CEO and author, Don Scales, once wrote for Forbes, “Your brand is only as good as your narrative.”
As you peel back the layers of the Whitby Watch Co., you quickly realize just how many stories have converged here to forge their narrative. Founded in Whitby on the shores of Lake Ontario—former home to the ill-fated 19th century Canada Clock Company—this young upstart is steeped in history. In fact, they wrap themselves in it. You might even say, it’s their raison d’être.
The Arrow Pilot Watch furthers the narrative which began with the company’s successful Intrepid Diver. While this first watch resurrected the memory of Sir William Stephenson—a WWII Canadian operative—the Arrow grounds itself in the most controversial moment of Canadian military aviation.
In 1959, the Avro Arrow CF-105—an inceptor capable of Mach 2—was inexplicably moth-balled by then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. All twelve prototypes were crashed into Lake Ontario. The plans destroyed. The parts and pieces sold for scrap.
The legend of this fighter jet and the cancelling of the program loom large in the nation’s history. Many of the engineers who worked on this project subsequently left Canada to work at NASA and eventually placed a man on the moon. The Arrow Pilot Watch is a nod to this zenith in Canadian aviation.
And what an attractive nod it is.
With the Arrow, Whitby have opted for traditional Flieger-style aesthetics. Think Stowa. Think Laco. But their choice of materials is decidedly modern.
The Limited Edition Arrow has an elegantly designed case with swooping lugs, measuring 43mm in diameter and 50.5mm end to end. It is fashioned from brushed titanium which lends it a warmth and an aged appearance. The model shown here has the Type B dial, with minute indicators around the outside and a smaller 12-hour dial with Arabic numerals on a second inner ring. The sword hands are bold and the sweeping second is a long fine needle extended to outer limits of the dial.
The Type A variant has a more traditional Flieger appearance with a single 12-hour dial and seemingly slimmer hands, perhaps due to their coloured borders.
Both use C3 Super-luminova.
The strap is a thick, tightly stitched black leather with titanium rivets. It is comfortable on wrist and of obvious quality. There is a slickness to it which would suggest that it is perhaps coated or treated for moisture resistance. The buckle, likewise, is matching titanium and sturdily built.
This version of the Arrow is powered by Seiko’s NH35 automatic movement—a favourite among microbrands. It has a 41-hour power reserve.
- NH35A (Seiko)
- 21,600 alternations/hour
- 24 Jewels
- 40 Hour power reserve
- Aircraft Grade Titanium
- 43mm Case Diameter
- 12mm Case Thickness
- 50.5mm Lug to Lug
- Signed crown
- 5ATM (50 metres water resistance)
- Anti Reflective Sapphire
- Leather with Titanium Buckle and Rivets
These Fliegers are designed in Canada and made in Germany—the country of origin for Fliegers. They were only recently restocked and are almost sold out again. They retail for $395CAD (approx. $310USD) and are now on holiday sale for only $335.75CAD ($260USD). A stylish carrying case with room for extra straps, or a second watch, is included.
At 43mm in case diameter, the Arrow isn’t giant (original Fliegers measured 55mm!), but it isn’t small either. In a bezel-less watch, a lot of real estate is dedicated to the dial. This lends to the perception of size and the way a watch wears on the wrist. So does the large crown. This isn’t so much a complaint, as it is a simple fact. If you have a small wrist (less than 7 inches, say), be aware this may seem large to you. Also, the NH35 is date movement, so there is a ghost position as you pull out the crown.
In many ways, the Flieger is the ultimate expression of a toolwatch. Its original design had a single-mindedness about that is carried forth in the Arrow: legibility and performance under harsh conditions. The Arrow Pilot is a handsome piece of genuine quality. Its case is traditional with hints of contemporary flair–such as the precipitous, squared-off drop at the end of the lugs, or the more machined look of the crown. The titanium makes it light and easy to wear, but also suits the heritage design in colour. The dial is highly legible with great lume. And while I’m sure that it would be a strap monster, I can’t imagine why you’d ever want to change the riveted leather. It just fits the era and design of the Flieger so well. I like the narrative the Whitby Watch Co. has begun to weave. But the Arrow is more than a just good story. It’s a titanium German-made Flieger with a Seiko automatic movement well below $300USD. Snap one up while you can.
Check out their website for more info.
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