Bangalore Mach 1
Often, many of the brands I present might be new to you, but sometimes they are new to me as well. Take this Bangalore Mach 1, and the Bangalore Watch Company, a brand I had never heard of before I received an email from them. The Mach 1 is not their first model, but one the brand is really proud of and one they want to get the word out about. Starting at $680, the Mach 1 is a classically styled pilot watch and is inspired by the Indian Air Force. The one I had in hand for review is a pre-production version, but the watches are underway and will be shipping sometime in November. Below are the specifications and the link to their website.
Bangalore Mach 1 Specifications:
- 42mm Stainless Steel Case
- 48mm Lug to Lug
- 11mm Thick
- 22mm Lug Width
- Sellita SW220 Automatic Movement
- Sapphire Crystal Triple Coated
- Crown: Afterburner nozzle inspired design, screw-down crown
- Water Resistance: 10 ATM Rating (100 Meters/330 Feet)
- Strap: Seatbelt inspired textile strap, genuine leather lining, quick-release spring-bar.
- Buckle: Stainless steel Tang buckle with logo.
Price as shown $680 USD
The Bangalore Mach 1 is a pretty traditional looking pilot watch, with both hints of IWC and Oris Big Crown as obvious inspiration. Even though inspired by others (what watch isn’t these days?), the Mach 1 has its own vibe and I was happy to see a day/date complication made possible by the Sellita SW220 Automatic Movement), as that is on the rare side for a Flieger style watch. Overall case construction is simple and clean and 42mmx48mm, this is going to be a very wearable and versatile watch for many. The leather strap is a touch on the short side in my opinion, at least for my 7 1/2 inch wrist, but I made it work.
From the Bangalore Website:
“The MACH 1 collection pays tribute to a dynamic fighter jet that flew for the Indian Air Force – the MiG 21 Type 77. The Type 77 was the first supersonic fighter jet of the IAF and retired in 2013 after five decades of service.”
Some folks on social media were quick to point out that the “flag” on the dial was perhaps more Mexican than Indian. What they didn’t realize is the marking on the dial is actually Indian Air Force Fin Flash, a national marking of a military aircraft. Bangalore wanted to stay true its roots and heritage with the Mach 1, but I also appreciate that they’d id did not go overboard. The dial is adorned with the fin flash, and the case back shows off the jets as well, but that’s it. It is not overdone with plates screwed onto the side of the case, jets engraved into the strap, coordinates on the dial, etc. They showed restraint. It allows this watch to be a refined tool to watch and not a horological gimmick.
Keeping with the Indian Military Theme, there are a few dial options available other than what is shown in this review. If you are more of a NAV-B type of guy, they have that available on their website, but they have a special edition as well-The Mach 1x. This variant contains Dials made of IAF decommissioned MiG 21 Skin. It will be very limited and the site states price available upon request, with delivery scheduled for December 2019. On top of all that, Black PVD variants are available as well. If I were to purchase one, I think I would go with the Arabic number (civilian) version shown here, but it would be a tough call on whether to do the stainless or PVD. One thing I do know, this thing glows in the dark like nobody’s business! Seriously, I did not expect the lume to be this good.
From reading the Bangalore website, it looks like this will be the standard strap the watch will ship with. Often when I am reviewing watches that are not available yet, things like straps and buckles, case finishing, dial text etc, could change come production. I do like this style of the strap and it is a nice touch with the quick-change spring bars (though I always question the durability of these over traditional spring bars), but I feel it should be longer. The buckle will change, but not much; all satin-brushed instead of brushed/polished combo. Other than that, I believe what you see here is what you will get come the delivery day, that is if you choose to order one.
The Bangalore Mach 1 certainly has a lot going for it. As always the case here at Watchreport, I am honest, and with that, I will say I am not blown away by the design of this particular watch, but I do applaud all it offers for the price. I think the watch may be somewhat niche as well, as for myself, I don’t know if I would really be sporting a watch that commemorates the Indian Air Force. I have no issues with India or their government personally (and to be really honest, I ignore most political things these days), but being an American, it would just feel, well, ODD.
That all said, for under $700, they have made a compelling and attractive watch. If someday they make one without the fin flash on the dial, and a more standard case back, I might be more compelled to wear one. The specifications and the finishing are right in line with most other brands, if not above them, and it is refreshing to see something other than a dive watch pass through my hands.
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