Watches are still fairly new territory to me, which is a bit dangerous. Once you have a good grip on a hobby you can make educated purchases based on what you want, what you can afford, and what provides the best value; when you’re just getting started, you often think you know these things but in fact you do not. With that reasoning, I’ve been approaching my newfound interest in watches very carefully. After all, it’s hard to call a watch purchase ‘necessary’ if all they do is perform the same task that our phones have excelled at for years.
With that said, I’ve been looking out for a more casual watch for everyday occasions. Wearing my grandfather’s Omega Seamaster (below) taught me that I do love wearing a watch, but it also quickly became apparent that this particular watch would be a bit too formal (and delicate) for hard use. I knew that I had no chance of making a purchase anywhere near the same caliber on my second watch, so the search for an affordable (but durable) weekend counterpart began.
The biggest thing keeping me from purchasing a casual watch has been size; I just don’t like watches over 40mm that much, and my small ectomorph wrists feel the same way. Unfortunately, sport watches of this size are very hard to come by (especially in the Pilot/Flieger style, in which large size was critical for readability during flights). Enter Mike, the guy behind CountyComm – an e-commerce site specializing in government products. I’ve worked with Mike many times over the past year through Massdrop, so I’ve had many opportunities to check out his products in person. My favorite piece in his shop is the Mid-Pilot watch, a slightly smaller version of the original Mid-Pilot that just happens to come in at a nifty 39mm.
The Mid-Pilot is more or less identical to its big brother and has the same specs – Miyota 8245 movement, domed sapphire glass, stainless steel case, 100M water resistance, and so forth. It also maintains the same 12.5mm thickness, so this fact combined with the smaller diameter gives it a sturdy, stout profile. I’ll leave the technical review to Worn & Wound, but in general I’ll say that it feels as solid as a tank, is a pleasure to wind, and is a great complement to more utilitarian clothing (at least when compared to my other timepiece!).
All told, I find that the Mid offers a great combination of the enjoyment that comes from wearing a nice mechanical watch along with a price and construction that allow it to be a somewhat knockaround piece. I’ve been wearing my Mid frequently on denim-and-untucked-shirt days, as well as when I’m hiking, running, and doing other activities that don’t happen frequently enough. There are other beautiful pilot watches out there, to be sure – Stowa comes to mind – but I’m definitely not emotionally ready for watch purchases of that caliber (and if I did, Nomos would be first on my hit list). There’s also this Flieger from South Korean brand Tisell, but for purely casual wear I prefer the Maratac (Jason has a great review of it here, though). So although I may not yet have all the technical chops to give a WIS-approved review, I can say that the Maratac Mid is a welcome addition to my small collection.