EZA AIRFIGHTER – A TRIBUTE TO THE PAST
(4.5 / 5)
I have reviewed a lot of watches and since i tend to promote originality in fashion, most of the watches have been quite unique. I tend to select the most unusual models from each brand and even the minimalistic watches has something unique about them. But in this review i will be looking at a watch whose value lies in its simplicity and tribute to the past.
In this review i will be taking a close and passionate look at the EZA Blue Airfighter watch, their second model wich also comes with a black dial. Adrian Trampe, the owner, is a watch enthusiast and helped bring this old watch brand to life in 2016. EZA has made watches since the 1950’s, but was hit by the quartz crisis like so many other smaller brands. Luckily, we can now rejoice ourselves with 2 splendid watches, inspired by vintage diver and pilot field watches.
This watch comes in a lovely lacquered black box, worthy of being displayed in your walk-in wardrobe or anywhere else in your house. It says EZA Automatic in silver writing on top and the box opens up, and stays open nicely.
The watch feels heavy and very well built, and you immediately notice 2 things that stand out: The beautiful onion crown and the printing on the underside of the crystal. After being dazzled by those to things, you then start to notice how well the case’s brushed finish looks and the how cool the cross-stitching looks on the leather strap. But i will talk more about those later…
Basically, there was nothing that could disappoint when unboxing this bad boy. But as always, let me go into more detail about the things i like and what i think EZA could have done better.
A closer look
The case and bezel
The case’s shape is somewhat basic, but very well constructed. Every edge feels great under your finger, there is perfect symmetry and i love the way the case extends into the lugs. The lugs look like they are part of the case, and not added on, like many cheaper watches do.
The bezel is also simple and thus fits perfectly into the style of the watch. It is very well machined and reminds me of the bezel on the Rolex Milgauss. I love the polished ring at the base of the bezel which gives the watch some character and distinction.
The brushed finish on this bad boy is simply perfect. When you go through as many watches as me, you start to notice these details. The lines are almost not visible on the metal, meaning it reflects light in a very satisfying manner.
The crown is probably my favourite part of the watch, and something many watch brands get wrong. The onion crown is polished with the exception of the small disc at the edge where the logo is engraved (with great care and depth).
It is however slightly hard to get out to set the time, but i am a compulsory nail biter. Plus, if your crown looks this good, you can get away with anything
The crystal is a flat sapphire crystal with antireflective coating and print on the underside. It reflects some light, but i am far from dissapointed considering the price of the watch and the movement.
What really makes the whole watch stand out is the printing on the interior of the crystal. I had a talk with the owner about this detail, and he said the following:
Yes, I engraved the logo on the inside of the glass because original pilot watches from back in the days didn’t have a logo at all. I think the Eza customer wants to be as close to an original pilot watch as possible, but have the logo at the same time. Engraving it on the inside of the glass is a compromise between being 100% true to the origins of a pilot watch and modern pilot watches. This is also done on the case back because i think it’s nice to know that there is an ETA movement inside, but going back to the original pilot watches, they didn’t have a sapphire glass case back. So engraving the movement on the case back was our last resort.
The dial is very simple but does its job very well. The printing and the lume markers are very crisp and easy to read. Their is only lume on the hour markers, but it sure lights up after being outside for short amounts of time.
After a closer inspection you do realize that the dial is not completely flat, but has a quite large stepped down inner circle. This helps give the watch a little depth and is even more cool when you realize that the hour hand is resting withing it. The hour hand is so close to the dial that it’s literally at the same height as the outer ring. A lovely detail that shows the thought put into to this watch!
The hour and minute hands are classic “flieger” (pilot in german) hands. Also called losange or leaf hands, they are sharp, pointy, masculine and easy to read.
The second hand is also something you commonly see on older pilot watches, with the little losange tail. Most of it is white, making it stand out more in daylight, which is quite nice considering the high beat movement makes it tick in a hypnotizing fashion.
Another thing EZA has nailed are the straps! I chose the cross-stitched leather strap simply because it looks awesome! It reminds me of those old fancy leather chairs you see in old James Bond movies, and brings the same charm to the watch. It also had some slight”patina” on it, which i think looks great and is probably the result of the cross-stitching pulling the leather.
All EZA watches comes with a grey complimentary Nato Strap which should be expected since it is a kind of field watch. The choice of using grey straps is a slight tribute to the past, since the first nato straps ever issued were grey.
When it comes to nato straps, you’ll rarely find better. It has the same lovely strap buckle as the leather strap and a nice thick feel to it. I am also a huge fan of the buckles that holds the strap down. They are thick, rectangular and angled with the same lovely brushed finish as the case and EZA engraved on each one of them.
What could have been better
So what’s could have been better… Well nothing really! If you’re a fan of flieger watches, you’ll get a lot of watch for your money.
My friend, who is a watch enthusiast, did however point out that there are no numbers on the dial. This is apparently something you see on a lot of the simpler pilot watches. I am not an expert on this matter, but i think it would clutter the dial. It would also make the watch more “sportier”, which is a shame since the watch is quite dressy when paired with the leather strap.
This watch is powered by the Swiss Calibre ETA 2824 Automatic, Ligne 11-1/2’”, 25 jewels, 28.800bph, 38-40 hour power reserve. Adjusted by Eza in six positions, this watch keep time quite well ! I see an average loss of 5 to 10 seconds a day.
Eta is well-known for building robust movements with great precision. Also known as THE “workhorse” movement, this machine will surely last a lifetime if properly serviced. There is an endless discussion about what mass-produced movement is the best value for money, but most people agree that ETA are the best in terms of quality.
The price is fair
Considering that this bad boy has an ETA movement, high-end brushed finish and a great build, you get a great watch for 725 Euros (812 USD). An option to choose a low-cost japanese movement could be nice, since many people don’t want to pay extra for the swiss made label (and the quality control that comes with it).
If you’re a fan of vintage watches or pilot watches, this watch will most definitely satisfy your needs. If you’re just fan of watches in general, embracing the simplicity of this timepiece is somewhat relieving. Many watch brands try to stand out with crazy design, and some blatantly copies luxury watch design in the sacred name of homages. EZA does neither, but embraces, with true passion, the tradition for quality watches, while making them affordable for the masses.
I recommend this watch for anyone who wants to buy their first automatic watch, or wants an automatic field watch they can beat up, yet pass on to their future son.