LIV is a brand that cuts to the chase. Bold, chunky watches with action in mind, and the rare ability to come up with distinctly different designs while keeping its own unique identity consistent across its range. While their microbrand-standard Kickstarter business model may be quite common, their collections of watches and value propositions are anything but. One of the latest releases to be successfully crowdfunded raised $764,590USD more than its $30,000 goal, and it’s the tactical, brutish, yet stylish LIV P-51 Pilot’s chronograph in a wide high-grade titanium case.
There’s no getting around it. The P-51 is a big, no-nonsense, bombastic pilot’s watch — the most obvious feature being its hulking dimensions of 46mm in diameter and 15.9mm thickness, though the short and straight lugs sloping downwards help increase its wearability. But, chances are, if you’re after an oversized chronograph, you’re not looking for subtlety.
The legibility is, of course, perfect, with slightly stocky hands filled with white BGW9 Swiss Super-LumiNova luminous paint, and a bright orange seconds hand, white-tipped to more accurately line it up with the printed seconds track between the applied indices.
Legibility is also helped by the crystal covering the dial featuring an anti-reflective coating. The pushers and crown do their very best to be noticed, jutting out from the case for ease of use, as well as the start/stop pusher being differentiated with orange. The bulky crown screws down, sealing the watch with 100 metres of water resistance.
The dial has the standard layout for a 7750-powered chronograph, with the minutes sub-dial at 12, the running seconds at 9, an hour counter at 6, and the day/date complication at 3. One addition to this is the grey aeroplane logo at 6.30, a nice touch of character that gives it a bit more personality than the average chronograph. Speaking of the ETA 7750 movement, this isn’t just any old off-the-shelf stock.
Behind the see-through sapphire caseback is a movement that has been regulated to a tolerance of +/- 4 seconds per day, which is generally a huge improvement on the unregulated timekeeping. Though you won’t see any ‘chronometer’ classification on the dial, these specifications certainly put it within COSC accuracy standards. Framing the dial nicely is the boldly designed ceramic 120 click rotating bezel, which features the same bright BGW9 Swiss Super-LumiNova as the hands and hour markers.
Several colourways are available, drastically changing the overall look and versatility of the watch. The one that stands out from the rest is a black IP-coated case with orange highlights, but the most classically handsome variant is simply the black dial with grey sub-dials, allowing the orange seconds hands to pop with grace. For an even sportier look, the versions with navy blue dials and bezels with grey or orange details are an option. If it wasn’t for the aeroplane on the dial, you could easily assume it was in the style of a racing chronograph. A selection of straps can be paired with each watch, from different tones of alligator-pattern leather to a matching all-brushed high-grade titanium bracelet, but they all accentuate the utilitarian nature of the piece.
The price is an interesting point, as $1931AUD is by no means cheap. In fact, as much as LIV’s hype is built around undercutting the traditional Swiss watch industry, you can find some really great automatic chronographs (some with essentially the same movement) from Tissot and Hamilton, or even more, including the likes of Longines, if you’re shopping second-hand. Where LIV’s value seems to come in is the quality of the watch’s construction and attention to detail. Whereas those other options in this price range are considered entry-level in Swiss terms, specs-wise LIV offers pretty compelling bang for buck. Considering the rigorous movement adjusting, the hand finishing, and the numerous stages of quality control, it’s safe to say you’re not stepping on the bottom rung with the LIV P-51.
Pricing and availability of the LIV P-51 Collection
The LIV P-51 is $1931AUD and is available to buy here, while the 500 pieces of limited edition stock lasts.