MATWATCHES AG8 UTC PILOT

The MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot features a dual-time function, robust construction and Swiss movement, all delivered at a very attractive price point.

This detailed review of the MATWATCHES AG8 UTC PILOT includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Image of MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot

Ever since the late Sir Freddie Laker unveiled his transatlantic ‘Skytrain’ service in the 1970s, the notion of low-cost air travel has grown in popularity. Today, there are numerous companies offering flights to European cities, often for a fraction of the cost proffered by the established national carriers.

The idea of low-cost flights, where some of the extraneous benefits are stripped away and merely the essentials are retained, shares some similarities with the MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot. The French based watch company has established a niche, crafting watches equipped with the essentials, imbued with a dose of military robustness and delivered at remarkably keen prices.

The MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot incorporates a Swiss-made automatic movement and features a dual-time or GMT function. Moreover, there is another smile inducing accoutrement, namely two additional straps to bestow an alternative appearance to said watch. With a highly competitive price of £1840 (RRP as at 30.1.2017), the question has to be, ‘How good is this watch?”

The dial

The dial is a presented in nocturnal black and the hours are denoted with a combination of bold, neoteric, white Arabic numerals and square or rectangular markings. The contrast of white detail on black markings augments ease of read off and subscribes to a convention which has worked for years. Indeed, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

Image of MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot

The hour and minute hands are plump and, once again, white. They display the local time with aplomb. A central sweep seconds hand, with a pronounced tip, stays true to the white colour scheme.

This is a dual time, GMT / UTC watch, featuring a prominent orange hour hand for displaying the hour at home. I cannot think of many watches with this feature which include a Swiss automatic movement, all handsomely packaged for £1840. The GMT hand is paired with a 24-hour scale which is presented on a two-tone, day / night dial flange. Interestingly, I initially found the location of ’24’ at 6 o’clock to be counterintuitive, but with increased familiarity the scale became natural to use and did not present a problem.

Above 6 o’clock is a date aperture. Again, the white on black detail proves highly legible and simple to interpret.

The case

Measuring 44mm in diameter, the case has the potential to prove too large, however, as the crown is on the left hand flank of the case it proves highly agreeable. Nuzzling the crown are two crown protectors which exude an air of sturdiness, but not to the detriment of wearer comfort.

Image of MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot

A reoccurring theme with this timepiece is solidity. Everything looks as though it is tough enough to shrug off all potential hazards without suffering any harm. The 316L steel case is satin brushed, lending it to careful post impact polishing in order to remove any superficial marks.

Image of MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot

The unidirectional rotating bezel features a scale formed of small recesses and, in so doing, creating strokes and Arabic numerals. The bezel turns with a positive clicking action, exuding an air of quality.

Unlike many modern watches, this timepiece eschews the de rigueur exhibition caseback in favour of a solid caseback, in this instance adorned with a winged emblem. Probing the underside of the case with a curious, outstretched index finger reveals a slight sharpness to the lugs, however, this does not present a problem when the watch is worn.

Image of MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot

As previously mentioned, my press loan came supplied with three straps as standard. I wore the watch with a tan coloured leather strap and found it afforded excellent levels of comfort. The holes in the strap are rectangular, helping to mitigate distortion with the pin. Indeed, the pin has a flat end rather than a round end, helping to maintain the showroom fresh condition of the strap. The watch is supplied with replacement spring bars, along with a spring bar tool.

The movement

While MATWATCHES is a French concern, the movement within this timepiece is most definitely Swiss. The AG8 UTC Pilot incorporates the Calibre ETA 2893-2, a tried and trusted movement which requires little explanation.

The balance oscillates with a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 21 jewels. The power reserve is sufficient to deliver 42 hours of autonomous operation.

Owing to the solid caseback it is not possible to comment on the quality of the movement finishing.

Closing remarks

The MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot is not the most luxurious watch I have tested but it is one of the best value offerings I have encountered for some time.

The dial is simple and easy to read. The case is robustly constructed and proves comfortable to wear and the movement is a tried and tested Swiss calibre of great renown. While some of the niceties of  costlier watches are missing, this watch triumphs by delivering the flight essentials of a pilot’s watch at sensible money, making it worthy of consideration.

Technical specification

  • Model: MATWATCHES AG8 UTC Pilot
  • Case: 316L stainless steel; diameter 44mm; height 15.5mm; water resistant to 20 bar (200 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; seconds; date; GMT
  • Movement: Calibre ETA 2893-2; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 21 jewels; power reserve 42 hours
  • Strap: Supplied with three straps all on pin buckles with strap changing tools
  • Limited Edition: 150 pieces
  • Price: £1,840 (RRP as at 30.1.2016)

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