Base Model: JPC117 | Built By: JP Custom Watches | Price: from £150 GBP ($190 USD)
I have been in talks with Joe from JP Custom Watches since last year, both of us trying to come up with a design for a custom watch for me to then subsequently review it. With things getting in the way for both of us, it has taken a fair bit more time than we initially expected. Anyway, once work and family life was out of the way, we finally settled on a 39mm pilot watch with various custom touches applied to the case and dial. Oh by the way, the time scale was pretty much all my fault, not JP Customs. So… is this pilots watch from JP Customs any good? Let’s dive in and find out shall we!
- Dimensions: Diameter – 38.7mm, Thickness – 11.7mm, Lug to Lug – 44.8mm, Lug Width – 20mm
- Movement: Seiko SII NH36, Automatic, 21,600vph (3Hz), Hackable, Self Winding, 41hr Power Reserve
- Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel, Vapour Blasted
- Strap: Blue MN Elastic Nylon, Leather NATO (Custom Design)
- Crystal: Double Domed Sapphire, Underside Anti-Reflective Coating
- Bezel: Fixed
- Water Resistance: 30m / 3ATM
- Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® C1
- Crown: Push/Pull, Unsigned
- Caseback: Screw Down, Exhibition Display
- Warranty: 1 Year Overall Weight: 65g Where to Buy: Etsy.com – JP Custom Watches
JP Custom Watches
Case & Crown
The case of the watch has an overall diameter of 38.7mm. The lug to lug is 44.8mm and the overall thickness, including the double domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at a svelte 11.7mm. The entire case, bezel and crown are all 316L stainless steel that has also been vapour blasted for a durable finish. The overall weight of the watch is a very light 65g.
This custom pilot watch has a water resistance rating of just 30m, which is perfectly fine for swimming, jumping into the shower etc… The proportions of the watch, in my opinion, are great and the watch does wear extremely well on wrist. The crown is a little disappointing though, even although it works aesthetically, it’s just way too small. The caseback has an exhibition display and looks good, although the bog standard Seiko NH36 movement isn’t anything to write home about.
The straps that I was provided with the watch were a blue MN style elastic strap as well as a custom leather NATO with a St Andrews flag as well as our very own Zaltek Reviews logo on it. I’m not entirely sure how these are applied but it looks pretty good anyway. As everyone who follows my reviews will know that I’m not a fan of NATO’s, however rather than give it away like I would normally do, this one is staying with me. The MN strap is pretty good too and is very comfortable although it is hardly at the same quality of Nick Mankey Designs, Erika’s Original or the WatchSteward elastic straps.
The movement selected for this custom build is the super-reliable NH36 manufactured by Seiko. The SII NH36 is a fantastic workhorse used by many watch modders for SKX movement upgrades. The NH36 automatic runs at 21,600vph, 3Hz, has 24 jewels, 41hr power reserve, self winding and of course hacking. Checking the accuracy after running the watch for around 2 weeks, mainly in my watch winder and occasionally on wrist, I thought the accuracy was pretty good, with it showing an average of a rather respectable +7.3 seconds per day. Not too shabby at all!
Before you start stating the obvious, yes there is a ghost date position, as there is no day/date complication with this watch, but to be honest, it doesn’t really bother me in the slightest. I’m pretty sure it’s primarily down to the costs involved in using the no date NH38 movement over this easily obtainable NH36 instead.
Dial & Bezel
As you can see in the images, the sword style hour and minute hands are very nicely done and are of a proportionate size. The contrasting seconds hand is probably my favourite feature of the watch, finished in blue, giving that all needed splash of colour to the monochrome dial. It also has its wee lumed section and arrow tip that reaches right out to the minute track when sweeping around the dial. Nothing else to say, apart from great job JP Customs, the dial & hands are spot on!
The lume on this pilot watch is very nice, although being the total lume junkie that I am, I reckon a thicker application would’ve been better, as although the lume is initially bright, it doesn’t last very long, maybe a few hours at the most. The actual lume that’s been applied to the dial and hands is Swiss Super Luminova® C1.
Giving the very low price of this JP Customs pilot watch, I didn’t expect a watch that I was going to totally fall in love with, as at the end of the day, it’s a tool, and only has one job, that being to tell the time, without having any fancy polishing or chamfered edges etc… This is, without trying to come across as rude, a basic watch, nothing more, nothing less. However, I’ve seen basic watches in the past, and to be honest they were totally shite. This watch from JP Customs though, has been executed extremely well!
The build quality is very good, with a solid choice of movement that gives you a watch that will last for many, many years. It’s one of those watches that you’ll just throw on your wrist in the morning, not really care about damaging it while it does its job, day in, day out. If you’re looking for an automatic beater watch, then look no further.
Oh, I forgot to mention, JP Custom Watches do a wide range of watches. Divers, pilot, field watches etc, with a large range of case finishing, custom straps as well as varied dial styles and options.
JP Custom Watches – Great work! An excellent, rugged, dependable custom pilot watch.