Off the Cuff: Halios Fairwind

Lim and Hailos produce primarily water-resistant sports watches of the highest quality for prices within reach of the enthusiast community. And each release, in its own small way, is treated like the launch–if you’ll excuse the paradox–of a microbrand icon. The Fairwind is no exception.

Off the Cuff: Whitby Avro Pilot

The Avro Pilot is available in three colourways: Black, Navy, and Grey. Each iteration is limited to 105 pieces, in honour of the aircraft’s designation series. Like the Arrow, the Avro is a Flieger-styled pilot’s watch with a 43mm titanium case and oversized crown. It also employs AR-coated sapphire crystal, but rather than a solid etched caseback, the Avro has a sapphire exhibition glass.

Off the Cuff: DIY Watch Club

To begin, the DIY Watch Club Diver Series Kit strikes me as a good value proposition. If you price out the various components required for building a watch from scratch, add in the shipping and duty, and then consider all of the tools you will need to carry out the operation, $350USD begins to look pretty good. And I have also seen these kits go on sale recently for as much as 30% off. The added benefit for an inexperienced modder/builder is that nothing gets left out.

Off the Cuff: Vanbanner Parkingmaster

Legend has it that the idea behind the Parkingmaster came to LV after watching a YouTube video where a woman mentioned that she used her bezel to time parking meters. Of course, the majority of dive watches sold today never do anything more adventurous than “desk diving,” so why not repurpose the appendix? While the Parkingmaster bezel appears, and functions, more-or-less like a traditional dive bezel, it does have a “red zone” indicating that you should return to your car and feed the meter. I think that this cheeky addition would also function nicely as a wily wink among other watch enthusiasts.

Off the Cuff: Aevum Advance Carbon

In 2019, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Aevum released its second automotive-inspired watch, the Advance. The Carbon Limited is the latest in this new series and maintains all of the automotive references of the original Advance. Its name refers to ignition timing, or the moment a spark plug fires during its compression stroke to provide more power.

Off the Cuff: The Ambassador GMT by Whitby Watch Co.

The Ambassador takes it lead from the Flieger tradition which put the Whitby Watch Co. on the map, but then banks hard right with more contemporary design cues. The lovely sweep of its traditional stainless-steel pilot-style case offers a choice of modern updates: a brash brushed silver or a deep black PVD.

Off the Cuff: The Limited Edition Arrow Pilot Watch

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.

Off the Cuff: The Retras Dive Watch

It is the platonic ideal of a vintage dive watch. It ticks all the boxes and leaves nothing wanting…once you’ve held it, if you didn’t know better, you’d swear to have come across a NOS version of a true vintage diver that had been waiting patiently in someone’s drawer for you to come along and claim it as your own.

Off The Cuff: The TFP Windrose

In some respects, The Windrose defies categorization. It is not a dive watch, in the traditional sense, though it enjoys 200 meters water resistance with a screw-down crown. With its dearth of legible numerals, it certainly isn’t a field or pilot’s watch. Its bezel does not have a tachymeter, diving increments, or a 24-hour GMT function. In fact, it’s fixed. But in a weird way, that’s what is so attractive about this piece. It’s not like anything else.