Later this month the Swiss watchmaker is set to present the new member of its Airspeed family of aviators: the new Revue Thommen Airspeed XLarge Chronograph (ref. 16071.6877). Featuring a bland, even generic exterior, but being equipped with a robust chronograph caliber, the watch doesn’t offer much in the styling department, but gives you good “value”, especially if you will manage to find one with a good discount (or simply opt in for a used one in mint condition.)
Although the design of the new time-measuring device just screams ‘Breitling’ with the overall shape of the case and styling of its rotating bezel, there is still some Revue Thommen’s brand DNA here.
Since the Swiss watchmaker also produces avionics for the aerospace industry (and, as far as I remember, does that for a very long time,) their watches are known for almost unrivaled legibility: the thing that Breitling with cluttered (and sometimes outright unreadable without a great deal of concentration) dials of their “aviation-inspired” wristwatches sometimes can only dream of.
As you can see in the photos, the timekeeper’s sand-blasted dial sports a very Spartan black and white color scheme with distinctive red touches reserved for the three chronograph hands (as usual, the chronograph sub-dials are placed on the same vertical axis at 12 and 6 o’clock, while the small seconds indicator sits at 9 hours.)
The choice of the colors makes it especially easy to read current time and lets you find the small seconds sub-dial (at 3 o’clock) at a glance.
Being given more contrasting appearance with bright white Superluminova (like the hour and minute hands) that, by the way, changes its color to green one in the dark, it really stands out over the matte black background of the dial, while the pointers of the 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph totalizers (at 12 and 6 o’clock respectively) that sport basically the same shape are bright red, as is the central chronograph indicator that, traditionally for Revue Thommen, looks like it was half-dipped into a can of the same bright red paint.
The matte black PVD treatment not only provides the watch with more menacing appearance, but it also makes it look more like “real” pilot’s watches that usually come with burnished cases in order to reflect as little light as possible.
While many watches from better-advertised brands in this price range are equipped with simple three-hand movements with an add-on chronograph module, this watch is surprisingly powered by the robust and reliable ETA Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement that offers tons of reliability and is easier to repair if anything goes wrong.
The Airspeed XLarge Chronograph is going to be presented in about two weeks at Baselworld 2011 event and will go on sale later this year at a minimum recommended price of $3600. From my perspective, the watch is a bit overpriced, even despite the accurate and dependable caliber that beats inside its large 43.50 mm case. However, if you are patient enough, I am sure that you will be able to find one online with great discount (sometimes, online retailers slash the price by more than half of MSRP.) Just don’t wait too long: as soon as the watch is discontinued, you will have a really hard time finding one in a “new and unboxed” condition.
See also: Revue Thommen Airspeed Instrument RT1920
Build Quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Photos: Revue Thommen
Revue Thommen Airspeed XLarge Chronograph (ref. 16071.6877) specification
Price: $3600 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, ETA Valjoux 7750, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day, chronograph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: Stainless steel, black PVD
Size: 43.50 mm
Case height: 16.00 mm
Hands: Steel, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous, applied
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber on stainless steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective