The Flieger 47 is Panzera’s take on the iconic Pilot watch, and has morphed into a best-seller for the brand. Without further ado, let’s see if the watch is any good!
Panzera – the Brand
Established in 2009, Panzera is an Australian watch microbrand that specialises in watches that fuses classic and contemporary style, a style the brand calls “modern vintage”. According to the brand, they seek to offer “classic designed watches from yesteryear alive with modern interpretations that can be appreciated by new generations of watch owners… at a value proposition far exceeding the price point.”
From original design through to assembly and quality control, all critical processes are carried out in Panzera’s workshops in Sydney, Australia and Lugano, Switzerland. All watches are cased by the brand’s watchmakers, and undergo five days of thorough quality, shock, and water resistance testing before being shipped to customers. Each timepiece is also carefully logged in Panzera’s database as a unique serial number which can be found laser engraved onto the outside of every watch case.
Panzera Flieger 47 – Build Quality
The Panzera Flieger 47 possesses decent specifications for its sub-$500 price.
Instead of the usual sapphire crystal, the Panzera Flieger 47 utilises an anti-reflective S-LEX crystal. According to the brand, S-LEX is a “ultra hardened proprietary mineral crystal compound created specifically for PANZERA. S-LEX has been designed to better withstand impact that can damage double domed shaped watch crystals. It can also better resist surface scratching that can occur on traditional mineral crystals. S-LEX is a superior choice for double domed watch crystals in terms of strength, durability and increased readability”. In other words, the S-LEX crystal is supposed to be more scratch resistance than the mineral glass you often find on cheap fashion watches, but also more shatter-resistant than sapphire crystal, though undoubtedly less scratch resistant. Personally, I don’t mind it – I’ve worn the Panzera Flieger 47 out and about for a fortnight, and it survived with nary a scratch. It’s also anti-reflective, thus ensuring maximum legibility under all lighting conditions, which is paramount for a Pilot watch. In addition, the WR rating for the Panzera Flieger 47 is stated at 50m, rendering it safe for most daily activities except a trip to the pool or the shower.
The Miyota 820A powers the Panzera Flieger 47. Some specifications: the Miyota 820A possesses a power reserve of 40 hours, has 21 jewels, hacks and hand-winds. In addition, the brand promises accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per day, which is quite impressive for a sub-S$500 watch. There’s also a day and date function, with the day being displayed in either English or Spanish. From a watchmaking standpoint, I would have preferred for the brand to have used the Seiko NH36A instead, which also features day/date complications. The Miyota 820A movement is alright, but it does suffer from the infamous Miyota stutter. As the article explains, it’s not an issue that affects timekeeping, but to seasoned watch collectors it may not be a welcome sight.
Interestingly, the Panzera Flieger 47 comes with a variety of strap options – sticking to a NATO strap would bring the price down to S$480, whilst a leather strap would be a tad more expensive. I think the blue genuine leather strap is pretty decent though. It’s embossed with alligator patterning, and comes with nice cream stitching. On the inside, the lining is comfortable – none of the cardboard texture that one often finds on cheap straps – and the strap loops are stitched for added durability. However, being that the strap is only Genuine Leather, it will not patina over time the way top-grain or full-grain leather would, which is a slight shame.
Lastly, the Swiss Luminova used on the Panzera Flieger 47 is pretty strong, and quite long-lasting as well. Lume heads should be pleased with this one!
All in all, I would say that the build quality of the Panzera Flieger 47 is pretty decent for its sub-$500 price. The anti-reflective S-LEX crystal is interesting, the strap is well executed, and the Swiss Luminova is strong. The Miyota 820A movement is impressive with its +/- 10 seconds per day accuracy, though it does stutter.
Panzera Flieger 47 – Design
Whilst the Panzera Flieger 47 undoubtedly draws on tried and tested design cues of Pilot watches, the brand manages to infuse their own DNA into the watch rather successfully.
There are two dial colourways for the Panzera Flieger 47, namely matte black and sunburst midnight blue. Whilst the matte black variant is probably more historically accurate to the Pilot watches of old, the sunburst midnight blue variant – called the Arado Blue – definitely captures the eye more. It reminds me of the IWC Le Petit Prince watches, which has a similar sunburst, midnight blue dial. Under the right lighting, the Panzera Flieger 47 Arado Blue (pictured above) really pops.
Whilst the familiar Pilot watch elements – painted numerals, triangle at 12 o’clock, flieger hands – are present in the Panzera Flieger 47, the brand does inject several nice elements that sets the watch apart from other pilot watches in the market. Firstly, I like the use of red on the dial, both in the cursive font denoting the watch model at 9 o’clock, as well as in the red and white stripped “propeller tip” of the seconds hand. Secondly, I like the scrolling date window, as well as the day indicator at 3 o’clock – it reminds me of a gauge that one would find in the cockpit of an aircraft. I like that the brand has chosen to go with a black day/date wheel to match the dial as well. Lastly, I like the overall symmetry of the dial – the “Flieger 47” text offsets the day/date window at 3 o’clock. It’s a very nice, balanced dial overall that feels familiar yet fresh.
