailed subdials fill much of the horological vista. A 12-hour chronograph register is positioned at 6 o’clock, a small seconds display is located at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute chronograph register sits below noon.
Aerowatch has positioned a moon phase indicator at 3 o’clock. The nocturnal sky, incorporating a depiction of the moon and stars, is framed with a crescent shaped aperture, outlined in white. The brand’s nomen and the text ‘Série Limitée’ are positioned beneath the aforementioned aperture. The combination of the moon phase indicator and accompanying text provides a visual counterweight for the small seconds display, augmenting aesthetic cohesion.
A minuterie frames the dial, allowing the wearer to easily read-off elapsed seconds and parts thereof. A hand, featuring a red, crescent shaped tip, points to the date display positioned on the dial flange. This means of indication proves intuitive to use and the scale of the numerals confers peerless legibility.
Measuring 44mm in diameter, the stainless steel case will certainly occupy a significant portion of the wearer’s wrist. Quite simply, this is not a small watch. Notwithstanding this, the lugs are quite short, causing the strap to project sharply downwards and envelop the wrist. Personally, I found the watch comfortable to wear, albeit those individuals of slight build may wish to consider one of the brand’s alternative models.
The crown projects from the case and incorporates a tapered, fluted design. The scale and design of the crown grants ease of manipulation. I have worn watches equipped with similarly designed crowns and found they have chafed or gouged my wrist. Thankfully, I suffered no annoying afflictions whilst wearing the Aerowatch Les Grandes Classiques Limited Edition.
The capstan-like pushpieces sit close to the caseband, assuming a discreet character. However, their restrained appearance does not impair operation and the start, stop and reset tasks can be performed with minimal fuss.
An exhibition caseback affords views of the self-winding movement and the watch is supplied with a quality leather strap, paired with a folding clasp.
The Aerowatch Les Grandes Classiques Limited Edition is endowed with the tried and trusted Valjoux 7750. While this movement could never be described as an exemplar of haute horlogerie, it is known for its reliability and value for money. Indeed, it is for this reason that this Swiss movement, made by Swatch Group subsidiary, ETA, is one of the most iconic movements.
In this instance, the movement within the Les Grandes Classiques Limited Edition has been subject to enhancement. The oscillating mass and the automatic device bridge are embellished with Côtes de Genève motif. Furthermore, a plethora of blued screws enrich the appearance of the movement.
The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 25 jewels. The brand has not stated the power reserve for this watch, however, typically the running time of the Valjoux 7750 is 48 hours.
The focal point of any watch is the dial which, in this instance, is gorgeous. The subtle sun-brushed motif, snailed counters and balanced layout all conspire to seduce the onlooker. But this is not merely a handsome dial, it is also highly legible. In particular, reading the date display proves effortless.
Beyond its alluring smile, the torso of the Aerowatch Les Grandes Classiques Limited Edition is large. This fact may prove an obstacle to some would-be buyers, however, those individuals of larger stature will appreciate the impressive wrist presence this watch confers.
The Valjoux 7750 requires little discussion, its reputation for robustness is legendary and it is widely considered a horological stalwart. Furthermore, Aerowatch has made some enhancements to the appearance of the movement, augmenting its appeal.
As stated earlier, Aerowatch is based in the Swiss Jura, a region synonymous with watchmaking. During my period of association with this chronograph, I was able to readily ascertain the quality of this watch and, by default, the competence of this brand. There will only be 499 examples of this watch, keenly priced at CHF 3,680. Unlike some luxury products, Aerowatch demonstrate that scarcity and affordability don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
This sublime watch demonstrates why shrewd buyers should never restrict their purchasing options to mainstream brands alone. The wisest buyers may well find virtuous products just beyond the horizon.
- Model: Aerowatch Les Grandes Classiques Limited Edition
- Reference: A 69989 AA02
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; water resistance 5ATM (50 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and sapphire caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; pointer date; moon phase indicator; chronograph
- Movement: Valjoux 7750; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800VpH (4Hz); 25 jewels
- Strap: Leather strap with folding clasp
- Prices: CHF 3,680 (RRP as at 11.6.2019)
- Limited Edition: 499 pieces