- Video Review
- LIV P-51 Pilot Specifications
- LIV Nails the Thematic Details
- Gorgeous in the Blue/Orange Colorway
- The Camel Leather Strap
- Timekeeping via an ETA 7750 Automatic
- The P-51 Gives What You pay For
- LIV P-51 Pilot Photo Gallery
Fly High With This Titanium Auto Chrono Pilot’s Watch
Words/Photography: Me. LIV Watches provided this P-51 at no cost as compensation for this review.
LIV is one of my favorite microbrand watch manufacturers, and my coverage of them has been very positive (but not perfect).
The P-51 Pilots watch is oversized at 46 mm, and with an MSRP of $1,370, it’s also on the upper end in price of what WYCA covers. If you’re familiar with how I assess watches, you’ll know that I value value the most. I want something to feel its worth.
With a titanium vase, an ETA 7750 automatic chronograph movement, 100 m of water resistance, and sapphire top and bottom, the P-51 is certainly made of the right stuff. Let’s see how it feels on the wrist.
LIV P-51 Pilot Specifications
- Model: P-51
- MSRP: $1,370
- Case Diameter: 46 mm
- Alternate Models: 6 Colorways
- Movement: Automatic, ETA 7750
- Complications: Chronograph, Day/Date Display
- Power Reserve: Est. 48 hours
- Water Resistance: 100 m / 330 ft
- Crystal Material: Sapphire
LIV Nails the Thematic Details
It’s been a long time since I’ve worn or shot a pilots watch. It’s not a style that normally finds itself in my collection because I tend to opt for divers, casual watches, and dress watches, so it’s been nice to spend a few months with the P-51.
In typical LIV style, the P-51 came ready to perform once the camera came out. The rich blue dial and ceramic bezel pair brilliantly with the tan Barenia leather strap. The indicators on the bezel are coated with Swiss Super-Luminova, as are the insets on the hour and minute hands.
A silhouette of the P-51 Mustang rests between the 7 and 8 o’clock hour markers, an overt visual cue and celebration of the watch’s namesake. It’s not a perfect rendition of the P-51, but from eye level, the airplane does its job of evoking the feeling of America’s iconic WWII fighter.
The handsome face is busy, but thanks to being oversized, the eye has no problem finding its destination.
The 46 mm Titanium Case
I know larger case sizes are on-trend, but my flag is firmly planted in the “less is more” category. Having tiny 6.75″ wrists may be a factor in my thought process. Sizing up at a hefty 46mm in diameter, and standing a full 15.5mm tall, the P-51 dominates the wrist of anyone that wears it.
The P-51 has a unidirectional titanium and ceramic bezel, with 120 clicks and BGW9 Super-LuimiNova applied to the numbers/indexes, and a screw-down crown. It’s rated for 100 m / 330 ft of water resistance, which is sufficient for a watch you would wear every day. You shouldn’t go swimming with it, but you can get it wet without worry.
LIV uses sapphire on the top and back of the crystal, and when paired with a titanium case, it should hold up to the abuses of daily wear and look good for a long time. With proper care and maintenance, there’s no reason the P-51 couldn’t find its way to more than one generation of wrist in your family.
Gorgeous in the Blue/Orange Colorway
The blue dial serves as a complementary backdrop to the orange-accented focal points of the watch: the chronograph seconds and small seconds hands; the 0-15 minute track; the anodized start/stop pusher at 2 o’clock. The contrast between the blue and orange is excellent, as is the quality of construction, and the entire kit looks great.
The Camel Leather Strap
This particular P-51 is paired with the Pilot Barenia Camel Leather strap, which I think captures the Pilots motif the best, but you can get the P-51 with your choice of five straps or a titanium bracelet.
The straps are quick-release, which will save your lugs a bit of wear if you want to swap straps out to suit.
The camel leather strap is plush and pliable, albeit a bit stiff when the watch first comes out of the box. It softened up very quickly, though.
The strap tapers shortly past the lugs, a nice detail that keeps the top-end in focus, with a strap that is sized appropriately based on every viewing angle. The metal rivets complete the package and the result is one good-looking strap indeed.
Timekeeping via an ETA 7750 Automatic
It’s cool that LIV opted to use the ETA 7750 automatic. Horology enthusiasts are likely already nodding along in agreement – yep, yep, the 7750 is a perfectly appropriate automatic chronograph – and there’s lots here to like about it. The 7750, aside from being one of the most recognizable Swiss automatic chronographs ever produced, is also widely supported and easy to service.
You may have heard of the ETA 7750 by another name, the Valjoux 7750 or ETA 7750 Valjoux, and that’s because Valjoux used to be a separate entity until their acquisition by ETA. The Valjoux 7750 first hit the market in the early 1970s.
LIV calibrates their movements in-house to +/- 5 seconds/day of accuracy. I did not test this but also have not noted any significant deviation in accuracy over the past few months. LIV claims the P-51 to have 42-hours of power reserve, but the movement itself is spec’d at 48 hours. I have observed power reserve of at least 44 hours.
Left mostly to speak for itself, aside from Geneva stripes on the rotor and a touch of orange from the logo, the movement looks great in its sapphire and titanium enclosure. LIV does an excellent job keeping the case and dial free from defects and dust. Thanks to this, lining up macro shots like the one above is much easier and the outcomes are better. It’s the little things, right?
The P-51 Gives What You pay For
The P-51 sits in a weird price segment. For some, $1,400 is a significant investment and something that represents hard work and discipline to acquire. For others, $1,400 for a titanium watch with an ETA 7750 is an absolute bargain. After all, watches from Hamilton, Longines, and others powered by the ETA 7750 typically have much higher MSRPs.
LIV delivers regardless of your view on price. They are a company that is genuinely doing interesting things with watches, from collaborating with professional cyclists to sending their design team on a field trip to learn about the Saturn V rocket.
The world of microbrands is rife with ODMs and slapped on logos. You can and should be very critical of microbrands asking four-figures for anything. But I’m not sure LIV is really classified as a microbrand anymore; they’ve got a full line of watches and tens of thousands of followers. In an era of fake sensationalism and planned obsolescence, where you can find increasingly cheaper versions of anything and everything on AliExpress, it’s more than a little refreshing to see a company investing in producing kickass watches.
The P-51 is a worthy halo-piece in any collection from an American boutique watch brand.
LIV P-51 Pilot Photo Gallery
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