I should also mention that there are multiple case variants of the Panzera Flieger 47. There’s the typical stainless steel case (as pictured above), but there’s also brass, matte black, and even rose gold! The stainless steel case would definitely be the most versatile, whilst the brass case is perfect for those who desire vintage charm. I’m personally not a fan of IP coated cases, but the matte case does exude a nice stealthy vibe, while the rose gold variant dresses up the watch. I think it’s pretty commendable for Panzera to offer the Flieger 47 in a variety of case options – there’s definitely something for everyone here!
I’m also very impressed by the high level of finishing found on the case of the Flieger 47! The bezel is polished, the case is satin-brushed, and there’s even a nice polished bevelled edge that runs along the case and down to the lugs. It’s really nice to see a variety of finishing techniques on a sub-S$500 watch! Furthermore, there’s also the iconic diamond crown frequently seen on Pilot watches. It’s screw-down, signed, and substantially sized, making hand-winding the watch an ease.
The caseback of the Panzera Flieger 47 is certainly intriguing. There’s the usual relevant information – and the unique serial number of the watch – engraved on the outer of the caseback. There’s also a turbine motif that surrounds the exhibition glass, through which the decorated Miyota 820A movement can be viewed. The movement is nicely finished with Geneva stripes, though I wished there was a custom rotor as well.
There’s no denying it – the 47mm diameter of the Panzera Flieger 47 is a beast on the wrist. It’s by far the largest watch that I’ve reviewed thus far, and I must admit that it took some taking used to on my 7 inch wrist. Now, Pilot watches have traditionally had large diameters to aid legibility for the pilot when in the cockpit, so I understand why the diameter is the way it is. Whilst the watch came across as way too big when I first unboxed it, after a week or two on the wrist I actually started loving its dimensions. It’s big, but not too big that the lugs extends past my wrist. There’s also a sense of masculinity about wearing big watches – I guess that’s why Panerai and IWC watches are increasingly popular today! It’s surprisingly comfortable on the wrist as well, despite its hulking 47mm size. To those used to smaller watches, I would say give larger watches like the Panzera Flieger 47 a go – you might be surprised at how at home the watch feels on the wrist!
Overall, I’m love the aesthetics of the Panzera Flieger 47. It reminds me of the IWC Le Petit Prince, but in the best of ways. The sunburst midnight blue dial is absolutely lovely, and I love the sporty red accents as well. There’s also an industrial feel to the day/date complication that enhances the tool watch vibe of the watch.
Shootout – Panzera Flieger 47 vs Laco Augsburg Blaue Stunde 42
When I think of affordable Pilot watches, the first brand that comes to mind is definitely Laco. Recently, Laco introduced the Augsburg Blaue Stunde 42, which features a sunburst blue dial. As both watches are priced similarly, I shall be comparing the Panzera Flieger 47 to the Laco Augsburg Blaue Stunde 42 today!
In terms of specifications, both watches are pretty similar. Both watches uses Miyota 8 series movements, and possesses lume. The key difference is the usage of sapphire crystal on the Laco, whilst the Panzera Flieger 47 features the S-LEX crystal. The sapphire crystal on the Laco would be more scratch resistant than the S-LEX crystal, though the latter is engineered to be more shatter-resistant than sapphire crystal.
From an aesthetics standpoint, I prefer the Panzera Flieger 47 over the Laco. The Laco does have a nice sunburst blue dial, but overall it comes across as too minimalist for my liking – remove the Laco logo, and it would look like a generic Pilot watch from Parnis. In contrast, I appreciate the details that are present in the dial of the Panzera Flieger 47, such as the red accents, the day/date window, the large diamond crown, as well as the superb case finishing.
All in all, unless you have small wrists – in which the Laco may be better for you at 42mm – I would suggest going for the Panzera Flieger 47 as it has the more detailed dial and better case finishing.
Conclusion – so the Panzera Flieger 47 “shiok” or not?
Heck yes. I may be a little biased – the IWC Le Petit Prince is one of my current grails – but I really enjoyed the watch, especially when it came to the aesthetics. The sunburst midnight blue dial is striking under the right lighting condition, the red accents gives the watch a sporty character, and the case finishing overall is just lovely. The 47mm diameter of the watch did put me off at first, but after 2 weeks of wearing the Panzera Flieger 47 on my wrist it has never felt more at home. I’m still not a fan of the watch’s Miyota 8 series movement due to its stuttering, but the timekeeping is admirable given its +/- 10 seconds a day accuracy.
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant you a whooping 25% off all purchases from Panzera! After the discount, the Flieger 47 starts at just S$480 (NATO strap and stainless steel case), which I think is a great price. I genuinely think that the Panzera Flieger 47 is one of the best Pilot watches you can find under S$500 – as long as you can handle its size!
View the Panzera Flieger 47 collection here.
Edit: Panzera is currently having massive Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, where watches are discounted up to 45% off! The Flieger 47 can currently be had for just S$352, which is a steal – though the Arado Blue model (shown above) seem to be out of stock at the moment.
40 Hr Power Reserve
Day & Date Function
Blue Genuine Leather
Pin Buckle Clasp
316L Surgical Grade Stainless Steel
Screw Down Exhibition Back
Screw Down Crown
Brushed & Polished Silver Finish
Luminous Hour Markers
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!