Breitling Aerospace – re-post!

Thought I’d re-post this after 20 years of ownership (first Posted in 2013, bought in 2000) in reference my Breitling Aerospace as a reminder of how good this old watch was and still is.

Just realised the other day that I’ve never actually posted about my favourite daily beater I’ve worn for the last 15 years.  My 1999 Breitling Aerospace Titanium that I bought when on business in Glasgow.  After some lunch I happened to be strolling past a jewellers and there it was and I simply loved it – went in with no hesitation and bought it.  And I still think it was and still is the best and most practical watch purchase I ever made.

1999 Aerospace - a classic

1999 Aerospace – a single crown chronograph classic

Now some folks think Breitling watches are big, flashy and cumbersome, but with this model nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s titanium, it’s very light and unlike many of today’s current crop, it’s very slim at just 9mm in depth and a case diameter of only 40mm.  With the matching titanium solid link bracelet it’s quite a combination.   It slips unobtrusively under a shirt for dress occasions but also is the business when it comes to everyday wear – AND it’s probably a statement too.  This particular version has a quite subtle dial green colour with high contrast numerals and markers.

On the wrist - perfect. After 15 years it needs a clean!!

Taken today – On the wrist – perfect.  After 15 years it needs a clean!!

Dial wise – Clarity is all with this watch – the date is the clearest to read of any watch I know with an excellent anti-reflection coated flat sapphire crystal – and slim hands with the so very clever extension of the minute hand over the centre pivot, which makes it so clear when reading the time – plus a nigh on perfect and understated luminous capability at night – it’s about as good as any watch can get in my opinion.  The top bezel is click set in two directions and is Titanium as the rest of the watch ensemble. ( Yikes! – these darned close ups – just noticed how dirty it is after 15 years of almost continuous wear ).

Titanium at it's best case and solid link (diver extendable) bracelet.

Titanium at it’s best case and solid link (diver extendable) bracelet.

The twin digital display is perhaps one of the clearest I’ve ever seen.  It is bright in all light conditions and has a built in fluorescence that makes the numerals stand out perfectly.  The lower display shows everything you need – either set as shown with Day and Date, Date and Seconds, or Seconds, Alarm time, Chronograph, Current or Dual Time and Timer – the upper display shows which feature is set.  I usually have it set as shown with Day and Date and rarely use the other features, though the Dual Time can be useful on holiday as can the Alarm though these days I prefer a vibration alarm however – the old hearing is going!

And this particular version is also what’s called a “minute repeater” – this provides a sonic indication of the hours and minutes simply by pressing on the crown, when the watch display is either showing the neutral (blank digitals) or the local time display, the seconds-date display or the day-date position.  Great when I bought it, but these days I don’t hear too well, so not such a great thing.  😦
Another aspect of this watch is the fact that even with all these functions, it only has a single crown, the operation of which has always been perfect.  The usual chronograph style pushers and buttons are quite superfluous and is the feature I prefer most over all other chronograph models.

I said that clarity was terrific on this watch and this is it shown against some of my other models as a comparison –

The clearest of them all!

I think the Breitling (left) – is the clearest of them all!

The Breitling on the left shows just how good the anti-reflection coating is and how clever the hands/display clarity actually is and note how the digits stand out – it always impresses me!  The Citizen Attesa in the centre another favourite  is also pretty good but none can compare when doing the quick glance and reading the date.

Another good point about this Aerospace – it’s actually gone up in value – so a good buy and a good investment.  Not that I’ll realise any profit of course ‘cos it ain’t for sale!  The profit for me is the sheer pleasure of wearing what has to be my favourite watch.

However, as with everything, there’s always something I find annoying.  With this watch, if it needs a battery change  (shown by the digits flashing), which on this model is well over 5 years I’ve found, Breitling recommend sending it to them.  But this is expensive, though in fairness I did this the first time it needed a battery and they changed the face and whatever else, cleaned it and so on, so perhaps was worth it.
But today (yesterday actually 10/05/2020) I simply snapped off the back, changed out the 977 battery, ensured the back was replaced with the correct positioning of the round depression inside the back plate above the battery, snapped the back on again, then reset the date, month, day, time etc.

And that is my annoyance.  The fact that the single crown is tricky to operate.  The Months adjust with a fast spin of the crown as do some other adjustments, others are with a slow turn and frankly the fast spin is very, very difficult to manage. This is done with the crown out, but even in this position there is very little to grip – so a fiddly thing to do – and I don’t like it! It’s easier if rub rub a finger along it to spin it quickly, but this does put undue sideways pressure on the spindle and I don’t like that either.  So not one of their best ideas.

