Marc & Sons Pilot
Marc & Sons is another brand that my fellow colleagues have reviewed here on Watchreport, and I of course read/watched the reviews and felt that the watches while homages for the most part, were well made, especially for the price point. Getting the new automatic Pilot in hand has only strengthened my opinion on them. I honestly thought it might be a little cheap feeling for some reason, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. While I don’t feel it can compete in a $600 price point, at $300 it is a bargain.
– Case: 316L stainless steel, brushed
– Brown leather strap
– Lug width: 22.0 mm
– Pin buckle steel with engraved logo
– Automatic Movement Caliber Miyota 9015
– Luminous: BGW9
– Scratch resistant sapphire crystal
– Pressure tested to 10 ATM
Price: $308 USD
I had to look up pilot watches, as the design of the Marc & Sons Pilot does seem familiar, but I could not think of what brand. While we are all familiar with the IWC and Laco brand watches, this does not seem to be an homage of them, at least not a direct homage or ripoff. I will state I can not say with certainty that this is not a direct homage of something, I just am not familiar with it, or can not remember. Either way, lets delve into why this might be one of the better pilot style watches you can buy for the price.
With a 44mm by 52mm case size, the Marc & Sons pilot is large, but not over sized like some pilot watches tend to be. Watch trends and the people that buy watches tend to be polar opposites at times and pilot style watches have gone from sizes like 56mm wide to 40mm wide as we see today with some brands. There are guys out there who love a massive pilot watch and others who want something more subdued. This example lies somewhere in between and gives the best of both worlds; large and easy to read and comfortable on most wrists. A fine brushed satin finish is given to the entire case with the exception of the center of the screw down crown. Yes, I said screw down crown, something that sometimes is overlooked on non dive style watches. An odd style case, at least to me, as it is not completely round nor is it a cushion style, but kind of a meshing of both. Odd, and yet it works.
As you can see in the photo above, the Marc & Sons Pilot has a slightly domed sapphire crystal. For those that rarely have taken photos of watches, or have just not seen that many, crystals can be a pain in the, well, ass. Or in reality, a pain in the eye, because when a crystal is very domed, it makes it harder to capture the dial properly, and of course the different types of AR coating, or lack thereof, have a hand in that as well. I would say this pilot watch is somewhere in the middle of that, while not the best crystal/AR combo I have seen, it is not the worst either, and for the most part I was able to capture the dial as it truly is.
My one major gripe about the dial? The cheesy plane printed on the dial. I am just not one for gimmicks like this one a watch face, and feel the traditional triangle or 12 would have been more than adequate and most everyone would know it is a pilot style watch. Other than that, a good, legible dial, with large numerals, wide hour and minute hands and a red tipped second hand for contrast.
I have said this ad nauseam, I am not fond of exhibition case backs on watches with plain, base movements. I mean, I get it to a point. Many brands have even explained why they do it: not everyone who buys a watch, is a watch nut. And that makes sense. Someone who is a novice, or has not seen or owned countless watches just thinks it it cool to have a case back that allows you to see the movement and the inner workings of their wristwatch. For me, I would prefer a solid case back when using the Seiko NH35 or the Miyota 9015, as is used in this Marc & Sons Pilot. While I know that may sound overly picky, I see it all the time and while I do love the Miyota 9015 for its smoothness and accuracy, I would rather it be covered up. The good news is, it is a 9015 for around $300, something that is becoming rarer these days with the price hike and 6 month wait for the movement itself.
The Marc & Sons Pilot uses BGW9 Superluminova for its glowing compound and they did so on the hands, numerals and even that gimmicky plane. I took a few pictures of the lume, as I usually do, to try and give both low light and complete darkness examples. While in complete darkness it does just fine, I love the shot below, as it was a random shot I took in a decently lit room after coming in from the outside, on a somewhat overcast day I might add.
On the wrist, it is very comfortable for my 7 1/2 inch wrist, and part of that is due to the crazy horse style leather strap. Thick and comfortable, and one that feels like it will hold up well over time. This is not a cheap leather strap, like you would expect on a watch of this price point. The Marc & Sons Pilot also has an over-sized stainless buckle, and not just your standard stamped thumbnail style.
It is very hard for me not to praise the Marc & Sons Pilot Automatic MSF-005-B. Not because of originality or a complex or expensive movement, but rather the value it offers. The case finishing is far beyond what I thought it would be with smooth lines and no rough edges, a solid crown and a comfortable leather strap. Is it the perfect watch for me? No, but it might be for many, especially to those looking for an affordable pilot watch. At $308 for what it offers, I can not really say anything that would make me not recommend it to anyone looking for a budget pilot watch.