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The 5 Best Revue Thommen Watches - Affordable Swiss-Made Watches

Posted on March 23 2021

The 5 Best Revue Thommen Watches

Airplanes are the safest form of travel.

The reasons are complex but there is one factor that stands out. Attention to detail.

Airlines check and double-check everything. And they empower staff to point out mistakes and system errors.

So I'm always impressed when a watch company makes its reputation supplying timepieces to Airlines. The aviation industry doesn't cut corners on safety - instead, they prioritise quality.

Swiss legacy brand Revue Thommen did just that. They built clocks and cockpit instruments for both civil and military aviation.

What intrigues me, is that they're not a well-known brand. They have more than a century of watch production behind them, but they're a brand I don't often come across.

It's time to take a closer look.

The 5 Best Revue Thommen Watches


Like many Swiss heritage brands, the backstory is complicated. So I'll come back to that later. First, I'd like to dive straight in and show you the five best watches.

As usual, I've selected the watches based on design, value for money and specifications.

Revue Thommen Automatic Diver Watch

This is a beast.

It's a 45mm heavy-duty dive watch with a Swiss automatic movement. There's 300M of water resistance, a sapphire crystal and a knurled, chunky crown.

They're great specs for a watch at this price-point.

It's not a desk-diver. And it's not subtle or refined. It's a Swiss-made tool.

But that isn't to say that it's not stylish. I really like this type of dive watch. The substantial build gives me confidence that it can take a few knocks.

It also has a pleasing vintage aesthetic.

The large, angular case gives the impression that it's not designed to slip under a shirt cuff, and that reinforces the idea that it's a functional piece.

And the lack of crown guards? They're replaced with a crown that looks very durable. That helps maintain the vintage style. But it is practical too. The large crown is simple to grip and turn.

Of course, you shouldn't need to do that regularly. The watch is powered by a reliable Swiss automatic movement. An ETA 2824.

This watch ticks a couple of important boxes. It's Swiss-made, mechanical and built to work in tough environments.

If you want a real diver - and the Swiss-made label is a must - take a closer look at this model. It's more affordable than most other similar Swiss watches.

Revue Thommen Automatic Diver 17030.2537

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss ETA Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance



Revue Thommen Airspeed Pilot Watch
Revue Thommen made their name with airplane clocks and this is my favourite aviation model of theirs. It’s a tasteful and understated pilots watch, with a clean white dial.

It’s a straightforward piece with a plain bezel and an uncomplicated dial. That makes for a highly versatile watch. Unlike the diver, this works great with a suit or smart casual clothing.

It's a comfortable watch, with a mid-sized 42mm case. And like the rest of their range, it has a Swiss-made movement.

Pilots watches can be busy, but the Revue Thommen is simple. It has the time, day and date.

I'm tempted to suggest that this piece has more in common with military watches than with classic pilots watches like the Rolex GMT-Master and Breitling Navitimer.

Either way, I like what they've done here. They've used basic indices and hands and complimented that with a restrained use of colour.

It's all silver or white.

There is nothing unnecessary and the design is trimmed down to the essentials.

The price is as I'd expect for an entry-level Swiss automatic. The specs and build quality are comparable to Tissot, Certina and Hamilton. That is where I see this watch competing.

This is an excellent introduction to the company.

Revue Thommen Airspeed Pilot 16020.2132

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss ETA Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 



Revue Thommen Diver XL Watch

This is a more conventional watch. A beautiful take on the Rolex Submariner. At a fraction of the price of the original.

It takes a lot to produce a Submariner clone and attracts attention. It's a busy space, with lots of entry-level brands doing their own version.

But the Revue Thommen does catch the eye. I was particularly attracted to this version that uses gold accents and a distressed leather strap.

It has a vintage edge that appeals to me.

As a Rolex Submariner homage, it does what it should. It has the same case, dial layout and Mercedes hands. It even has the cyclops lens over the date window.

But it has more. There is also the colour palette. I'm used to green dials and other recreations of Rolex models. But this colour scheme is less common and the watch benefits from that.

Although clearly a dive watch, the gold adds versatility. The leather strap too. Leather isn't practical for diving, but it enhances the vintage charm of this piece.

And once more, it has what many Submariner clones miss. The words 'Swiss-made' at the bottom of the dial. It also has a Swiss automatic movement.

The Submariner has an iconic place in watchmaking history, but in the real world, it also has a waiting list. Affordable and easily accessible alternatives are very popular.

This has got to be a contender for the best Swiss-made Submariner homage.

Revue Thommen Diver XL 17571.2557

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance



Revue Thommen Airspeed Auto Watch

It's only fair that I show you a brilliant aviation watch from the brand. It's where they made their name and this chunky chronograph is the best example.

It's distinctive and obviously a watch designed for pilots.

Although it has its own styling, it is reminiscent of the German interpretation of an aviation chronograph. This Revue Thommen model would sit well among the Sinn range.

It has a similar functional design and the same bold white hands and numbers. The touches of red reinforce this comparison. It's not trying to be a Sinn, it's just using the same historical influences.

But it's a Swiss piece. With an ETA movement and a sapphire crystal. And it's a large Swiss piece. The case is over 45mm and it's 15mm thick.

That would definitely play a part in any buying decision. 45mm is at the top end of what I can comfortably wear.

But if it's a good size for you, then this is a great watch.

It's very legible, with bold hands on the sub-dials. The numbers are clear and the bezel is easy to rotate.

It's not cheap though. A Swiss-made mechanical chronograph never is. But it is still affordable - it's not a Rolex Daytona.

Revue Thommen Airspeed Automatic 16071.6134

  • 43.5mm Diameter
  • 15.6mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss ETA Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 


Revue Thommen Aviator Watch
You recognise this one, don't you? It's an Omega Speedmaster in all but name.

And I can hear your first objection. It's expensive?

Well, yes it is.

But it's still a lot less than you would pay for Omega's Moonwatch. Like the previous chronograph, you do get a lot for your money.

Forget about the price for a minute, let's look at the design.

This is a full homage to the Omega. It looks like the iconic chronograph and would make an ideal replacement.

It's 42mm, which is more comfortable than the Airspeed Auto. The bracelet is 22mm, which feels right. As you'd expect, it has impressive build quality.

There's also an exhibition back.

Through that caseback you can see the movement. And it's the movement that sets this watch apart from other Speedmaster clones.

It's a Swiss-made automatic by Sellita. It's attractive and reliable.

If quality is important to you then Swiss-made is going to matter. It's why you're reading a post about Revue Thommen.

But Swiss-made mechanical watches like this command a premium. If you have a decent budget, this is the top-end of what Revue Thommen produce.

It's a legitimate Swiss-made alternative to the Speedmaster - at around a third of the price.

Revue Thommen Aviator 17000.6137

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 15mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance 


A Brief History of Revue Thommen Watches


Most Swiss legacy brands have similar beginnings. Revue Thommen is no different. It began in the 1800s as a small business.

Where Revue Thommen differs, is that the company branched out into aviation. That's not unique, but it does set the brand apart from other similar companies.

So while they did begin with a small workshop producing pocket watches, they were able to cash in on the birth of flight.

By 1916 they were making their first aviation clocks for the Swiss Air Force. This was something that would come to define the brand.



The company that was founded by Gedeon Thommen soon had a contract with the Swiss military. They would go on to supply aviation clocks and altimeters for the Swiss. They would also produce watches for the German military in WW2.

It was the aviation side of the business that would dominate the next several decades. Ultimately, this would culminate in the business separating into two distinct companies.

In the meantime, Revue Thommen became part of MSR Holding - along with Vulcain. You're probably aware of the Cricket model - worn by more than one president.

This venture was dissolved in 2000.

The changing of hands gets a little complicated at this point. A licence was granted to the Swiss company Grovana Ltd to take over watch production. That is now with Swiss Initiative Limited.

And that is where the brand sits. Under the management of Roland Buser, a veteran of the Swiss watch industry. SIL has revitalised the brand, taking it back to its Swiss roots.

Are Revue Thommen Watches Good Quality?


I'd suggest that they are.

They're entry-level Swiss watches and are of the quality that I'd expect at that price-point.

The first point to consider is where the watches are produced.

Revue Thommen watches are Swiss-made and they carry that wording on their dials. Whilst this isn't an unquestionable guarantee of quality, it does reassure buyers.

Secondly, Revue Thommen use movements with very good reputations. Automatic movements are Swiss-made and supplied by ETA and Sellita.

As for the other components? They're as you'd expect. The dive watches have legitimate water resistance and they use sapphire crystal for the glass.

They are priced like Tissot and Certina and have very similar specs. Those brands make suitable comparisons. As a competitor Revue Thommen holds its own.

Conclusion


In a crowded market, it's hard for watch brands to stand out.

Even Swiss companies with over 150 years of history.

Revue Thommen has a long association with aviation that sets the company apart. From the early days of flight, they were supplying instruments to the aviation industry.

And it wasn't only clocks. They built everything from altimeters to landing gear.

They also supplied the Swiss and German military with watches to use on the battlefield. Trust me, the military has high standards when it comes to timepieces.

But like many Swiss watch brands, the company has changed hands since its creation. In this case, it appears to have a capable custodian.

The current owner is a veteran of the watch industry. He's worked for some of the biggest names and is the third generation of his family to work in the trade.

You may not be familiar with the brand. But I'd urge you to check them out. Take a closer look and let me know what you think.

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