Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Since 2001, Xēzo has been producing limited-run timepieces that offer a whole lot of bang for the buck. I recently had a chance to spend some time with two of their pieces, the Xēzo Air Commando D-45R and the Air Commando D-45S chronograph. Though made with the same backbone, each watch offered a unique experience for those seeking a robust, affordably priced Swiss watch that could easily become an everyday wear.

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I'll start with the Xēzo Air Commando D-45R, which is definitely the sleeker of the two. The case is crafted from surgical grade 316L stainless steel and is sized at a prominent 45mm. The case weighs 213g, so you'll feel it at first, but throughout the day the D-45R actually disappeared into my routines. Really, it's an aggressive, masculine mechanical watch with an attitude and style that matches its size. The style, size, and design are all in sync and proportional.

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This piece features two rotating bezels, with one being used for the obligatory measurement of time passage should you choose to test its 300m water-resistance while diving, and the inner bezel acts as a partial third time-zone. The red hand offers a GMT function, of course. The inner bezel is rotated using the crown located at 10 o'clock. The watch is further guarded against aquatic devastation with a screw-down crown for extra security. As I noted, there is a lot of bang for the buck here, and plenty of little details like this are sometimes skimmed over with brands in this price range.

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The dial is a crisp black beneath an anti-reflective-treated sapphire crystal with a magnified date window. Aside from the red accents, the dial is an industrious two-tone with white numerals and under Xēzo's branding you can see that this is a limited edition of 500 pieces. Both the hands and the numerals have been treated with Swiss Luminova, and I personally had no trouble seeing this one in the dark. Xēzo set out to build a tough watch, and from a purely aesthetic standpoint, its design helps communicate that intention.

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I think they delivered on that front. I did wonder why a watch called Air Commando would have such great water-resistance but I've never been one to complain about a watch being too highly rated for such a thing. If anything, it's the other way around. Another thing I really liked about this watch is the bracelet, which creates a tough visual contrast between the smooth, serrated links.

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

For the movement, Xēzo used a tried-and-true ETA 2893-2 automatic that puts out a 42-hour power reserve and features an Incabloc shock absorber for added durability. In other words, for the jewel that supports the balance wheel, it functions as a spring-loaded support system to help protect against drops or other extreme tumbles. A look at the back and you can see that the screw-down case-back is outfitted with another sapphire crystal for a view of the movement and the branded rotor as well.

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Xēzo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Moving onto the Xēzo Air Commando D-45S, you see a lot of the same design language, but also some distinct variations. Created in honor of the 70th Anniversary of the U.S. Air Force Air Commando Flight Group, the Xēzo Air Commando D-45S also measures in at a hefty 45mm and is a little bit heavier at 224g, but this could be forgiven as it is a chronograph. The dial features an interesting array of color with black panda subdials juxtaposed with light blue hour markers that are positioned above Swiss Luminova-painted indexes, and the hands have received the same treatment.

What do you think?
  • Interesting (17)
  • I love it! (10)
  • Thumbs up (8)
  • I want it! (5)
  • Classy (2)
  • Word Merchant

    Summary of recent articles:

    1. Straton Watch Co. Syncro Watch – great, inexpensive.
    2. Zenith Heritage Pilot Extra Special Chronograph Watch – great, expensive.
    3. X?zo Air Commando D-45R & D-45S – neither.

  • Jerry Davis

    Love the bracelet, the watch is rather ordinary.

  • Tony NW

    I see nothing special or interesting that, say, Christopher Ward hasn’t done first, better and cheaper. I mean, the air diver isn’t bad, but the only features it has are there inner bezel (kinda cool) and the Cyclops, while using a flat sapphire and painted markers.

  • Chris Bos

    What do these watches cost?

  • They do a PVD version with a Miyota 9015, too. Less than $300 across the internet. It’s got a more subdued look, with a far less busy dial, and lacks the cyclops magnifier that should be banned by the Hague in the first place.


    • spiceballs

      That’s better, and at (around) $300 fair value.


    Mall watch alert…

  • SuperStrapper

    It is very visually arresting. The multiple layers of indication make it hard for the eyes to settle on it anywhere. The gmt hand and rotating inner bezel make for some good functionality, but I would prefer if the overall appearance were a bit less scattered. The bracelet is nice, has a bit of a throwback look, but that parts bin generic stamped deployment is awful.

    What is the bezel makeup? The marking looks to be a relief, you can see they area raised from the background, but if it is aluminum that’s not good, and even as steel there will be issues: what fills the background? Enamel?

  • Marius

    That’s what I call scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    The only positive aspect is that these watches are Swiss Made. I mean, they’re made in China, but they have the Swiss Made logo.

    • Andrew Buckley


  • Bert Kanne

    The fonts used on these watches are totally wrong. Swiss Made doesn’t have the cache of quality it used to, imo.

  • Shinytoys

    I see Incabloc shock absorbers are making a comeback. They were all the rage in 1950 through 1970.

  • DanW94

    Just my opinion but for the sake of maximum appeal, it’s probably better to leave your social justice endeavors, no matter how honorable, off your watch dial.

  • Andrew Buckley

    One word: why? (as in why do they exist and why on Earth would anyone even contemplate buying one of these?).

    • Marius

      Very pertinent question indeed.

      Another question is why anyone would want to review such monstrosities, and write a two-page article?

    • Berndt Norten

      I feel the same way about Buckley’s cough medicine ?

  • BILL*

    Wasn’t Xezo the demon from The Exorcist?

    • Pazuzu. King of the Wind Demons. Disliker of Pea Soup. 4.5 Billion Year Battery.

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      Ah, possibly you mean Xenu. I’m not sure of my Scientology hagiography, but wasn’t he the Super Powered Space Alien that lived in a mountain munching Thetans for the last 4.5 billion years. Or maybe you just mean Xezo after all.

      • BILL*

        That blasted thetan-muncher!

  • Yan Fin

    Richard, thanks for finally paying attention to Xezo. Me and my better half own 4 models (different from those reviewed). My favorite is this one https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2a65dc73d70cbbf2f35b90ee6fcd1267fa83de4593df6596e6e5cd9e7b74e8e2.jpg . Very high quality build and pretty different looks. A beater watch for over 4 years, including ocean swimming and shallow diving. Screw down bracelet., pretty comfortable and does not look too big despite 45 mm size. Still runs + 5 sec a day, and still priced under $500. I think Xezo offers pretty cool designed both in watches and writing instruments with really high quality. And no, I do not have vested interest in this company.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    For it’s price, pretty good. As SuperStrapper points out there are four rings of indices in the diver, makes it look too busy. Having said that, I quite like the font. But I really need to see it, to know whether I truly like it.
    Thev’ve created a very quirky, and quite novel looking pair of watches. When I come across the brand in future I’ll definitely have a closer look.
    The bracelet looks pretty cool too. I can’t tell from the pictures, but the end-links don’t seem to fit very well.

  • ??????

    These are so ugly. Look at those unmatching fonts, useless loupes and these bezels.. uff. I get the value proposition and all, but would prefer anything from Seiko/Fortis/Alpina/Sinn/Damasko etc.

  • mtnsicl

    I find it hard to believe that these watches weigh almost a half a pound each! And the author says that the R model is just that case at 213g. Something’s wrong.

  • jimf42

    The water resistant rating is for those atmospheric rivers which are currently drenching the west coast. These are a little too big and bulky for my taste, but I like the design.