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Stories

Guinand Starfighter Pilot II Chronograph

Mach 2 for the wrist
The Pilot Watch Magazine
Guinand
18 March 2024

Homage to a legendary Bundeswehr pilot watch of the sixties

Launched in 2021, Guinand’s Starfighter Pilot II pilot’s watch not only pays homage to the legendary Bundeswehr chronograph by Heuer from the 1960s, but it also represents a harmonious fusion of aviation history and modern technology. The elegantly designed timepiece with its matte black Bi-Compax dial, discreetly recessed chronograph counter and hour numerals in the characteristic typography of 1960s pilot watches, still pays tribute to the courageous pilots of the legendary Lockheed F-104 Starfighter – a fighter aircraft that was unparalleled in its day in terms of speed, climb performance and maneuverability.

Superlative jet fighter

The inspiration for the Guinand Starfighter Pilot II Chronograph is a pilot’s watch from the tradition-steeped Swiss watchmaker Heuer, which was worn in the 1960s in particular by the pilots of the legendary Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. Its groundbreaking performance, innovative design and role in aviation history make the Starfighter one of the most significant jet fighters ever. With a combination of revolutionary design – slender fuselage, small, far-rear wings, distinctive T-tail – and outstanding performance, the F-104 stands out impressively from its contemporaries to this day.

Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter / NARA
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter / NARA

The Starfighter is the first aircraft ever to simultaneously hold the records for maximum climb rate, top speed and altitude. As early as the late 1950s, for example, the fighter was rocketing to an altitude of 31.5 kilometers at a rate of climb of up to 244 meters per second and a speed of 2.2 Mach. Although the United States Air Force uses the Starfighter only on a limited scale, it becomes the main combat aircraft of many NATO countries. Especially in Europe, despite frequent technical problems, the F-104 is very popular with pilots of the German Bundeswehr or the Italian Air Force – with the latter, the jet is in service until 2004 before it is finally retired.

The pilot’s chronograph is a unique reminiscence of the classic of the jet age, at that time mainly delivered to the pilots of the Lockheed Starfighter.

Guinand
Starfighter Pilot II / Guinand
Starfighter Pilot II / Guinand
Starfighter Pilot II / Guinand

The Design

Pilot chronographs have been popular with watch enthusiasts for decades, especially due to their good readability and operability, originally developed for military purposes. Guinand’s Starfighter Pilot Chronograph II translates the historic charm of these timepieces into today with modern robustness and an up-to-date automatic movement.

The glass-bead blasted stainless steel case with bicompax dial – that is, with additional indications at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions – is distinguished by its deep black and matte finish. It is equipped with hour numerals covered with a particularly intense luminous material. The finely crafted hands and markers ensure optimal readability even under unfavorable lighting conditions. The two subdials are slightly recessed and have beveled edges.

The model has a diameter of about 41 millimeters, a height of 15.4 millimeters and is suitable not only for people with strong wrists. The two subdials, the grippy bezel and the two classic pushers give the watch the typical charm of a pilot’s chronograph – although the Guinand Starfighter Pilot Chronograph II is not a replica, but the appealing and modern interpretation of its historical model.

The Case

The case of the Starfighter Pilot II Chronograph is classically proportioned and belongs to the Pilot’s Chronograph Series 40. It has protected pushers, a screw-down crown with triple sealing system and offers pressure resistance up to 20 bar. The stainless steel pilot’s bezel, coated with anthracite-black hard material, can be rotated in both directions and allows short time stops up to 60 minutes. The watch features scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glasses on both sides – a slightly domed and internally anti-reflective glass in the front, and a flat glass in the back.

The movement

The SW510A movement is based on the VJ7750 movement introduced in 1973, which is still considered one of the most sophisticated and reliable chronograph calibers. It was developed in the early 1970s, continuously improved and is ideal for mechanical pilot chronographs. With the SW510, chronographs can be designed with both Bicompax and Tricompax dials. Guinand sources the movement in a special version from Switzerland.

The differences from the previous model

The two most concise differences from the well-known previous version Starfighter Pilot Chronograph are, firstly, the diameter reduced from 42.6 millimeters to 40.7 millimeters and the new pilot watch case. Inside the second generation of the timepiece, Guinand uses an adapted sealing system for the crown, pushers and back, as well as a rotating bezel on the outside that can now be rotated in both directions and locks into place with minute precision, with a black hard material coating. While the predecessor model is also available in a left- and right-handed version, the Starfighter Pilot II Chronograph is exclusively available in the version with crown and pusher on the right-hand side.

Short and sweet

  • Pilot watch: Guinand Starfighter Pilot II Chronograph
  • Case: Stainless steel, ⌀ 41 millimeters, sapphire crystal, water resistant to 20 bar
  • Movement: automatic, caliber SW510, 60 hours power reserve
  • Functions: Hour, minute, small second, chronograph with 30-minute counter and large stop second
  • Strap: leather, metal
  • Price: 2,000 Euro
  • Year: 2021

More information at guinand-uhren.de

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