Another pilot watch review from Keith Campbell. This month, the Brellum Pilot Power Gauge LE.1. How does it hold up as a tool watch?
Brellum Pilot Power Gauge LE.1 Review
Have you sat in or viewed an aircraft cockpit? Not the large lumbering passenger aircraft that fly you on holiday with their banks of glass screens (although the days of being invited to go and see the cockpit have stopped now due to increased security) but the old vintage cockpits full of hundreds of tiny dials that all have their own important, sometimes critical, reading that sometimes maintain the same position at all times to show something is stable or something that can quickly push its pointer into a red line area that really needs a split-second response from the aircrew as it can be the first sign of imminent disaster.
At a first glance, the new Brellum Pilot Power Gauge LE.1 Chronometer is just another pilot style watch that looks ‘a bit vintage’. But wait – look at the 3 o’clock position to see some extra wrist candy in the form of a power reserve gauge – nice! Function and form have been combined in a very elegant way to create a timepiece that is both extremely functional and aesthetically pleasing as well. Measuring information is key to getting answers. A watch allows you to simply know what time it is and, in the case of a chronograph, how much time has passed since a specific start time. This watch does it with a rather luxurious feel as well.
You can specify stainless steel of DLC coating when you order – it is a bespoke build for you as the customer. The case is 41.8mm in diameter, which takes it into the larger watch category for some people’s wrist, but not large if you consider the design theory. The built size does focus the dial design and accentuates closeness of the sub-dials. Still, a larger case to allow further spacing would make it too large for most people (I wear a Hamilton Takeoff Automatic Chrono quite a bit, and it is 46mm wide, and an Omega Planet Ocean Deep Black that is 45.5mm wide so this feels fine on me – depends greatly upon what you are used to!). Sapphire crystal on the front and rear offer protection and easy viewing. The simple push/ pull crown gives 50m of water resistance – not much, but a practical figure for the intended use. The mushroom-shaped pushers have a good quality feel and a nice solid click to them when pushed, emphasising the quality once again. It comes with a bracelet and an additional (very, very comfortable) Nebur Tec strap to give you options as to how you wear it.
Reminiscent of a cockpit gauge, the dial is black. Large sword hands and Arabic numbers give an easy reading at a glance. Superluminova coating in an Old Radium style gives further subtle hints as to the origin of the design. The power gauge subtly gives just another little piece of information about the watch system, monitoring another reading that can be assessed by periodic checks – once again, something that is routine in a cockpit. You may only elect to check the power reserve that is left when you take the watch off, to check if it needs some winding to see it through to the next time you put it on your wrists. This is really clever and replicates the actual functions of cockpit instruments. Once you know what instruments are where and the readings they are giving, you learn how often to check them – when flying, you don’t check the undercarriage indications as often as you check your compass heading or height. When driving a car, you tend to check your speed a lot more often than you check the fuel gauge, unless you are fuel-critical. You check the time on your dial many more times than you check the date as that is learned behaviour…Subliminal or what? The chronograph is gauged to allow you to measure intervals of up to 12 hours.
Brellum has placed a COSC certified BR-750-PR (based on the well-known and trusted Valjoux 7750 movement) inside to keep it all connected. 48 hours of power is available when the movement is fully wound. One of the many things I do love about the Brellum watches is the exhibition case backs – they each contain a tiny work of art, and this one is no exception. Your individual edition number is engraved into the weight, which also has a head-on aircraft image on it, being based on a Turn and Slip Co-ordinator instrument from a cockpit. Looking further through the rear exhibition window, you can also see the blue screws, Geneva stripes and perlage. 25 jewels are contained within the movement, and it operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour.
Brellum Pilot Power Gauge – the WRUK Verdict
Only 33 watches have been made – I’ve got number 23, and know of several people who own this model, so there are probably not many left… The quality to price ratio of Brellum watches is absolutely awesome in terms of what you are getting. Upon delivery, there was a hand-written note from the watchmaker himself, which is a lovely touch that shows he cares about each and every sale. I am a repeat Brellum customer, and customer service has been second to none, as has been the smile on my face each time I have opened the box to see the new arrival. If you want something that is ‘a bit different’, this should tick the box. If you want something that is ‘a bit vintage’, this should tick the box. If you want something that will make you smile every time you put it on, this definitely ticks the box! You can only buy them through the company website www.brellum. Swiss Hurry, before the last few, go!
Buy a Brellum Pilot Power Gauge
If you want to buy a Berllum watch, you can pick up a Brellum Pilot Power Gauge direct from Brellum while stocks last at https://www.brellum.swiss/en/brellum-pilot-le1-limited.html