After an initial attempt at a somewhat generic dress watch, Indian brand Bangalore Watch Co. smartly pivoted to sportier watches inspired by Indian culture and history. The result has been a string of releases that overtly celebrate the brand’s country of origin, from cricket to India’s space program. I’ve had the good fortune to experience models from each of the brand’s collections, and I’ve always been impressed. The latest entry into the brand’s expanding catalog is the MACH 1 Silk Scarf, which honors women in Indian aviation, taking particular inspiration from Sarla Thukral, who in 1936 became the first Indian woman to obtain her pilot’s license — but don’t mistake this for a women’s watch.
The MACH 1 Silk Scarf remains faithful to the MACH 1 platform, which has moved onto its second generation since we reviewed the debut model almost four years ago. The case has been downsized from 42mm and 11mm thick to 40mm and 10.8mm thick, with higher caliber finishing and an added polished chamfer along the length of the case. The original models also had a rounded bezel, whereas the Gen 2 features brushed and polished bevels to achieve the same slope from the flat sapphire crystal to the midcase. What remains the same is the 100m water resistance and one of my favorite elements of the MACH 1, the pull-out crown modeled on the afterburner of the MiG jets used by the Indian Air Force.
With the above dimensions plus a 46.5mm lug-to-lug, I found this watch to wear very well on my 7-inch wrist. The curve of the lugs and the overall form make it easy and comfortable. The included leather strap is a bit thick and stiff out of the box for my liking. At this point, I think plenty of brands have shown that you can deliver a high-quality strap that requires little to no break-in, and anything else needs to be rethought. For its part, when I brought this up with the brand, owner Nirupesh Joshi told me the strap is a work in progress. Yes, it’s finalized for the MACH 1 Silk Scarf, but he and his wife Mercy recognize that it could be better and they’re working on an improved offering for future models. From my experience, I know the brand can deliver here: the strap on the Cover Drive was excellent.
If it weren’t glaringly obvious, the big change for the MACH 1 Silk Scarf is the dial, which is now rendered in a soft pink the brand is calling “Aerobloom.” The pink dial brings a lightness to the watch that was missing even on the bright Officer’s Blue edition. I’m a big fan of the applied logo at 3 o’clock (the logo and brand name used to be separated by a day-date display on the Gen 1), and at 9 o’clock, the Indian Air Force fin flash sits next to the model name; both of these add a bit of character to the watch. The simple hands are filled with Super-LumiNova C3, and the pips around the minute track are, too. While the numerals on the Silk Scarf are raised and printed in black, on the standard models, they show up as 3D printed lume. Against this dial, though, pure lume would get lost. One of the changes to this model from the existing Gen 2 is the shift to a rectangular date at 6. The standard model has a circular window that’s too small and leaves the date cramped. Adding one last dash of color is a red-tipped seconds hand, though it’s a bit clashy against the pink. Overall legibility remains excellent in all conditions, though perhaps the seconds tip could’ve been matched or some other light color.
The MACH 1 Silk Scarf remains powered by the Swiss automatic Sellita SW200-1, a movement we all know. With an average 41-hour power reserve of 28,800 vph, this is arguably one of the most popular Swiss movements in production. It’s hidden behind a solid caseback upon which the eponymous silk scarf sits in relief.
Now’s as good a time as any to discuss price. The MACH 1 Silk Scarf is around USD 1,050, depending on the exchange rate. I can’t say exactly when, but the brand has increased its prices across its catalog, with bumps from about $75 to $250, depending on the model. BWC is not alone in having done so, and the move brings the entire catalog above the $1,000 mark. While there are plenty of contributing external factors that likely commanded a price raise, there’s also the reality of market positioning, and making sure your entire catalog sits above $1,000 sends a message. In my opinion, the existing prices don’t create any issues, and the watches still deliver solid value.
This is not a women’s watch, as you may have been led to believe by the dial color. Nowhere in its copy or marketing has BWC asserted that this watch is made for women, and other than a pink dial, there are none of the stereotypical changes to the MACH 1 model that we might expect from a brand looking to make such a watch. It’s quite clear that the brand has been thoughtful and intentional in positioning this simply as a celebration of women Indian aviators, rather than a model that’s made for women. Certainly, the brand already has a fairly wide array of colors in its models: blues and browns, yellow and green. This simply expands BWC’s chromatic repertoire, and if some women happen to find it appealing, I think the brand is just fine with that. For me, it’s a lovely pink watch. The Bangalore Watch Co. MACH 1 Silk Scarf is priced at $1,050 USD. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.