But that said, fortunately, I shouldn’t have to do it again for another 5 years, so that’s the good part. Leap years have to be accounted for, but OK I can live with that.

Why did I get that?

Often in my collecting life I’ve wondered that title question – Why did I get that?

What on earth possessed me to go out and buy that specific watch?  Was it because I just liked the look of it, or perhaps I wanted an example of that type of model.  Maybe it had a feature or function I was particularly interested in or could it be it was one of those milestone watches.  Or one of those models that defines and stretches the technology of the day.

Casio GA1000-1AER-53 Big watch

Casio GA1000-1AER-53
Big watch

So many reasons I suppose and many with some merit I’m sure too, but this one I’ve featured here has to be just a one off, an aberration perhaps.  One of those instances where I just lost it for a minute and did that “no no”, the impulse buy!

Because this watch is quite frankly and on my relatively average wrist – and as we say in the UK – this is one big sod!

Quite overly big in every way, mostly unnecessary too as the function set, whilst OK is nothing particularity spectacular.  Digital Compass, World Time, Stopwatch, Chronograph, Timer, Alarms plus good night lighting it has to be said.  But no Solar and no Radio Control.  Lots of physical protection, though this increases the dimensions so much that the protection is in itself an attractor of damage.  It gets in the way.

One big mother 0 compared to my Breitling!

One big mother compared to my old Breitling!

But that said the watch is amazingly comfortable to wear – it doesn’t feel big as it is so light on the wrist and I like wearing it.

It’s also quite easy to read as the analog is clear, the numerals are large and actually the small digital windows are OK and I can make out the Day, Date, Month without much trouble.  And it’s got a great strap, light and flexible with a twin hasp buckle fitting, though some might find it a little short.  Is that ironic or what on that is after all a big guys watch!

Compared to my old Citizen D060 Windsurfer

Compared to old Citizen D060 Windsurfer

So I took it out of the display box the other day, as I was considering moving a few models, selling them on, to make way to finance a new watch genre for me.
But funny how these things work out, once I had it in my hand then on my wrist, I realized that for some unaccountable reason, I really quite liked it.

In fact that was three days ago and it’s still here on my wrist as I write, so what on earth is this all about?

It’s back to that question – Why did I get that?  Why indeed you may say and with good reason.

It is the very first reason I mentioned at the start of this little blog – I just liked the look of it. Size had nothing whatsoever to do with it, because it just look really good!

What can I say?  A big mother it is, but do I want to move it on?

Mmmm – I’ll have to think on that just a bit longer . . . . . . . and in the meantime I’ll dig out a few of my lesser models and pack them up ready for auction somewhere, though the one I’ve just packed is actually a smart looking watch and you know it looks really good on my wrist . . . . . mmmmm . . . . . .

Note – For anyone interested the manual for this model is – Casio GA1000-1AER-5302(1)

“Squad” Lookin’ back (3yrs)

This is a bit of a reprise which I do every so often.  Taking one of my watch models after a few years of living with me (which is not easy – according to my better half) I have a look to see how it’s held up and the one in question today is my lovely German Laco 1925 “Squad” quartz model (86 2014)

Laco Quartz "Squad" model after 3 years.

Laco Quartz “Squad” model 86 2014 after 3 years.

Looks as good as the day I got it I have to say and is one that does get a fair bit of wrist time as it’s so comfortable on it’s third party Silicon deployment band.

Laco tend to make more Automatic models than quartz, but bang for buck their quartz models really take some beating.  One of the reasons and their are a few, that I like Laco, is their good quality build and choice of movements, quartz or otherwise.  This neat 40mm x 9mm Squad variety has the excellent Swiss Quartz ETA F06.111, tucked away nicely in the very well made and solid brushed stainless steel case with it’s slightly oversize anti-clockwise unidirectional and beautifully milled bezel.  An excellent AR coated mineral crystal makes the dial clarity something special as the matt black is in high contrast to the highly luminous hour markers and Superluminova C3 hands.

Laco Superluminov C3 - simply the best at night.

Laco Superluminov C3 – simply the best at night.

This in fact one of the best luminous watches I own and assisted by the rather long minute hand which makes reading the time at night so easy.  (Breitling managed the same trick by instead extending the minute hand past the pivot point).  The second hand luminous DOT as you see in the image also shows very clearly in total darkness as does the Divers bezel DOT.

