New brand: Praesto Aviator

Aviation Praesto Watch News

Aviator blue There are a great many variations on the WWII-inspired aviator’s watch; today it’s my pleasure to introduce a new company, Praesto. The name is from Latin, meaning “To be outstanding; to excel.” Praesto (the company) is actually a new project from the people at the Giovino Watch Company, who have for years been making watches for other brands. Praesto is their chance to make their own watches, using the design skills of Russ Schwenkler.

With all of that as prelude, let’s meet their first model which due to ship this fall: the “Modern Fliegeruhr – Aviator”:

  • 316L stainless steel case, 44mm, bead-blasted finish, screw-down crown.
  • Waterproof to an unusual 200m (660ft).
  • Sapphire crystal.
  • MDV super-bright lume from Lum-Tec.
  • Decorated Miyota 8245 movement with offset subseconds.
  • Three dial/case variations available (detailed below).
  • Preorder now for $365/$395, or 25% more when they ship in December.

Please read on for more details and pictures.

Praesto-miyota-movement Pictured here is the movement: a Miyota (Citizen) 8245. Hailing from the 8200 series introduced in 1977, it beats at 21,600vph (3Hz), has 21 jewels, and a power reserve of 40 hours. It handwinds but does not hack, and Praesto has chosen an upgraded version that’s lightly decorated. I’ve only seen the base-finished 8200 series once before in the thousand-dollar Autozilla, so this is an unexpected nicety in an inexpensive watch. Furthermore, Praesto adjusts and times every movement, yielding accuracy of 10-15 seconds per day. This is virtually unheard of in watches under two to three thousand dollars, and I heartily commend Praesto on their initiative here.

Aviator BB The initial production run will be 100 watches in the three different styles: Blue, black/grey, and black/grey with a PVD case. Alas, the blue dial is only available with stainless, as my personal preference would be that deep blue combined with PVD.

The design of the dial is an interesting and visually appealing update on the WWII-era Flieger. Large, stencil minutes with an inner ring of sans-serif hours, combined with skeletonized hands and a propellor-style bicolor seconds dial at 4:45. It combines well into an attractive and reasonably unobtrusive whole when combined with the understated, clean lines of the case and lugs.

Aviator PVD black The first run will be leather straps, though I’d expect bracelets to be an option sometime in the future. Just a guess.

The value proposition on these watches looks unusually good, and the look is both new and compelling. I suspect their initial run may well sell out rather quickly.

We thank Praesto for the email interview that produced this post, and for their promise of a review watch when they’re ready to ship.

By Paul Hubbard

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