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New Australian Brand Wrist Lore Takes Its Maiden Flight With Blackbird LE Automatic Pilot’s Watch

New Australian Brand Wrist Lore Takes Its Maiden Flight With Blackbird LE Automatic Pilot’s Watch Watch Releases One of the great joys of watching a new microbrand emerge is discovering its take on classic themes and elements. Every new brand has a fresh perspective on the tenets of watchmaking, and newly launched Australian marque Wrist Lore is an excellent example of this. While described by the brand as a pilot’s watch, its freshman release Blackbird LE Automatic boldly blends diver, sports and pilot cues from a wide variety of sources while injecting the watch with a sizable dose of military aviation DNA. The finished product is distinctive, aggressive, and truly one-of-a-kind.

New Australian Brand Wrist Lore Takes Its Maiden Flight With Blackbird LE Automatic Pilot’s Watch Watch Releases

In an age of 38-millimeter vintage reissues dominating the landscape, the hefty 45-millimeter 316L stainless steel case of the Blackbird LE Automatic is a purposeful break from the pack. With an overall case thickness of 14.5 millimeters, the Blackbird LE Automatic projects an imposing presence on the wrist that demands attention, particularly thanks to the tactical-style black DLC finishing. The overall shape of the case is angular, masculine and reminiscent of high-end integrated bracelet sports divers with elements like screw-adorned hooded lugs and a distinctive octagonal chamfered bezel with four decorative finishing screws. At 3 o’clock, the Blackbird LE Automatic sports a massive custom cap-style screw-down crown guard for added shock and water resistance, which the brand claims will reach 100 meters. Around back, the caseback features a sapphire display window showcasing the movements surrounded by the limited-edition serial number and the inscription “Aut Vincere Aut Mori,” which translates to “Conquer or Die.”

New Australian Brand Wrist Lore Takes Its Maiden Flight With Blackbird LE Automatic Pilot’s Watch Watch Releases

The dial of the Blackbird LE Automatic is where Wrist Lore truly shows its colors, allowing its aviation inspirations and unique sense of style to come to the fore. The handset is pared down and simple, with slender baton hours and minutes filled with Super-LumiNova SL-C1 lume complemented by a vibrant red needle seconds, allowing the rest of the design to remain the focal point. The main black surface of the dial is overlaid with a complex latticework of brushed stainless steel bars and crossmembers designed to resemble the cockpit window pattern of the watch’s namesake, the famous supersonic SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.

New Australian Brand Wrist Lore Takes Its Maiden Flight With Blackbird LE Automatic Pilot’s Watch Watch Releases

The cleanly modernist Wrist Lore logo sits atop this latticework at 12 o’clock, rendered in anodized red for an eye-catching pop of color. The hour indices are elementally simple, small DLC steel applied squares that catch the light brilliantly at certain angles. The outer chapter ring adds another touch of personality, with the seconds track from 10 to 20 printed in a bright crimson red that draws the eye back to the maximalist crown guard at three o’clock. Of course, the most distinctive element of the Blackbird LE Automatic’s dial appears at 7 o’clock in the fore of a generously wide open-heart window, offering the wearer a glimpse at the balance wheel within.

New Australian Brand Wrist Lore Takes Its Maiden Flight With Blackbird LE Automatic Pilot’s Watch Watch Releases

The beating heart of the Wrist Lore Blackbird Automatic is a tried-and-true Miyota Cal. 82S0 open-heart automatic movement. The Cal. 82S0 is a solidly reliable movement with respectable performance for the price point, offering -20/+40 seconds per day accuracy, 42 hours of power reserve and a 21,600 vph frequency.

Wrist Lore offers the Blackbird LE Automatic on a complex bracelet that, like the case, calls to mind luxurious integrated bracelet sports dive watches and complements the overall design brilliantly. There’s an excellent mix of brushed and polished surfaces at play in the design, allowing the bracelet to catch light from nearly any angle while flowing into the overall case shape.

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New Australian Brand Wrist Lore Takes Its Maiden Flight With Blackbird LE Automatic Pilot’s Watch Watch Releases

All in all, the Wrist Lore Blackbird LE Automatic stands as a truly distinctive first foray for the brand, one that immediately sets the company apart from the pack while paying tribute to one of the most iconic aircraft of all time. The Blackbird LE Automatic will only be produced in a very limited production run. The watch is currently available for preorder at Wrist Lore’s Kickstarter page for $299 (the campaign will run through November 30th), an early-bird pricing deal offering more than 45 percent off the final retail price of $550. View the Kickstarter campaign here.

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Comments

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  • Luciano

    If mixing elements from well known watches is the criteria, they won. Is there anything original on this?

  • SwissMatic

    I like this overall, but the hands are practically invisible.

    • Hi SwissMatic,

      Thank you for your feedback! This has been a concern from a number of potential backers which is why we’ve included it to stretch goes so that our backers can customize their hands themselves.

      Thanks 🙂

  • DanW94

    It’s kinda like the Bunny Ranch in Nevada, there’s DNA from all kinds of sources in it. Kidding aside, it’s not bad. As long as they’re not claiming originality I’m all right with it. One major problem though, the handset. Change it immediately. It’s absolutely anemic as it is.

    • Hi Dan,

      Thanks for the message. We’re glad that you ‘kinda’ enjoy it 🙂 We’ll be adding different hand styles as stretch goals to our backers to place the customization in the hands of our backers.

      Appreciate your feedback.

  • Timothy Sou

    The most important feature of a pilot’s is to be highly legible but on this watch, I can barely see the hands even if I tried…

    • Hi Timonthy,

      Thank you for your feedback! We are already planning to release different hand styles as stretch goals, in order to make it not only more legible, but for our backers to add a personal touch to their timepiece.

      Thanks again!

      • ray h.

        Add a few crown choices as well and find a way to bring the size to 39mm and equally thinner case and people like me will buy out of desperation for a smaller sports watch with an automatic ,hacking,windable movement. I mean every word of that !

      • Timothy Sou

        Glad to know the brand is listening to consumers’ feedback!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    What’s the first rule of watch club?

    • ray h.

      You talk endlessly about watch club,duh.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        I think i said it twice in 7600 comments.

  • SMB

    I’m not sure what to make of this because it is quite hard to see the watch in these photos. It is a bold style and size, with a crown that would probably give me a bruise. It is hard to read the time, but maybe it would be easier in better light.

    It is nice to see someone using a less common outsourced movement.

    • Thank you for your feedback SMB! We’ve actually had a number of comments from our other hands on reviewers noting how surprisingly comfortable the watch was on the wrist.

  • Paul

    While I really do like to see startups (especially Australian) giving it a go, I’m afraid this watch fails on so many levels.

    The size is ridiculous unless you have forearms like Popeye or you intend to wear it over a flight suit.

    The style is derivative – there’s very little that is original here. That’s hardly a unique problem, but in taking “inspiration” from existing watches you seem to have taken all the worst bits.

    A pilot’s watch should be legible. Even with new hands it will be impossible to tell the time at a glance with such a jumbled and confused dial.

    The crown guard is just rubbish. You claim it’s to aid water-proofning but any decent Seiko has 100m WR without the need for a crown guard like this. You also say it’s for shock-proofing, but it sits so proud of the oversized case it is almost certain to be knocked or caught on things. Much better to make a modest crown that is well made and less likely to be bumped.

    Sorry, back to the drawing board for this one.

  • Hi Mikita,

    Thank you for your question!

    Homage bracelets are not uncommon in the industry, god knows we’ve seen our fill of Oysters, Jubilees, and many others. We decided to go with this style because it was congruent with the stealthy aesthetic we were looking for, and my gosh is it comfortable. We had initially tested a number of different band variations, but it was unanimously decided between our prototype wearers and testers that it reigned far supreme over other variations we had tried. Plus it had the benefit of seeing far less ‘airtime’ than the aforementioned.

    Thanks!

    • Mikita

      Anyway, I hope you come up with your own bracelet design. Gerald Genta was genius, but we should somehow move away from using and reusing his ideas.

  • NaJo

    It doesnt become a pilot watch just by referring it to an aircraft! The dial is no way near to any of tge pilot aesthetics! Considering tbe way Aus economy is goinv downhill, all i can say is best of luck…

  • Charlie Sherlock

    It looks like I am in the minority but I really like this watch. Fair enough the hands could be a little brighter, and indeed a little longer, but for $299 it is a very fun, cool and interesting design. My one change would be the crown. I think it distracts from the dial/movement, which is the real star of the show. Well done guys and I am sure you will sell out in no time.

    • Hi Charlie,

      Thank you for your kind words! We appreciate you and your feedback.

