A new, limited edition Early Bird from AirNautic
This project grew and came to fruition from enthusiasts at Watchuseek’s “24 Hour Forum”, where I’m moderator, and the “Ocean7/AirNautic Forum”, where owner Mitch Feig embraced the idea.
We wanted a modern version of this watch, the Ollech & Wajs Early Bird. It’s circa the mid 1960’s and is named for the world’s first telecommunication satellite. From my collection:
The original has a manual movement without a date, an acrylic crystal, is 38mm wide with a 19mm lug, and is rated to 20 ATM. Many of us consider it among the most legible, attractive, and functional of 24 hour vintage watches. It has been popular with pilots and soldiers. It’s also becoming quite the “rare Bird” J.
Our modern, cost effective solution will be to use the existing Ocean7 G-1 case (UPDATE: the case back will be labeled “AirNautic”) with a new bezel insert, dial, and hands. Here is a stock G-1 just for reference….
And here are the specifications...
42mm at the bezel, 13.5mm thick, and 22mm lug width
Dial: Will use C3 Superluminova on all the markers, hands and bezel dot. Unlike the original Early Bird, the Arabic numerals on the dial will not glow. There is a date display (white on black) at the lower right corner (0900). This is unobtrusive enough to please both those who need a date and those who like the clean look of the original date-free dial.
Case: Screw down crown and water rated to 30 ATM
Crystal: Flat sapphire with AR (antireflective) coating on the underside only, no “Cyclops” magnifier.
Bracelet: Oyster style bracelet attached using spring bars and using screw pins in the links. The clasp is flip-lock style. Does have diver's extension (allows for use over a wetsuit but does somewhat limit the quick adjustment springbar holes on the clasp).
Bezel: The bezel in unidirectional in ratcheting clicks. It may be possible for the owner to remove the bezel and then remove the one-way spring, thus enabling a bidirectional friction bezel as on the original Early Bird. This would be up to the owner’s discretion. I will look at mine when it arrives to study this, and post updates for you.
Movement: Swiss ETA 2893..Elabore grade
Box: AirNautic leatherette box with polishing cloth and warranty card
If you're interested in all the discussions, here's the link to the development threads...
G-1 / O&W Early Bird homage idea...
Here is an approximation of the design as finalized (yes, this is FINAL J ). Note: the date display will be horizontal, in a circular window, and a bit smaller than pictured.
The date display will be white on black in a circular window with the number horizontal....in the style of the date on the AN24…
Important note from Mitch: There may be minor variations from the drawing in both the shape, proportions, and colors of anything and everything. Those who send a deposit must accept that. The CAD drawing is just a drawing, not a photograph of an actual watch.
Only 50 of these watches are planned to be produced (the minimum possible). There is no guarantee more won’t be made later, but there are no plans or ambitions in that regard at this time. The watches, though very limited in number, will not be individually “numbered”. As many as twenty $200 non-refundable deposits will be needed before the watches can be ordered. Once ordered, delivery may take less than 90 days. After the first 20 orders are received, pre-ordering will cease and the special pre-order price will disappear. After that time, orders can be placed through Mitch’s regular channels at Ocean7/AirNautic.
The price for the production watch (the final 30 pieces not reserved) will be somewhere around $649 or more (to be determined).
The pre-order price per watch will be $549.
This is an amazing deal for a limited number homage watch with these specifications.
Once the projects goes forth, and I post here that the next step has arrived, it's your responsibility to complete the order through the AirNautic website. Watches will be held for 60 days...After that (without completing the order) the deposit would be lost to the AirNautic company.
I plan to move on this project quickly, with as little delay as possible between you and your Early Bird. I will do everything in my power to ensure this. Remember, since we’re using many off the shelf parts, and Mitch already has the cases, bracelets, and movements, the watches may be here in less than 90 days! Mitch is thinking they could be ready by January, but worst case late March.
Please consider this chance to own a modern legend. Here’s the list! Get on it! J
Once again…Thanks to Mitch and all the “Purists” who collaborated to make this happen. :thanks
1. Dennis Smith
4. Guido Muldoon
Congratulations! We did it!
Pre-Ordering is closed!
Now that Pre-Ordering is complete, I will send the deposits to Mitch and we will inform you guys how and when to proceed with finalizing your order. There will be a standard order form on the AirNautic website with ability to pay the balance and shipping. We will also update you on any news or photos along the way.
Anyone who missed out on the Pre-order may be able to buy one of the thirty remaining Early Birds using the regular ordering channels on the AirNautic website (to be set up soon) at the regular price (to be determined).