Keith Campbell takes a look at the Pitot Watches F-14 Tomcat: is it, as its name suggests, the Top Gun of watches?
Pitot Watches F-14 Tomcat Review
It’s the bottom of the 9th, the score is tied. It’s time for the big one. You up for this one, Maverick?
As someone who has spent a fair amount of time in fast jets and as a self-confessed avgeek, I was quite excited to see these watches in their design stage several years ago. The journey to production was a long one for various reasons but it was eventually successful and, through a successful Kickstarter campaign, they made their way onto the open market. What has been produced is a little gem of a watch and it comes in several different Tomcat-themed versions.
They are not designed in the normal ‘pilot’ watch layout, but have a stylised look that has been purposefully planned across the range (a target-rich environment) to pay homage to the mighty US Navy F-14 Tomcat, made famous to all in the Top Gun movie starring Tom Cruise in 1986. As a teenager, as I was learning to fly, I had a VHS cassette that was edited down to purely the flying scenes. It was very much a formative movie for me!
Anyway, will these watches live up to my hopes and dreams? Have I lost that loving feeling with them or will the fancy flying impress me? I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. OK, I’ll write it down for you to read, so we should all be fine… I can’t shoot it, so let’s see if we can have a little fun.
The name Pitot was the surname of Frenchman Henri Pitot. He invented the pitot tube, which are found on all aircraft and helicopters. It consists of tubes or vents that are used to measure static and dynamic pressure to allow variables such as speed and altitude to be read from the cockpit instruments. Design and development have been carried out by a former RDAF aircraft technician. Currently under development is a watch designed around the F/A-18 Super Hornet, hopefully in time for Top Gun 2!
The case is manufactured from 316L stainless steel. The case sides are designed to resemble the air intakes of the Tomcat with black PVC inserts and hex screws. All in all not an earth-shattering design, but certainly something a little different, which must be applauded when a lot of manufacturers are possibly playing it safe and not taking risks by making something a bit different. It is 45mm wide with a height of 12mm. The lug to lug is identical to the width at 45mm. The strap is 22mm and a good quality Horween leather or nylon which complements the different designs very well.
Looking through the anti-reflection coated sapphire crystal, you can see the target-rich environment within. Each of the designs is completely unique, so you decide which is the best of the best for yourself. Lume is very good indeed, showing you’re a lot brighter than you look…
Power is provided via a Seiko NH35A movement, ticking away at 21,600 bph – nice and dependable, in case your life depends upon it. When it rolls inverted, you can see through the open case back into the movement as another nod to the F-14 is seen in the Tomcat shaped rotor. Great balls of fire!
If you feel the need, the need for speed, this could be just the watch range for you. It could be your wingman any time. Yes, the designs are a bit quirky, but something different is viewed by me in this instance as something good. Further aircraft-inspired designs are in the pipeline from Pitot, and if they are as good as these, they should prove very popular amongst the aviation fraternity. I’ve flown with one on my wrist a few times and it has survived that as well, which is a good indicator of a sturdy timepiece. Are these watches the best of the best? Talk to me, Goose…