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REVIEW: The NFW AutoPilot>>>>>>>>>>>



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JBHII

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Published on 05-18-2009 10:51 AM

Number of Views: 3795

Review of the NFW AutoPilot

Reviewing $100,000.00 watches from the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, or A. Lange & Söhne like I do for magazines such as InSync is certainly fun. But I also enjoy helping lesser known brands get exposure too – brands which make mechanical watches at a more universally affordable price point. George J. Fox’s watch brand NFW is such a brand, and he recently sent me an example of his new AutoPilot.

I find that unique and practical packaging really goes a long way in a value priced timepiece, and the NFW AutoPilot comes with some pretty neat packaging:

box1.jpg


Here's a shot of the watch inside:

box2.jpg


This tough, practical looking box is quite evocative of the watch contained inside the box.

Also contained inside the box are the included accessories:

box3.jpg


The watch comes with a 2nd (rubber) strap, hex screwdrivers needed to do a strap change, and an instruction manual. A very complete package, which again affirms you get a lot for a relatively small price of admission with the AutoPilot.

watch1.jpg


Here's a close-up of the dial. You don't get much more legible than this large, high contrast dial with ample sized sword hands, and the trade mark trident NFW logo 2nd hand.

watch2.jpg


When the lights go out, the SuperLuminova coated hands and markers provide plenty of low light visibility:

watch6.jpg


The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal, which has an anti-reflective coating applied to the underside of the crystal.

Looking at the back of the timepiece, we can see that the AutoPilot has a sapphire crystal display back for viewing the Miyota 8215:

watch3.jpg


From a finishing and decoration standpoint, the Miyota in the 8215 is completely no-frills and bare bones - almost no decoration has been applied to this movement. Some may question the logic in putting a display back on this watch to view this "ugly duckling" movement. However, I think it's a good idea because a watch like the Autopilot has the potential to be a starting point in the world of mechanical watches for many. Being able to see how the movement functions is a huge benefit for the entry level mechanical watch buyer - Invicta has for many years had a display back on their Pro Diver watches which use the exact same movement. The tried and true Miyota 8215 is a 21 jewel automatic movement, with a uni-directional rotor. The movement is a true work horse, and has been a dependable engine in service for well over 20 years. The movement is non-hacking, is tricky to regulate, and won't win any beauty contests, but it's reasonably accurate (most examples run +/- 10 seconds per day) and very dependable. It's a perfect choice for a watch like the AutoPilot. Despite having a display back, the AutoPilot has an impressive water resistance rating of 200 Meters/660 Feet which is on par with many "diving watches."

In addition to the rubber strap, the AutoPilot comes with a nice Italian leather strap (stamped with the NFW logo). It is well padded and which comfortable - extremely high quality for a watch at this price point:

watch4.jpg


The Panerai-style buckles on the staps are case matching stainless steel and also are stamped with the NFW logo. The buckle is designed with a cutout on the buckle's underside so that when it's being worn, the buckle lays very flat against the wrist, with the strap literally fitting right into that cutout. According to NFW, they sell quite a few watches to military personnel, firefighters, police officers, etc. great care was taken to make sure the buckle would lay as flat as possible against the wrist to minimize the chances of getting caught on something, which could, in some circumstances, endanger the wearer.

watch5.jpg


The AutoPilot has a large knurled winding crown which is easily griped and turned. I noted that the crown had the tendency to rub the insides of the crown cards when winding, and asked George Fox about this, and here's what he had to say:


"We’ve actually found that this helps make the crown easier to screw down. However, I don’t like having that play in there. Our engineers have been working on finding a way to give that a more stable feel. So, I think that our next production run will reduce that somewhat loose feel that’s inherent in the Miyotas. Other than that, we’ve had great results with the Miyotas.

I also intentionally designed the crown guards to really hold that crown firmly in place so that it can’t be snapped off (kind of like hands around a throat!). A lot of people end up buying our watches who know nothing about a screw-down crown, particularly a lot of the pro athletes. As you know, a screw-down crown system can be vulnerable to the stem being snapped when the crown isn’t screwed down, especially when a large crown is used on the watch. The close crown guards really help protect that crown even when it’s unscrewed."


For those interested in ordering the NFW AutoPilot, NFW authorized dealers sell them for $595.00 for the automatic and $495.00 for the quartz chronograph. However, NFW sells them direct for $385 for the autos and $350 for the chronos. To buy direct simply email NFW President George Fox at [email protected].

**Photos & Text Copyright 2009 WATCH TALK FORUMS. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.


This article was originally published in forum thread:

REVIEW: The NFW AutoPilot>>>>>>>>>>>
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