Lesablier Aviateur VQ

I first encountered Lesablier Watches at the 2018 District Time Show in Washington, DC. This local microbrand had just launched the Aviateur VQ, a 24-hour Watch with an instrument-inspired dial. They let have some time with one of their limited edition (500 pieces total) watches for this review. 

Lesablier Aviateur VQ
VQ is short for vingt-quatre, or twenty-four in French (and sadly, that is about all I remember from my high school French classes), and 24-hour watches are a curious thing. This method of timekeeping is useful in environments where an absence or abundance of light can blur standard am-pm distinctions, but unless you are on a submarine, a polar research station, or living in a bunker, you probably don’t need one. Of course, 24-hour time is the norm in aviation and the military, but I haven’t known anyone in those fields who wears a 24-hour watch. For them, it’s just ingrained, so they will look at a 12-hour analog watch and say, “let’s regroup at 14:00 for a status update” as if it were totally normal and not the pronouncement of a robot wearing human skin.

That said, there is a healthy segment of the watch community (see the Watchuseek 24-hour Watch Forum) that loves the purity of a 24-hour watch, and many collectors, myself included, have succumbed to their charms. After all, when you think about it, it’s the 12-hour clock that makes no sense.
Lesablier Aviateur VQ wrist shot

Which finally brings us to the VQ. For a watch with military and aviation inspiration, its case takes a very different tack. You might expect an instrument inspired watch to have a blocky, square case and exposed screws but Lesablier steered clear of that cliché, instead choosing a more wearable, round, stainless steel case that is 41mm wide, 45.8mm long, and just 7mm thick. The overall appearance is soft, with rounded bezel and curvy lugs that are clipped at the ends. The VQ has a domed and AR-coated sapphire crystal and its 50m water resistance rating is on par for a pilot’s watch. It is bead blasted matte gray.

Lesablier Aviateur VQ crown

I’m not crazy about the VQ’s crown. I have no issue with its function. Pulling it to its second position advances both hands together while the first position advances only the hour hand. Its form, on the other hand, leaves me cold. I find its 2 o’clock position awkward, its polished finish distracting, and its size is just a shade too small. I don’t believe the VQ needed an enormous onion, but something with a bit more substance and a matte finish would have better suited the stealthy case.

Lesablier Aviateur VQ case back

Both the crown and case back are engraved and filled with black enamel. There is an hourglass (or “sablier”) on the crown and the case back bears an ornate floral decoration. It secures with four screws. Inside is the VQ’s Swiss Ronda 515.24h quartz movement.

Lesablier Aviateur VQ

The high contrast white on glossy black dial is an imaginative combination of a Flieger Type-B and an aircraft’s attitude indicator. An artificial horizon in the center of the dial serves to delineate day from night hours. This central section has a radius only slightly larger than the hour hand, and it is here that 24-hour markers appear. A navigation triangle sits on top. A minute index marked in increments of five occupies the dial’s outermost perimeter. Dial text is sandwiched between the two; the full brand name arcing over the top and the serial number and series designation is printed at the bottom.

Lesablier Aviateur VQ lume

The hands are polished, semi-skeletonized, and lumed. In fact, there is not a single element of this dial that isn’t. The effect at night is impressive, glowing bright green with every line in sharp relief. My only quibble is with the minute hand. It is positioned far above the hour hand on the pinion, which looks a bit odd, and it is not quite long enough. The hour hand extends right to the edge of the hour circle but the minute only goes so far as to graze the numbers. Just a touch further would have brought the tip right to the minute index.

Lesablier Aviateur VQ

Buyers may choose Terracotta brown or Midnight Black padded leather straps. They are 22mm wide tapering to signed, polished buckle. It is a quality strap that fit my skinny 6.75” wrist with an adjustment hole to spare.

The VQ is not without its quirks, but it is an attractive, distinctive, watch that successfully incorporates traditional aviation design cues into a unique package. The Aviateur VQ sells for $295 at LesablierWatches.com.

Lesablier Aviateur VQ buckle

Share:
© The Time Bum | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig