November 25, 2013
by Ariel Adams
I see a “project watch” as an item that requires the development of new ways of making a watch, or otherwise several years of effort. Azimuth spent several years bringing the Landship watch to fruition. Much of that effort took the form of making the movement. Inside the watch is the calibre “X-1.” The fancy sounding mechanism is a base Swiss ETA that has been heavily modified. So while it does technically have an ETA movement inside of it, there is so much modification that it is a unique movement for Azimuth.
Still an automatic, the movement has been modified to display the hours on a spinning cone in the “turret” and minutes via a retrograde display dial at the base of the watch. Azimuth is often inspired by brands such as Urwerk, and I believe a lot of the SP-1 Landship project was inspired by the Urwerk UR-CC1 King Cobra watch (hands-on here). So what is it like reading the time on the Landship? Well you certainly can’t just glance at it. You first need to look at the watch from the right side angle, and viewing the hour is considerably more difficult than reading the minutes. Though, overall it isn’t too bad, and wearing the watch proves more fun than anything else. Though I’m not sure I’d want to wear it regularly.
It is a fair question to ask “what message am I sending by wearing this watch?” I don’t really know. As I began when opening this review, I am very curious about the type of people who would be wearing this watch regularly. To a degree, it seems more plausible that people will purchase it as a pure collector’s item for the merit of the concept and execution. The Landship is of course rare and as part of a limited edition, there won’t be that many. To that extent I understand the collector appeal.
There are people who like collecting classically nice watches, and then people who like collecting oddities. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but for me the world of “avant garde” watches is often much more interesting than that of commercially successful ones. Something like the SP-1 Landship is an item that no major brand would green light for production – and in a way that makes it cool. I mean how would you even market the thing? The closest thing I can think of to it is the Cartier Tank, which doesn’t really look like a tank but is actually named after at least something related to tanks. Want a watch for lovers of mechanized warfare? Has Azimuth got something for you!
Extending the tank theme even further, Azimuth recently came out with an even more limited edition set of SP-1 Landship watches called the Battle Tank Collection, that has a series of these watches painted like actual historic tanks. Again, debuted with much interest in Singapore, the Battle Tank Collection is more focused on lovers of models versus those strictly interested in wearable timepieces.
Speaking of which, how does the SP-1 Landship wear? Well, it isn’t as heavy as it looks being produced in titanium. The case is 44mm wide and 51mm long. The entire thing is nicely curved to wrap around your wrist, but unless you have very large arms, it isn’t going to look elegant exactly. It looks like wrist armor actually, with little indentations that look like rivets in the turret and the actual screws in the sides of the case. The Landship may actually stop a bullet! For what the watch lacks in grace, it does make up for in novelty value.