Aurelos Zephyr

Keep your eyes on Kickstarter, because there is somthing coming that I think Time Bum readers are going to like. The Aurelos Zephyr is 1960’s style pilot’s chronograph with a Seiko MechaQuartz movement, a lumed ceramic bezel, and an early bird price that is expected to squeak in under $200. Aurelos let me borrow two prototypes for this review, and they are very tempting.


I’d describe the Zephyr as a dressed up military watch. The white-on-black Arabic number dial, two-register layout and timing bezel all indicate that the Zephyr is a tool watch, but polished case, shiny ceramic insert, and applied and polished markers, hands, and logo, provide a degree of releflection you would never want in the field. It reminds me of some of the more recent incarnations of the Breguet Type XX/XXI where a jet age air force design has been jazzed up with brightwork for more genteel civilian pursuits.


The case measures 42mm wide, 48mm long, and a slim 12mm thick. As a result, it wears smaller than many 42mm watches, filling (but not overwhelming) my 6.5” wrist, and tucking neatly under a buttoned shirt cuff. The lugs are bevelled on the inside, but you need to pay close attention to see it because the edge is soft and further obscured by the polished surfaces. It doesn’t harm the Zephyr’s looks, but it is disappointing to see a element like that getting lost for no reason. A crisp edge between the two surfaces would elevate the overall appearance of the case.


There will be three versions from which to choose. I sampled two black dial, black bezel models, one of which had gold hands and markers. A black dial, blue bezel version will also be available. I confess, I was not initially on board with polished elements on the dial. The gold in particular seemed out of place on this jet fighter’s timepiece. Once I had it on my wrist for a day, it began to click. Those shiny bits lend just the right touch of refinement to an otherwise utilitarian design. It’s an appealing look that will be appreciated by those of us who must spend a good part of our time in suit and tie. You might say it is a dress watch for people who hate dress watches.


Of course, if you need to press it into service, the Zephyr will oblige. The Seiko VK64 is a proven quartz unit, featuring a smooth 1/5 second sweep, and a sharp snap back on return courtesy of its mechanical chronograph module. The ceramic bezel and sapphire crystal are highly scratch resistant, and SuperLuminova on the hands, markers, and bezel will let you carry on into the night. I really appreciate the lumed bezel. That is a major value-add in my book. Bezel action was very good, especially for a prototype, moving with firm clicks through its 120 position rotation. Water resistance is only 50m, which is perfectly servicable for an everyday watch, and more than most pilots would need (water and airplanes don’t generally mix). It is well shy of what you would normally seek in a tool watch, but again, the Zephyr has a different mission.


Aurelos supplies the Zephyr with a suitably dapper 22mm leather strap. It is hand made, lightly padded, and has a slight sheen. It also comes fitted with quick release pins. The black/silver model wore a black strap with matching stitching, which was perfectly nice, but I preferred the light brown with contrasting white stitching that arrived on the gold accented version.

Pricing is not yet available, but the folks at Arelos tell me that the earliest of birds will be able to order one for less than $200 and that is a very nice deal. If you would like to get in on it, be sure to register for updates at Aurelos.com. ⬩


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