For the last ninety years German watchmaker Ickler has produced a range of quality timepieces. In 1924 the company was founded by Karl Ickler and then rebuilt by his sons after the Second World War. Presently, third generation owner Thomas Ickler runs the business. With a constant demand for affordable well-made timepieces he has adhered to the highest traditional standards.
Within the Ickler group there are four completely different brands. The Limes label (fine mechanical watches), Autran & Viala label (quartz watches), Defakto (contemporary mechanical) and Archimedes label. Archimedes was originally launched in 2003 and is widely known for its fine range of chronographs and pilot inspired watches. Numerous customers have bought these fantastic timepieces worldwide. Other exciting models in the range include the Klassik, DeckWatch, SportTaucher and OutDoor.
Recently I have had several conversations with Thomas Ickler’s daughter Lisa. She is responsible for all the company’s marketing and communication. Compared to other brands they have a low profile and don’t appear to have any ambassadors. Ultimately this means they can keep their prices incredibly competitive. A few weeks ago I reviewed a superb watch by Montres Millitaire. This timepiece is constructed from solid bronze and has a Swiss movement. It also retails at a very competitive price of around $2,500. Just imagine my surprise when I came across the Pilot 42 Bronze Automatic available to buy well under the $1,000 mark.
On first inspection the Pilot 42 Bronze Automatic is well made and has an elegant appearance. Even though the watch measures 42mm x 9.9mm it appears to be smaller. This is possibly because I am used reviewing and wearing larger, chunkier timepieces. Nevertheless I should imagine this watch would appeal to a huge variety of buyers including the female market. On the wrist the timepiece feels exceptionally comfortable and lightweight. Primarily this is down to the slender design and shape of the case. Realistically this watch could be worn on a daily basis for both formal and casual occasions.
Aesthetically the façade of the Pilot 42 Bronze Automatic is minimalistic. What initially attracted me to test this watch was the choice of the case material used in manufacture. Archimedes has used a bronze alloy called CuSn8, consisting of 92% copper and 8% tin. This gives the timepiece a unique vintage appearance which perfectly contrasts with the subtle black dial. Other pertinent features include the bold white luminous numerals/indexes and solid bronze crown. Overall the composition is refined and understated.
Beneath the watch’s exterior lies a Swiss automatic (Swatch) Eta 2824-2 movement. This caliber comprises 25 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The mechanism is also visible through the mineral crystal case back. Functionally the Pilot 42 Bronze Automatic features hours, minutes and seconds. It also has a power reserve of 42-hours and is water resistant to 50 meters.
The Pilot 42 Bronze Automatic has a brown leather strap with bronze rivets and buckle. With a price tag of only €610 (approximately $819) this watch is a great deal.