Heitis Aviator

Like many microbrand owners, DJ Heider began by modifying watches. This led him to attend watchmaking school, and to ultimately start Heitis, a line of quartz watches that he assembles in his Buffalo, New York workshop. He is committed to keeping his watches affordable, and indeed, he has three models, all of which sell for under $200. This is quite appealing to The Time Bum’s innate sense of cheapness, so I borrowed a bead blasted Heitis Aviator to check it out.

The Aviator is a large (44mm) pilot's watch with a stainless steel case and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Buyers may choose a matte bead blasted or PVD black case. It has a Flieger Type-B layout featuring a white navigator's triangle and a 60-mark index on the raised, outer ring of its black dial, a red 12-hour index inside that, and then a white 24-hour index in the center. It is a lot to pack into a small space, but the lower contrast red printing breaks things up just enough to keep the dial legible. The dial’s center manages to house the brand name and model (in tiny red print) as well as some old-fashioned Air Force wings and even a three-day date window. It fits, but I think the winged star is one element too much. A little blank space would have afforded the dial some breathing room.

Low light illumination is impressive, popping to life with a bright green glow. DJ chose white and red sword hands for the Aviator. It is a combination more often used on divers, but it works well with the Aviator’s size and tool watch inspiration. Pilot’s watches are not expected to go diving, but given that they are commonly worn as casual pieces, I have found it best if they can provide more than nominal water resistance. Heitis does so, offering protection to 50m.

Like other Heitis watches, the Aviator uses a quartz movement, in this case, the Swiss Ronda 705. It may not be the sexiest movement, but it is a perfectly capable and should give accurate, trouble-free service. Battery life is an impressive 60 months. It is hidden behind a neatly engraved back plate.

You get two 20mm riveted leather straps with the Aviator, one brown, one black. The leather is shiny and a bit cheap looking, but the straps are fitted with quick release spring bars that make swapping a breeze. Both are fitted with signed butterfly deployant clasps, which is a nice touch, especially for the price. Generally, I am not a fan of the butterfly because they tend to add too much bulk, but I didn’t mind them at all on the Aviator as it is already a fairly large watch, and not one I would ever wear with a buttoned cuff. The clasps are signed and blasted to match the case.

Overall, the Aviator is a fine choice. I like the fact that it is made by a fellow enthusiast and the price is hard to beat – just $189.99 including two to three-day domestic shipping. For more information or the place an order, visit heitiswatch.com. ⬩
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