February 8, 2010
by Ariel Adams
What do you look for in a watch? Really, think about it. Is it function, design, brand name? I can’t necessarily answer that question for myself. I think it personally depends on many factors, but the previously enumerated considerations are all ones that I ponder carefully before buying a watch. When it comes to a watch from a new or unknown brand it is possible to still be excited because of an innovative design. In that case, I look to relative quality as well as price in making a purchase decision. The idea goes into the greater area of how new brands assert themselves. Praesto is obviously not a name you’ve likely heard of before, because this is the brand’s first watch. So let’s check out what they have to offer.
Delving deeper into the watch (aside from lack of brand awareness), there are lots of recognizable elements to the Praesto’s watch, namely the designer. I found it also ironic that the American man who designed the Modern Fliegerurhr (aviator watch) is someone that I’ve worked with in the past. His name is Russ Schwenkler and he is a talented graphic designer and artist who has a thing for watches and high performance machines such as cars or motorcycles. To my knowledge this is the first watch that he designed that has been produced. To sum up the design you needn’t look further than the name. “Modern Aviator” is exactly what the watch design is. Look at some classic aviator watches and you can see how Russ spruced them up a bit. The addition of the stencil font for the hours, the skeletonized hands, and balance of items of the face feel fresh and modern – but still an aviator.
The watch dial uses the basic principle that the hour hand should connect with the hours and the minute hand should connect with the minutes. As such, it does this. Meaning that the hours are indicated on the smaller inner ring. The design looks very coherent and attraction. It is very functional as well, but the little lines placed between the hours are spurious and confusing a bit. In your mind you want them to be where something starts or ends, whereas they are actually placed at half-hour intervals. They are placed for aesthetic purposes only as far as I can tell. Perhaps Russ can school me on this if I am incorrect.
It is hard to dislike the skeletonized by lume coated hands. Not only do they look cool, but they are sized properly. I applaud this as you know short hands irk me. One of the most intelligent aspects of the design is the eccentric subsidiary seconds dial. The placement of it is unique, and adds a new layer of technical and visual interest. It might have been tough for Praesto to place the subdial in this spot – not sure if the movement was designed in that manner. The subsidiary seconds dial has a double sided hand with the orange section acting as a counterweight. It is a nifty look and the orange adds to the modern feel. On this model you have an easy on the eyes metallic blue dial with a light sunburst polish to it. There is also a black dial available – though I found it hard to resist the unique blue version. Lume is applied to most all important parts of the dial as you can see from the image. The design of the dial does not allow for the thickest application of lume, but the watch does have SuperLumiNova that gives it as bight a look as is possible with some charging in the light. Overall I give high marks to the dial as it totally makes the watch what it is, and is going to be the reason why people are going to get themselves a Modern Fliegeruhr watch.
The timepiece comes in a 44mm wide steel case. Most of the case has a bead-blasted finish, which the bezel is brushed. With the screw-down caseback and screw-in crown, the case is water resistant to 200 meters and has a sapphire crystal. The fact that the people behind Praesto have been making watches for others for years shows as the overall execution and finish of the watch is good. It is sometimes common for newer brands to have “refinement” issues, not really here. The rear of the case is more or less flat, which the lugs are curved. It makes for a relatively secure and comfortable fit on the wrist. The crown of the watch has a nice Praesto “P” logo engraved in it.
Powering the watch is a Japanese Miyota 8245 automatic movement that offers hand-winding (not something to take for granted in all Japanese automatic movements). The 24mm wide watch strap is a thicker leather, with a wrinkled texture on it and white stitching. I like the “mini Panerai” style buckle with the Praesto name engraved on it. In my opinion the strap is a better fit with the two other versions of the Modern Aviator – as it also comes in a black dial or black dial with PVD black case version. For the blue dial, I am considering what other straps might look good with the watch. I am thinking about a blue rubber strap that will match the modern sportiness (and color) of the dial more.
Praesto offers the watch as a limited edition of 100 pieces for each style (total of 300 pieces). It comes with a branded cleaning cloth and nice roll pouch. There really isn’t much like it out there and I think it is a great first exploit for the designer. I have a feeling that he will be responsible for additional interesting watches in the future. He will also likely work with Praesto on future watches as the brand matures. Price for this Modern Fliegeruhr is $480, and for the PVD coated version it is $527.
Learn more about the Praesto Modern Fliegeruhr or get one here.