I’ve spent a couple of weeks now with the St. Moritz Aeromax, and I have really enjoyed my time with this bold and unique timepiece. The Aeromax is part of the Momentum family of watches offered by St. Moritz. St. Moritz is a company with a 27-year history in diving watches, and has just recently moved its Momentum brand into sport watches as well. They started in 1980, and have been producing high-quality, entry-level luxury watches for divers ever since. Today they produce 18 different models that will appeal to a wide variety of buyers.
One thing that I found really interesting about St. Moritz is that they have gone out of their way to design and produce unique watches which have a look and feel of their own. In contrast, many of their peers “emulate” the older, more established brands’ designs.
In my opinion, the Aeromax does not disappoint. This is one interesting watch with many subtle details that work together to make it a great design. Here’s the breakdown:
First off, this is a huge watch. At 45mm, it is larger than anything I normally wear. The Aeromax wears very large because there is no bezel; the dial is literally the entire watch which is a good thing as it creates a simple and classy feel. The dial on the watch is an inky matte black that really shows off the detail of the script, the Arabic markers, and the very cool retrograde GMT complication. Since the dial is not glossy, it gives the watch an excellent depth behind the sapphire crystal. The case is made from titanium and is very light, but not light enough to feel cheap. I suspect that the sapphire crystal and the thicker quartz movement account for the added weight. Titanium is an intriguing finish, and this watch seemed especially scratch resistant, unlike some other titanium watches I have owned.
All of the dial markers are luminous, but they did not pass the “movie test”. I saw the finale in the Bourne series, and found myself turning the watch toward the screen in order to read it. The luminosity is intense at first, but dies quickly — something I didn’t expect from a company so dedicated to SCUBA diving. The second hand on the watch has been coated in a pinkish luminous paint, and at night looks very cool. Indeed, the appeal of this watch is in the details: all of the Arabic hour markers have a beautiful metal border much like Breitling uses on some models.
The watch has two additional complications. The first is a 24 hour indicator which sits in a sub-dial at the 9 o’clock position. Pretty simple and straightforward, but still nice to have as it compliments the second complication: a GMT retrograde indicator to keep track of a second time zone. This is a cool feature that many watches incorporate, however you rarely see it in a retrograde configuration expect on some exceptionally expensive luxury timepieces. It is as simple as the date to set, and is very easy to read.
The Aeromax comes fitted to an Italian black rubber strap that incorporates a titanium deployment clasp. It is a simple and elegant way to strap such a huge watch to your wrist, and the deployment clasp is light and easy to use.
The packaging for the St. Moritz Aeromax is a simple black leather box with a cardboard outer box. I was expecting more given the price and the classy look of the watch. Were I to make one suggestion to St. Moritz, it would be to offer a nicer set of packages, and possibly a strap removal tool to help new buyers size and fit the rubber strap, which, incidentally, needs to be cut down to the diameter of your wrist.
This is a nice watch that St. Moritz believes will appeal to the traveler. It has everything that a good watch should have: it’s legible, elegantly simple, and has interesting and functional complications. Note that it’s a sizable watch, however, and not suitable for narrow wrists. I would be very interested to see the watch in a 42-43mm size, and possibly in a stainless-steel finish. If you like the look of this watch, and you’re not afraid to wear them big, it is definitely worth the $300-$350 price point.
By James Stacey
Update from Christian (9/4/07): I got an email from Simon Pennell, CEO of St. Mortiz, with some interesting new information on the Aeromax:
- They are working on improving the longevity of the luminous material. They are already using very high quality material (Superluminova), but the dial maker is working on a way to apply a thicker layer without messing up the raised Arabic numbers.
- The packaging that James wasn’t very fond of has already been discontinued and replaced with the much nicer brushed aluminum box you see on the right.
It might seem silly to dwell on a watch’s packaging, but anyone who has ever purchased a nice watch understands. Unveiling your new purchase is very much part of the experience. Ever bought an Apple computer? Ever eaten at a fine French restaurant? If so, you know what I’m talking about.
I’m impressed by the fact that St. Moritz seems to be actively striving to improve not just their watches, but the overall customer experience, as well.