Today we have a Szanto Big Aviator watch in for a review. I have wanted to review a Szanto watch for some time now, it was actually one of the first microbrands that I discovered. They basically make vintage inspired watches. Today in for a review we have their Pilots watch which is actually a pretty impressive watch for the price.
The Aviator line consists of a few different models but for this review I will focus on the 6104, which is the stainless steel, green dial option. The Aviator has a full retail price of $325 USD for non-coated models and $350 USD for pvd coated ones. The Prices in my opinion are quite fair and you get a lot of watch for the money! The watch came in a rectangular cardboard box, I actually would make the box more appealing as right now it is a bit booring. I saw on some other reviews that Szanto previously shipped it in a very nice wooden box, but also the price was a bit higher, so I guess they made the sacrifice to make the watch a bit cheaper for us, the customers.
The watch case is made of 316L stainless steel with brushed and bead blasted finishing. Case is very well made, with great finishing on the case. The case measures 46mm in diameter, from lug tip to lug tip measurement is fairly massive at 54mm and the thickness is 13mm. Even though the watch only weighs 103 grams, on the wrist it will wear quite big, although due to weight it won’t feel like a giant rock on the wrist. With an over-sized watch, an over-sized crown shouldn’t be a surprise. The Aviator comes with a massive 11mm “onion” style push pull crown located on the 3 o’clock side of the case. Since the crown is quite large, it is extremely easy to grasp and engage. The exhibition screw in case back ha a mineral K1 crystal with a black printed Szanto logo on it from the inside. On top we have also the flat mineral K1 crystal. I think this is the only problem of this watch, if they switched it for a sapphire crystal, It would be the perfect pilots watch! The water resistance is 100m which is pretty good, but I wouldn’t go swimming with it as it doesn’t have screw-in crown.
The dial on this watch is pretty cool actually, I’m a big fan of these big bulky fliegers as the dial is always really legible and you can always read time very easily because of the big/bold dial! The dial variant that I chose is the green one which I think looks the best of all! Plus I have seen a trend of green watches becoming more and more popular, that I guess is because of the Rolex Submariner “Hulk”. The dial is matte green colour with cream lume on arabic numerals on the dial and the hands. Around the dial we have a white printed minute track. The printed arabic numerals are very bold and big, so time reading is super easy. At 9 o’clock we have a big 24 hour subdial with marking printed in white colour. I usually don’t like these subdials, but on this watch, it actually looks pretty good, just makes the dial a little busy, but not that it ruins the legibility of the dial. At 3 o’clock we have a date window with black date wheel which is pretty cool as most of the companies would just leave it white, and I think if the dial is darker, the date wheel needs to be a dark colour too. At 12 o’clock we have the Szanto logo printed and at 6 o’clock “Automatic“, I think all the printwork should be cream, but I guess their designer went with two different whites. The “Automatic” at 6 o’clock seems a bit too much in my opinion, I don’t get why smaller companies and also some big established companies still put that on the dial as it is already understandable what movement it has. Either leave it blank or put like the watch name on there or something other than movement type. The hands are cool vintage looking hands that remind me the old soviet tank clocks. The lume is Super Luminova, it glows in the dark a bit, but it lacks the longetivity, it lasts for about 20min and then goes away, even when fully charged. Although I have read on some reviews of this watch that it lasts for hours.
The movement inside the watch is a reliable 21 jewel Miyota Automatic 8217 movement. The 8217 provides the 24 hour complication and is slightly more decorated than a Miyota 8215. While the Miyota movements are one of the best in the market of affordable movements, this one lacks some things like the hacking feature and the sweep second hand can be fairly choppy similar to the 8215. If I was Szanto I would actually go for a bit higher end Miyota movement to get the hacking feature and get rid of the choppy seconds hand. Otherwise the movement has been keeping a pretty good time at +15 seconds a day which is fairly good for these movements. Of course with some tinkering you can get it running even more precise, but I usually don’t suggest doing that because the watch just doesn’t cost that much where you want COSC quality timekeeping.
The strap looks fairly standart, nothing out of the usual. But when you see it in real life it actualy feels pretty premium! The strap is dark green with white contrasting stitching. The leather is very supple and soft to touch. The strap is very comfortable on the wrist. Srap has a slight taper with 24mm at the lugs and 22mm at the buckle. The tang style buckle is made of 316L stainless steel with satin brushed finishing and signed with Szanto logo.
Overall I really like the watch! As you (my readers) probably know, I like vintage style watches a lot! My favourite things on this one is the dial, hands and crown. The watch is very well built and the price is really good too at just 375$! The only thing that I don’t like is that it lacks sapphire crystal and maybe a bit better movement as the microbrand market right now is so saturated with watches that you can find just as cool watches as this with a sapphire crystal and with a better movement, sometimes even Swiss made movement. Nonetheless Szanto nailed it in looks department and If I would be looking for a good Pilot’s watch, I would get it. People always ask me what should they buy and I suggest them many watches, but in the end I always say: “If you like it, buy it, these are just what I would buy”. You just need to understand that I’m here to review the watch and say my opinion and not always the watch is 100% and that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it! This one I like in the looks department, so I would get it, even with it’s “small” flaws.
- 46mm 316L Stainless Steel Case with Brushed and Sandblast finishing
- Exhibition Caseback
- Japan Automatic 21 Jewel Movement with 3 Hands & Date
- 24 Hour Subdial
- Super Luminova “Radium” Color Fill on Hands and Indices
- Oversized Onion shaped Push Crown
- Hardened K1 Mineral Crystal
- Dial with Arabic Numerals
- Genuine Calf Leather Strap with Signature Szanto SS Buckle
- 100 Meters Water Resistant