Who doesn’t wish they were a pilot from time to time? Confident, intelligent, authoritative, and well-traveled, pilots are the envy of many a cubicle dweller these days. So it makes sense then why pilot watches are so appealing. At least for the fleeting moments you are glancing at it, you can absorb some of that glamour.
The Citizen Eco-Drive AW1361-10H Avion throws in the added allure of the “good ol’ days” by incorporating 1950’s styling cues, making this a watch for those who want to add a bit of adventure and class to their personal style. Overall this is a classic-looking piece, with the dark brown leather band, steel case, and dark dial.
Elegant But Large Case
Measuring 45 mm in diameter and 12 mm thick, the stainless-steel case features a mineral dial window. A large crown on the right-hand side brings the width up to a huge 50 mm, so be warned that those seeking an average- or small-sized watch should look elsewhere. From certain angles, the bezel’s unique design almost makes it look like a pocket watch was strapped to the case. I find this an interesting and appealing aspect of the style, and it goes well with the retro aesthetic.
Water resistant to 100 meters, this watch is not recommended for diving, but you can be sure it will survive everyday activities such as swimming, showering, hand-washing, and so on. A globe is etched onto the back of the case, adding to the aviation theme of this watch.
1950’s aviation styling with modern flourishes like orange accents adorn the dark charcoal-colored dial. The dial has several concave layers, giving the Avion an interesting sense of depth. In fact, that is probably my favorite stylistic aspect of this watch as it brings to mind old aircraft gauges. The date display at the 3 o’clock position uses a handsome retro font.
I personally find that the orange accents, especially on the hour hand, are a bit too strong and detract from the overall theme of the watch. The second hand, black with an orange tip, is so thin that it takes me a couple seconds of staring at the watch to locate it. Turn off the lights and the luminous hour and minute hands glow blue, but only stay bright for about 30 minutes before growing dim and difficult to see. Also, because the numerals are not luminous, some may find it difficult to tell the exact time while in the dark.
One of the most striking features of this watch is how the minutes are displayed most prominently, in a white font on the outside of the dial. The 12-hour numerals can be found within the minute numerals, presented in a smaller, orange font. The 24-hour numerals are displayed within the hour numerals, shown in a white font. It might strike you as odd, but this isn’t just an arbitrary style decision on the part of Citizen; it harkens back to the German aviation tradition during World War II, where the minutes were displayed this way because they were the most vital measurement in pilots’ navigation calculations. These Flieger watches used during the war were considered part of the airplane’s instrumentation and were so important to their mission that they stayed with the plane rather than the pilot.
The Avion watch uses a Japanese Quartz Eco-Drive J810 movement. Eco-drive is, of course, famous for drawing power from any type of light source, not just sunlight. If you only plan on wearing this watch occasionally, don’t worry: It can run for over 6 months in the dark on a single charge. Citizen guarantees the watch for 5 years, so you can be confident that it is well-made and reliable.
The Avion uses a 22-millimeter-wide leather band with contrast stitching and a buckle closure. Although it is an attractive band that goes well with the style of the watch, one downside is that it is very thick, making it difficult to run the strap through the buckle. Another problem is that the band is fairly short, so those with larger wrists might find that they have to use the last hole or it might not even fit at all. These issues could become a major annoyance for some buyers, although swapping it for a different strap of your choosing is always an option.
Even if it doesn’t bring to your mind scenes of soaring over the Atlantic in a 707, the Eco-Drive Avion makes for an attractive watch, as long as you are comfortable wearing fairly large watch. Interesting to look at without drawing too much attention to itself, it sets an elegant mood that would be at home in a 5-star hotel or a sports bar. With some retailers offering substantial discounts, this watch represents a good value as well.