Seems to me that looking over my watch collection “black dials box” I appear to have quite a few pilot and military style watches – and here is another one that’s due some wrist time.
This model comes from the value for money German manufacturer “AstroAvia” – the R70SL – there are quite a few models which are similar in general appearance though this is one of their alarm models.
Good solidly built watch with a reasonable quality and a well made case in satin finish stainless 316L steel. Dimensions wise it is 40mm diameter and 11mm height. Lug to lug is approx’ 47mm. The case back is a plain solid screw fit with an internal rubber seal and water resistant to 30m. The crystal is hardened mineral glass.
Interestingly it is supplied with both a stainless steel bracelet AND a padded leather strap which is a useful idea. And this is quite well thought out as the lug strap fixing pins have alternate positions on the lugs to accommodate the two different systems and you certainly don’t see that very often! However being particular about straps and so on I replaced the strap with a Birkenstock Alligator pattern Calf leather and white stitching – as the image above.
This model is Quartz and is powered by the very reliable Japanese Miyota cal OS8O chronograph movement and features 1/20sec timing – an alarm – and an analogue date window @3. Really quite comprehensive for a watch of this price.
The chronograph function displays a 12 hr dial, a 59 min sub-dial and a 59 sec counter and a 1/20 sec sub-dial indicator each sporting a red colored hand.
The dial face is matt black with white markers and numerals and the luminosity is handled by green “Superluminova” coatings. I have to suppose that this “lube paint” is probably the best there is around and it should compliment this clear dial design – though for proper night use “Tritium” would have been my choice, but that’s just a personal thing.
The Alarm feature is simply set unlike some watches firstly by setting the alarm pointer – by pulling out the crown to the first position and turning clockwise to move the pointer to the desired time, then push the crown back in. Next using the small crown control on the opposite side of the watch – pull it out to set the alarm ON – pretty simple. Note there is a small alarm pointer indicator on the dial face to confirm the alarm status. I had a concern the alarm crown control might get pushed back in with movement of the wrist – though I have to confess its never happened yet, so no worries after all. The Alarm indicator hand is red colored with luminous infill at the pointer end which is very clear.
The alarm sounds for 15 seconds, stops for 2 min 45 secs then sounds again for 15 secs etc. which it does several times after that.
The date adjusts like most watches as indeed do the hands setting and so on, so pretty conventional.
The battery is a SR927W or equivalent Renata 399 and there’s also another feature of the Miyota movement where if after a battery replacement or if the hands for any reason get out of synch with each other, there is a chronograph reset function which resets and zeros the hands.
So all in all a pretty good and reliable watch at a very affordable price – around 180 Euros or so and you can see them by using Google search and typing in AstroAvia for the latest data. In fact the whole range of AstroAvia watches represent good value and certainly worth having a look at the range available.
So any down sides?
Well not really – you get a great watch for the money – a good alarm that’s easy to set – a working 1/20 sec chronograph, a watch that keeps pretty good time and with a very reliable Miyota movement. A spare strap and a bracelet included it’s hard to beat.