The case design is also slightly different in that it features a “bullhead” style, with the screw down crown @12 and cleverly protected by the great articulated lugs, which in turn make this watch easily worn on the smallest wrists amongst us.  I wish others would use this idea as it is so simple and effective.  The Date window @6 is small yet the choice of font and size plus the excellent contrast is surprisingly easy to see.

Water resistance is very good at 200 metres, assisted by the screw down crown.  A luminous dot on the bezel is another typical divers touch.  Though as said I did change the band as the Divers style one wasn’t for me – being too aggressive on the wrist – fine for a neoprene suit but against my old wrist, not so great.  The alternative silicon deployment one is perfect and having standard lug/strap fitting was a simple replacement.

Laco with articulated lugs on the wrist.

Laco with articulated lugs on the wrist.

Laco make fine watches and have done so since 1925 (hence the Logo) and tend more specialist in Pilot style models.  Others do copy, such as the Aeromatic brand but take it from me, not in the same league.  You can find Laco easily with a simple Google search and they have a pretty decent range of models, though to find a quartz one is not quite so easy and as a price to quality ratio they are in my opinion pretty hard to beat.

I suppose this is a testament to the fact that on the whole I do look after my watches, unlike a few friends of mine it has to be said, who sometimes show me their older models and I have to suspect they kept them in a toolbox full of nails!  and shook them around every day! such is the state of them.  Fortunately I never trade with any of them!  😉



Pulsar update (strap)

As promised here is an update regarding the alternative strap arrangement on the Pulsar.  The original strap which is reminiscent of a tyre tread as a wrap fitting at the case lugs – ie – it almost grips the case in a pincer grip.  This in turn causes the strap to push the watch out a little from the wrist, on an already rather thick case.  The strap is also rather hard and stiff which I find a little uncomfortable.

The replacement is a black silicon rubber double ridged 26mm wide and 6.2mm thick at the watch lug end which suits this large watch very well.  It tapers down to 4.4mm thick at the buckle and has highlight yellow stitching which compliments the yellow accent on the pushers on the Pulsar case front.

Alternative 26mm soft flexible silicon buckle strap from Weston Straps UK.

Alternative 26mm soft flexible silicon buckle strap from Weston Straps UK.

This is the first strap of this type I’ve bought and very impressed with it as it is extremely comfortable and now makes the wearing of this large Pulsar just perfect.  Having a relatively small wrist I had to add an additional hole for the buckle to fit, which was easy enough to do.  The only down side is the buckle end is 25mm wide (only a 1mm taper) and the original Pulsar buckle is 24mm (the standard Pulsar strap is a 26mm with a fast taper to 24mm buckle fit, so presently I’m using the 25mm buckle that came with the strap.

Silicon double ridge with yellow stitching.

Silicon double ridge with yellow stitching.

The strap whilst it’s smooth on the outer surface with the twin ridge definition, has a textured surface underneath against the wrist.  Just enough to give added grip without discomfort.

The strap came from a watch supplier new to me here in the UK and that’s Weston Watch Straps and their web site is

They also have a presence on eBay and if you’re struggling to find a strap to suit, they may well be worth a look as they ave a pretty wide range of good quality and sizes available.

Anyway as you can imagine I am delighted with the result and it does solve an issue that many folks have mentioned to me in the past.  And this is especially with large watches and Diver or Military models, as they often provide straps that ,may well look good or even “macho” but when it comes to actual comfort, they seem to have given it little consideration.  Many of the models come with very hard and stiff leather straps or 8mm thickness plus and frankly these are often very uncomfortable in the extreme.  Just make sure you keep the original as if you do come to sell it on, then you can fit it back on the watch – and being unused – the buyer gets a great strap and you get an enhanced price.  Winners all the way.

Underside of the strap is textured gives added grip - without discomfort.

Underside of the strap is textured gives added grip – without discomfort.

Almost but not quite the same as in the old days when you got your first car with leather seats!  The first thing you did was to cover the seats in plastic, to protect them!  2  years later you sell the car and the buyer gets this car with the most pristine leather seats you can imagine – is that not sick or what!  You never even sat in them . . . . . .

OK not the same I know, but with watch wearing – comfort is no small consideration and if the strap is not comfortable – change it.

Last point – This large Pulsar has an added bonus especially if you wear glasses.  This display is so big and clear that I can read the time easily without my glasses on – and you can’t say that with many digital watch displays.  And since I got this not one but two friends I know have already bought the same model – and I bet they ask where I got my strap . . . . .  😉