The Swiss watch manufacturer has just presented its new Revue Thommen Airspeed Instrument RT1920 automatic watch: a new member of its –ahem– controversial Bell & Ross BR 01-92-styled Airspeed Instrument line of aviator watches. As you can see, the guys behind the –ahem– aspiring Swiss-based brand even preserved all four Arabic numerals from the series name, although, for copyright reasons, put them in a slightly different order.
Created using the same brutal design language, the new Revue Thommen Airspeed Instrument RT1920 differs from the rest of the pack with its black PVD-coated stainless steel case that also features a “rose gold” PVD coating on its thin fixed bezel, four screws on the front side and, of course, on the extra-large winding/setting crown (the crown, by the way, features a reassuringly good grip not only thanks to its sheer size, but also because of deep notching that makes operating the wristwatch even more comfortable.) While the square-shaped case may look too massive due to its width of 44 millimeters that allow the watch to occupy almost all width of an average wrist, it doesn’t actually feel large thanks to its relatively thin profile of just eight millimeters from top to bottom and also because of its short lugs that don’t add too much to the gadget’s overall length.
Personally, I am not the fan of this styling, but if you like oversized, square-shaped timekeepers, you will probably love this one (just don’t forget to try one before ordering it from a web-based retailer, okay?)
Where was I? Oh, speaking of differences between this model and previous iterations of the Airspeed Instrument line, the new member of the family also adds more upscale-looking hour indices and hands. Made of some sort of yellow metal (can it be steel plated with titanium nitride or something?) the hands (including better half of surface of the thin central second hand, which is not that common) feature generously sized patches of high-quality Superluminova luminous compound that, by the way, make the watch more legible in daylight giving the deep Navy Blue dial even more contrasting appearance.
To make the timekeeper more legible at night, its light grey minute track is equipped with 12 small luminous dots. As you can see on the pictures, the dot at 12 hours is triangle-shaped, the ones at 3, 6 and 9 hours are square-shaped, while the rest eight dots are just round. Frankly, I think I would prefer the Superluminova to cover the applied Arabic numerals, but, well, nobody’s perfect.
Just like other members of the same collection, as well as its source of inspiration (I assume, it was the Bell & Ross BR01 model), the RT1920 sports the same square case with four screws each placed at respective angle and a round bezel with a sapphire glass covering a set of hour, minute and second hands reminding us of aviation instruments.
While the claim to the company’s aviation legacy is quite legitimate (long time ago Revue Thommen indeed used to make money producing cockpit instruments and gauges for the aviation industry,) the result is, well, sort of disappointing.
Trying to differentiate their product from the original series by Bell&Ross, Revue Thommen’s designers somehow lost the original point of the watch.
You see, its main problem is that, with new styling of the dial, the watch doesn’t look very much like an instrument gauge. Rather, it feels just like another rip-off (alright, upon re-reading this brief review I find that the wording is too strong: let’s call it “homage,” okay?) of the popular model of a better-advertised brand that, being priced at just about half the MSRP of the “original”, targets customers who can’t afford the “real” thing. Although I can’t really call the approach questionable, I still find it, well, unsustainable: nobody wants their brand to be associated with “homages” in the long run.
Build Quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 1/5
Overall Rating: 1.5/5
Photos: Revue Thommen
Revue Thommen Airspeed Instrument RT1920 automatic watch specification
Price range: $1320 (MSRP)
Movement: ETA caliber 2824-2, automatic, 28,800 vph, 25 jewels, Swiss Made
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel in black PVD
Bezel: Rose gold PVD coating
Case size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 8.00
Dial: Navy blue
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Leather with contrast stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective