WatchUSeek team visited Ickler case and watch company in Pforzheim, during our Black Forest tour in July 2019. Ickler company is managed by third-generation owner, Thomas Ickler. He is supported by his daughter Lisa and son Raphael, who help manage various watch brands under the Ickler portfolio, Brands include Archimede, Limes, Autran & Viala and finally, Defakto. Thomas Ickler also manufactures high quality watch cases for several international brands.
Archimede pilot watches have been popular with the military and pilot watch enthusiasts due to their value for money proposition. One of the novelties Lisa Ickler showed us during our visit was their new midsize Pilot 36 Automatic. It appears to be a very good strategy by the brand to capitalize on the trend for smaller case size as well as to compete with Laco and Stowa’s midsize pilot watch.
Ickler used their in-house developed, three-part stainless steel case. For the midsize case, they also designed a new cone-shaped pilot watch crown. The case is finely brushed and has the height of 9.8mm, same as the Pilot 42 models. A sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating provides for perfect readability.
Archimede has an option to have normal luminous black hands, or thermally-heated blue hands (with a slight upcharge). The blue hands on Pilot 36 not only enhance the curb appeal, but also add to the value proposition. Interestingly, Archimede has decided to remove the date from this midsize pilot, but keep the brand name and word “Automatik” on the dial. We wish they would have taken the purist approach of removing the date and keeping the dial sterile. Perhaps with customer feedback, they can offer sterile dial as an option. They do offer this an option in the Pilot 42 series.
Pilot 36 is powered by ETA 2824 automatic movement, and it can be purchased with leather strap with a rivet (in three colors), or on a stainless-steel bracelet. When we tried the watch, even on a 7.5” wrist, it did not seem disproportionate. A flat case, large crown, and bold numbers creates an optical illusion to make objects appear larger than they are.
Archimede is offering free personalized engraving for orders placed through their website before September 15, 2019.
Case: 36mm, 9.8mm height, 18mm lugs, 43mm lug-to-lug
Hands: Luminous black or thermally-heated blue
Crystal: Sapphire front, Mineral case back
Movement: ETA 2824 Automatic
Strap: Pilot style leather or stainless steel bracelet
Price: From €740 to €940 (including VAT tax)
Photo Credit: Ondrej Vislocky and Mike Stuffler