Here at Bridge and Barrel, we love the big brands and some of the beautiful watches they produce year after year, but we also pride ourselves on bringing quality and affordable watches to the masses. Archimede is a brand that embodies the very same spirit, by providing a top-notch look with very affordable pricing.
The history of Archimede originates in 1924, where ICKLER started making cases in Pforzheim, Germany. Nowadays, Archimede provides the designs, ICKLER the cases, and the movements are sourced from ETA and Sellita.
Under the Archimede banner are a number of models, including dive watches, marine watches and dress watches, however they are best known for their pilot watches.
The layout of the Pilot Chronograph is something you will be well accustomed to. Subdials at 12, 6 and 9 shows 30 minute, hour and running seconds respectively. At 3 is the Archimede branding, in a nice, bold text.
The finishing of the case features brushed and polished parts, which play off each other nicely The dial is protected by sapphire crystal with double-sided AR crystal. There is great attention to detail here, with sharp edges and fine casework, and without a doubt, the clearest sapphire crystal we’ve ever seen. It’s almost like there isn’t anything between you and the dial, thanks to the excellent use of anti-reflective coating.
The watch wears pretty well for its 13.6mm thickness. A 42mm diameter gives it a substantial wrist presence without compromising versatility. The 50m water resistance doesn’t inspire confidence for any more than a light splash, but it serves the purpose for a daily wearer or sports watch, because who really takes pilot watches diving?
If I had one gripe with the watch, it would be the open caseback. Whilst we don’t think of ourselves as movement snobs here, the decoration on the ETA 7750 Elabore movement is nothing special (although it’s technically the top end movement), and we think it truer to the history of the pilot watches to include a closed caseback. A 45 Euro premium gets you the solid caseback. Whether or not that’s worth it is for you to decide, however it’s certainly not a deal-breaker.
The Pilot Chronograph comes with either a black, brown or light brown strap, each with rivets. A stainless steel bracelet is available for an extra 130 Euro. A black PVD case is also available.
The reviewed model sits at 1214 Euro (without VAT), which lands it in Australia (without import charges) at roughly 1870 AUD. There aren’t many brands providing this quality and style at this price.
For those looking for a well finished pilots watch, its difficult to look any further for a value proposition. For any less money, attention to detail and casework decreases, and for any more money, the returns diminish.