Pancerna P.7 Pilot
These days many microbrands or those wanting to be a microbrand go the easy route. Lots of off-the-shelf cases and parts and not much originality. Pancerna and the Pancerna P.7 Pilot is part of a small percentage of brands that strive to design and produce something more innovative or at the very least make everything from the ground up with no off-the-shelf parts. When we talk about originality, there is not much you can do these days that hasn’t been done unless you start getting really funky, but a brand I admire is Visitor Watches who are truly doing some innovative pieces, while still maintaining a classic look. While Pancerna has not produced a piece to that level just yet, they are on the right track, and this is only their first watch, so the sky is the limit. Pancerna’s website is not up just yet at the time of writing but will be soon, with preorders looking to go live in April, with a proposed preorder price of $519, a savings of $100 off retail. The watch itself is a unique, albeit quirky take on a trench style watch, with a slightly chunkier case and lugs, a bold dial, easy to use crown, and a beautiful case back. It will come with two straps, though I hope that it won’t be exactly the two straps shown in this review, as well as a canvas travel pouch.
- 40mm Stainless Steel Case
- Bead Blasted Finish with clear Ion Plating (8 Times harder than 316L Steel)
- 20mm Lug Width
- 13mm Height
- 49mm Lug to Lug
- 8mm Screw Down Crown
- Domed Sapphire Crystal( Show in review with flat crystal)
- 200m Water Resistant
- Miyota 9015 Movement
- Two Straps Included
- Canvas 2 Slot Travel Roll included
Preorder Price $519, Retail $619
Polarizing. I used that word in the video and I am using it here. There is no other way to describe the response to this Pancerna P.7 Pilot. Even in the review video itself, which I published a day or two before this article, you can see this reflected in the comment section. I really did not touch on this in the video, but I have to say, it is funny, if not a little hypocritical by the watch community. I constantly see here, on Youtube, on groups, forums, and wherever else people are discussing watches these days, that they want different, they want originality. They are sick of the same Submariner homage, or the Blancpain homage, or the newest trend, the Gerald Genta-inspired microbrand. Here we have an original take on a trench watch, and it has been interesting to see the comments so far, to say the least. Now, I have no issue clearly stating that this particular style of watch is not one that I gravitate towards normally, but to be very transparent, I do find my tastes changing a lot in the past year or two, so who knows. Maybe a little more wrist time and I will start to like this piece even more. But, I do like this piece, and even though it may not be my first choice, I like what is going on here.
Taking a look around the case, you can see where some of the unlike comes into play, mostly at the robust lugs. I waffled back and forth on this when the prototype first arrived, and I must admit that on the supplied Nato straps, it is not to my liking, but once I put it on a two-piece tropic rubber I had laying around, I enjoyed it much more, and was able to see what Pancera was going for. Yes, the wire lugs are thick and really do appear to stick out a bit (Lug to Lug is still a very manageable 49mm), but on the wrist, It really is very comfortable and they do not protrude into the wrist at all. The more I wore the P.7, the more I started to appreciate it, and the fact that it is a little quirky added to that. The case is somewhat bulbous, but again, that is part of this design, and the more I looked at it and photographed it for this review, the more I appreciated it. It does come off as slightly chunky, but this is not really a big watch at all with a 40mm case and just about 13mm thick(will be slightly thicker come production with a single domed sapphire instead of the flat you see here on the prototype).
You may be wondering, especially if you are Polish or of Polish descent why they chose the name Pancerna, and I am told it is for two reasons. 1, the owner’s mother was Polish and two, it means armored. How is it armored? No, you do not push the crown and a knife or laser will pop out-we quite haven’t figured out how to make a James Bond watch just yet, but production models of the Pancerna P.7 Pilot will have a hard ion coating, that is said to be 8 times harder than stainless steel. I assume this plating will be over the bead-blasted finish, which should allow for it to stay unmarred much longer than regular blasted steel. Blasted finishes tend to get marked up rather quickly and unlike polished or brushed steel, (or titanium), there really isn’t much you can do to remove them. Unfortunately, this prototype does not have that coating, which is why you see a few marks here or there around the case.