      The hand legibility has been a topic mentioned through the constructive feedback we’ve received from champions like yourself and others. Being a family owned brand, we take our followers feedback very seriously – brands that do not often view things through a drastically narrowed lens. For this reason we have decided to increase the hand size on our Blackbird LE Automatic. Attached below is an example image. This will be added as an option to select from at the end of our Kickstarter campaign.

      Thank you for your consideration and we hope you can join us on our journey on creating something awesome.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ba0aba361ea5e12fd5b2b3330b4ca1bb2a7e37b888c80066e2a587f1a440b9bb.jpg

  • Pete Yo

    a watch without hands. I like your style.

    • Hi Pete,

      Thank you for your constructive feedback, we do very much appreciate your thoughts. As such, we have updated the hands on our timepiece as per the below post.

      Thanks again!

  • Ron Crocker

    I can handle the size, even the skeletonization on a “pilot’s” watch, and like the price point, but didn’t one person on their design team say “hey, why don’t we color the hands yellow, so they can be seen?”. Could have been a buyer but the invisible hands are the deal breaker.

  • Jared

    “a solidly reliable movement with respectable performance for the price point, offering -20/+40 seconds per day accuracy”

    geez if +40 second accuracy is “respectable”…what watch isn’t?

    • Hi there Jared,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      In all the testing we did ourselves and with our hands on reviewers, the accuracy was close to +3 accuracy per day. It is always leaps and bounds better than what they say on the ‘box’.

      Cheers!

  • Sheez Gagoo

    As Bausele already proofed, there’s nothing good to expect from Australian horology. Reminds me of a 6 year old that does a horrible drawing of you with no hands but you have to put it on the fridge anyway. But then you say, no f&%k you whippershnap and throw it to the litter where it belongs.

    • Hi Sheez,
      Thank you for your feedback. As mentioned previously, considering the nature of the beast (aka the watch industry), it’s one hell of a task to try and tick all the boxes for each individual; as vastly different opinions populate the landscape. The good thing is: there are so many different designs and combinations of styles to choose from that you will always find something that is closer to your tastes elsewhere. Thank you for your consideration anyhow. 🙂

  • Mark B

    Dietrich dial. Hublot lugs. AP bracelet. U-Boat crown cover. What’s not to like?

    • Jan Florian

      exactly!

  • Paul

    Strange… I posted a reply but now I don’t see it.

    I still don’t like the watch but I did like your response. You’ve taken some pretty savage criticism and come through with both a sense of humour and your dignity intact. Sincere best wishes, and I hope the watch is a success. Also hope your next one is more to my liking.

  • Lurch

    There is no way I could buy this watch because it would bother me that the key material in the plane was titanium but there is no titanium in this “Wrist Lore” of the SR-71.

  • BNABOD

    to mix this and the sr71 is a disgrace in and in itself. One of the purest airplane of all times and a marvel of engineering which this watch does not even come to close to representing.

  • JamesWWIII

    Kelly Johnson’s SR-71 Blackbird was a machine ahead of its time, a groundbreaking engineering achievement that almost seemed as though it might have been gleaned from alien technology. This clunker of a watch? Not so much.

    It’s an insult to the greatest spy plane ever devised that this hideous timepiece borrows its proud name. At least the Breitling Blackbirds look like watches that a pilot might actually wear.

    • Hi James,

      Thank you for your feedback. We have taken cues from the SR-71 Blackbird such as a distinct bezel with exposed black screws to pay homage to the SR-71’s cockpit dials – specifically the inertial vertical speed indicators. There are also red highlights that signify the centre of gravity controls, as well as a number of other things. You can read our Kickstarter page for more information. The goal was to simulate the ingenuity of the aircraft itself whilst staying aesthetically pleasing. The wonderful world of horology produces drastically different views from person to person, so it’s a good thing there are thousands of different styles to choose from! We’re sorry we couldn’t cater more to your tastes, and wish you good luck with your next big purchase!

      Cheers 🙂

  • JamesWWIII

    The elements of the Blackbird’s (and any other aircraft’s) cockpit gauges is primarily that they are readable at a glance.

    Too bad the same can’t be said of this watch.

  • egznyc

    I basically agree with the comments regarding it being the love child of Hublot and some Genta design.

    • Hi Egznyc,

      Thank you for your feedback! We have added larger hands to the dial to make things more legible for the people that would like them. We take the feedback seriously and have adjusted the hands accordingly.

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Mikita

    So why not get a straight copy of AP (Rolex, PP, etc)? Just go check Aliexpress – you can get some for 100 bucks. All details will be “well known and attractive”, not only the bracelet.

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