There’s no lack of aviation-inspired watches out there, so for one to stand out, it really needs to be something unique. The CJR AIRSPEED presents modern design with a retro concept. We took elements from the 17th century and executed it with a modern touch. Perfect for trendsetters who are looking to experiment with new styles, the CJR AIRSPEED is a handsome watch that will get attention due to its unconventional layout with an accessible cost of entry. Featuring a beautifully curved case and regulator dial, the CJR AIRSPEED speaks to vintage watches, but looks and feels like a modern sculpture on the wrist. Inspired by a love of aircrafts, watches, and all things mechanical, the CJR AIRSPEED is made to resemble the dials on an airplane dashboard.
Rather than a simple replica of a vintage piece, the CJR AIRSPEED is a modern interpretation that stays true where needed for a genuine look. Furthermore, we offer two styles in Pilot and Vintage models to cater to distinct styles of different wearers. This watch blends diverse aviation influences together with a Miyota automatic heart, a display case back, and is available with either nylon or leather straps, or a mesh bracelet. With prices starting at $329 (early bird pricing) on Kickstarter, we think this watch stands out from the pack.
The CJR AIRSPEED measures 43.0 x 48.0 x 14.7mm with 20.0mm lugs. The case has a seamless pebble-like shape that, while reminiscent of the Ressence Type 5, has an overall different feel. The high-domed Hesalite crystal, which rises proudly above the case, adds a bit of distortion around the edges while giving the impression of the case having no sides. It’s a real pleasure to turn it sideways and watch the crystal act like a funhouse mirror across the features on the dial. On the right side is a smooth 6.5mm push-pull crown. Aesthetically, it works with the watch’s overall proportions.
While sapphire can be milled to be the same shapes as curved acrylic, the look just isn’t the same. Needless to say, Hesalite is a component that adds a lot of value to the watch. Time has no secrets here, since the automatic movement is always on view through an exhibition, dome-shaped Hesalite case back when the CJR AIRSPEED is flipped over. The rotor then features Côtes de Genève decoration on the winding plate and balance cock.
Dial & Hands
With the CJR AIRSPEED, a traditional vertical regulator layout is swapped for a more asymmetric design. This watch uses two registers as a way to increase legibility in what could otherwise be a very busy dial.
The watch offers classical characteristics of aircraft instruments: a detailed dial with distinctive vintage Arabic numeral lettering, color-coded airspeed markings on the second sub-dial, trademark navigation triangle, and hands covered with Superluminova lacquer to guarantee a perfect reading during night. All of the time functions on the pilot version are lumed, while the ones on the vintage are not. The lume has a pale green color when on the dial, almost the same as lightly-yellowed tritium, though it glows a minty green.
The hour sub-dial consists of distinctive vintage Arabic numeral lettering. The surface below this area has a fine circular cut-out around it, setting the whole hour sub-dial apart from the rest of the dial while also providing an attractive detail. The hour hand may be a tad short, but it’s still legible. On the outer edge of the dial, there are minute indexes with numerals at intervals of 5 and lines for individual units. The minute hand extends out to the very edge of the case, allowing for precise (to-the-minute) time telling, as it’s right against the hash marks on the outer edge.
At 4 o'clock is a sub-register for the 60-second counter, which is dressed up a bit, featuring a surface of circular cut-out. The red, yellow, and green arcs are reminiscent of the airspeed indicator on an airplane instrument, with red, dark gray, and light gray arcs on the Vintage version. At 3 o'clock there is a date window showing a white date disk with black lettering. For such a small area, there is actually quite a lot going on. Luckily, it’s just enough space to let everything breath.
Just because the dial is more complex doesn't mean CJR gets to relax the detail a bit - it's got the company’s logo in silver at 1 o’clock with the model’s name “AIRSPEED” inscribed in white. Judging by the shallow x-mark on the head, the screw above the date window could be purely for adornment.
A note on the Vintage version: The hour and minute hands are silver swords with pointed tips, thus they appear less visible against a beige background and might compromise the readability of the watch. What it needs is a pop of color to the elements to increase legibility.
At the heart of the CJR AIRSPEED is the automatic Miyota 8219. Apparently, Miyota’s workhorses have been the go-to of late for microbrands across the board. How is the Miyota on the wrist? Good. Yes, this is a Japanese movement, and would I have preferred it to be a Swiss ETA? I would, but I won't criticize this decision at all because, after all, its use here is certainly more in line with what one would expect from the price. Beating at a satisfactory 21,600bph, the 21-jewel 8219 provides a smooth second hand sweep, adding to the regulator dial as well as ensuring dead-on accuracy. Power reserve is 45 hours.
Straps & Wearability
The CJR AIRSPEED comes with either a nylon strap, an Italian genuine leather strap, or a Milanese bracelet. The leather is thick but supple, and the strap tapers slightly towards the buckle for a more comfortable wear. On the Milanese bracelet, the watch takes on a slightly sterner look that might fit better in a formal setting. But in the summer months, a nylon slip-through should do the trick. Think white tees, Keds, and jeans - a casual look is the CJR AIRSPEED’s forte.
The pin buckle has a nice, angular design, picking up some cues from the lugs, and curls down in such a way as to perfectly hug the wrist. The watch definitely wears very well. Along the edge of the case is a colored inner ring surrounding the dial, done in a turquoise color on the Pilot version and red on the Vintage one. It is actually a gasket, creating a seal to prevent water entrance. It’s a very cool application that hasn’t been done before, one that makes the watch fun to wear in any situation.
Available in Pilot and Vintage, we invite you to take a look at our Kickstarter page to learn more about the CJR Airspeed watch. Once again, Kickstarter prices begin at $329.
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