Frabrique en France — inform me that’s not a refreshing sight at 6 o’clock! Don’t get me improper, I really like a great German or Swiss flieger, however a recent tackle a traditional fashion is all the time welcome. The MAT (Mer-Air-Terre) Sea-Air-Land Escadron (“squadron” in English) is a distinctly French timepiece that’s immediately recognizable as a pilot watch, but is exclusive in its interpretation of what a contemporary pilot’s watch might be. Daring and aggressive, but stealthy, the Escadron stays true to MAT’s roots as a producer of watches for elite French police models. Do a fast Google seek for the “French RAID” ….yeah, these guys are fairly badass. It’s solely becoming that MAT’s watches match their shoppers’ personae.
Founded in 2007, MAT does its design, prototyping, R&D, manufacturing, and high quality management in-house. Even the straps are made within the model’s Parisian workshop, with leather-based sourced in France. Yup, MAT watches are French through-and-through. One of many few unbiased French watchmakers working at this time, the model acquired its begin by creating watches for the French Particular Forces and has been carefully allied with police and navy ever since. In fact, you don’t have to don a Kevlar vest or ghillie go well with as a way to put on a MAT watch, nevertheless it’s good to know the watch would match proper in.
The Escadron was purpose-built for contemporary pilots and contains a PVD gunmetal coating to keep away from reflections within the cockpit, minutes proven at five-minute intervals for ease of time measurement in flight, and a 12-hour bezel to rapidly modify to a number of time zones with no devoted GMT perform. Overkill? Certain, however that’s fairly the purpose. Let’s see how this function-first pilot watch works day-to-day when solidly planted on terra firma.
Case and Bezel
The case strains of the Escadron are on-brand for MAT. When wanting on the watch from above, essentially the most definable attribute, which is discovered throughout the model’s vary, is the extensively spaced and angular 24mm lugs. The truth is, the lugs are an ideal illustration of why we reviewers at aBlogtoWatch spend weeks, and infrequently months, constantly sporting the watches we overview. At first, I wasn’t a fan of the vast lugs. Principally, I used to be grumpy about the truth that none of my aftermarket straps would match. (I actually wished to see this on a inexperienced NATO.) However after a number of weeks of sporting this watch, I spotted that a lot of its attraction and character comes instantly from the extensively spaced lugs. Regardless that a 22mm lug-width would make it simpler to search out aftermarket straps, it might additionally change the distinctive case form and lose that sure je ne sais quoi.
The case itself is PVD-coated chrome steel in a deep gunmetal hue. The PVD is effectively utilized and enhances the aggressive aesthetic of the watch. The case is angular with minimal beveling and a screw-down crown that’s stable, simple to grip, and silky-smooth. The watch hides its 13.5mm top effectively and doesn’t really feel cumbersome or tall. Add in an AR-coated double-domed sapphire crystal and 200m of water resistance, and the case shouts function-first in the identical voice, however totally different language, as Sinn or Damasko. The small element of drilled lug holes is a welcome addition, making strap modifications a breeze. Flipping the watch over, the caseback is etched with the MAT emblem and technical specs across the exterior. Simple, nothing fancy.
The 12-hour bezel is uni-directional with 120 clicks, glorious motion, and no backplay. I’m a sucker for copperplate numerals (assume Sinn and Bell & Ross), so the font selection on the bezel is spot on in my e-book, and the crimson triangle at 12 provides a pleasant pop of colour. Lume on the bezel numerals would have been welcome, particularly as there isn’t any lume dot on the triangle, however this can be a pilot watch, not a diver, so the shortage of bezel lume isn’t out of the bizarre.
Total, I used to be fairly impressed by the case. Regardless of being 42.5mm in diameter and roughly 50mm lug-to-lug with these vast MAT lugs, it suits comfortably and securely on the wrist. It actually wears smaller than the specs would recommend. The all-around manufacturing high quality is top-notch, and I get pleasure from that the case doesn’t look or really feel like each different pilot watch — it has a personality and character all its personal and one which I’ve discovered charming.
Dial and Fingers
I’ve a smooth spot for darkish grey sunburst and the Escadron’s dial instantly drew me in. It’s a charming dial for such an austere and function-focused watch, and it’s the one space wherein MAT determined to throw in a little bit of extra fashion and character. Relying on the sunshine, you may get hints of copper or bronze within the sunburst, however the sunburst was by no means distracted from legibility, which is all the time excessive as a result of stark white hour and minute markers. Whenever you get to the minute monitor, the radial sunburst modifications to a round texture, subtly differentiating the minute monitor in an natural and engaging method.
The Arabic minutes at five-minute intervals are paying homage to a Baumuster B dial, but lack the interior hour monitor, which permits for a cleaner look total and opens up the dial. The hour markers and palms are utilized with a beneficiant quantity of white lume—that is one thing I respect on darkish dials, as they seem stark white in daylight with no greenish overtones. Textual content on the dial is saved to a minimal with the trendy MAT emblem at 12 and “Automatique” in crimson above 6 o’clock. (I confess, I all the time really feel a nerdy pleasure about different languages on dials — the German “Automatik” on Sinn watches is one other favourite.) That little contact of crimson works brilliantly with the crimson triangle on the bezel. Fortunately, MAT additionally opted to go along with a white-on-black date disc, which aligns seamlessly with the Arabic numerals for the minutes. Stylish.
As a lot as I loved the dial, my one quibble is with the palms. Proportionally, they’re spot on. The difficulty is that the black borders mix in with the darkish dial, making the palms appear barely diminutive. I might have most well-liked both a thinner border on the palms or, ideally, no border in order that the white would prolong to the perimeters.
The MAT Escadron is powered by the tried-and-true ETA 2824-2. Although MAT doesn’t present extra element in regards to the grade of the motion, it has a 42-hour energy reserve and beats at 28.8kbh. The ETA 2824-2 and its doppelgänger, the Sellita SW200-1, are the go-to Swiss actions for watches on this worth vary, so I used to be completely completely happy to see it right here. As anticipated, the motion is operating flawlessly and I’ve no complaints. As famous above, MAT opted for a color-matched date wheel — an ideal selection since a normal black-on-white date window would have been jarring and misplaced.