AstroAvia R7 (R70SL) updated 27th Feb 2011

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.

AstroAvia Alarm Chronograph

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.

Supplied with stainless bracelet AND a leather strap!

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.

Good clear dial considering the functions available.

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.

Categories: Watch reviews

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2 replies

  1. Hi,

    First of all, thanks for the work you put in this blog. I like very much military/pilot watches and I managed to get a few models from Archimede, Citizen and Seiko. Searching on the Internet I found the Astroavia brand and became instantly inlove with the R20SL chronograph from them (found also a picture of this watch from you on the watchuseek forum). I wanted to ask you if you’d be so kind and tell me a little about the quality of this watch. I know it is perceived as a “cheap” brand that’s why I want to know how is the dial quality (the paint, the uniformity of the Superluminova) and also if the crystal is flat or domed. And anything else you like to share about this watch.
    Thanks a lot,

    • Hi,
      The R20SL watch I had I sold on purely as I lusted after another model and settled for having just one AstroAvia in my collection. I find the brand to be an excellent and practical watch (the model R70SL I have has an alarm and is featured here) –
      The dial paint quality is as good as any, the crystal is slightly domed and the case quality, buttons etc and well made. The power is the very reliable Japanese Miyota cal OS8O chronograph movement and features 1/20sec timing – can’t fault it. The lume is as good as most others in this price range (and beyond actually), though for real night work can’t compare to Tritium light source watches as they are obviously brighter and constant as opposed to the diminishing light of Superluminova applied ones. The lume is uniform and looks good and overall the actual quality of the watch is very acceptable.
      The watch in practice (R70SL) is very clear to read – a feature that I particularly require in any watch and looks good on the wrist and is not too large. I don’t think you would be disappointed and they certainly give a decent value for money which can’t be bad!

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