An extension of the review of Panzera watches with Flieger 45G GMT watch

Published on 9 June 2024 at 17:22

Few months ago I already made a review of  the Panzera watches through the two of their diver watches here. That review was focused on the Marine collection. At the end of the review I also announced that I have also ordered - in the preorder phase - another Panzera watch, but this time from the Flieger line - the new Flieger GMT watch. As announced, at the beginning of May this watch was released and shipped to me, so let me give you now some of my additional feedbacks about the brand after the first month with this Flieger GMT model.

At the very first stage of the preorder window, beside the 50% discount, Panzera also offered additional strap for free. And as I made an order within this first stage, I got two straps by my own choice. Based on the great experience with Panzera rubber straps from the previous watches, I again selected two rubber straps - one red and one black with red stitches. Both of course with the black buckle. Namely - as for all Panzera watches - everyone can choose his own combination of the case (steel or black PVD), dial color (black, blue or white with blue inner chapter ring) and strap (several rubber straps with different colors and design, steel bracelet, several colors of leather). For the PVD case some dial and strap options are not available (white dial and steel bracelet for example).

As I already have two Panzera watches with steel case, blue dial and blue rubber strap (and one stainless steel), I decided that it was time to get something totally different - this is the only reason, why I have chosen black PVD case with black dial (as said white dial was not available in the combination with the black case). 

Even though this watch comes from the Flieger line the very first look gives the impression that this watch has a lot in common with Aquamarine 45D. It seems that those two watches have more in common than Aquamarine 45D and Aquamarine 45C even though they are from the same line! The main first similarity impression is driven by the "Panzera" label below 12 o'clock, the three days date window and of course the hollow hands. Plus a 3D inner ring. But this first impression is wrong, Flieger 45G is in fact quite different in many aspects! It has the recognizable "soul" of all Panzera watches and this soul gives us the wrong impression about the similarities.

Let's go into the details, starting with the case. As the name suggests, this watch also has 45mm of diameter with the height of 13mm and 24mm lugs. I need to point out that other watches from the Flieger collection are of 46mm size, so if we compare just sizes, this size fits more to Aquamarine collection. But the design of the case is totally different than any other Aquamarine and fully in line with other Flieger watches. The case in general is done well, no issues with the quality of the PVD coating.

The dial is in fact "true" Flieger one but on the other hand almost "true, basic" Aquamarine 45 which I don't have and therefore was not reviewed. Both referring watches are shown on the pictures, first Aquamarine 45 on the red rubber strap and then Flieger 46 on the black leather strap. I have deliberately taken black PVD versions of both watches from the official page. Check fonts, index markings, shape of the hands and 12 o'clock marking with triangle and two dots above it (remember, this triangle dots marking were seen also on both Aquamarine 45-C and 45-D but with the different layout). 

So all in all Flieger 45G is Flieger in almost every detail (except the font of the red text "GMT" which is not taken from the Flieger line but from Aquamarine.

But it is also clear that Panzera has some problems defining how Aquamarine line should look like and how Flieger line should look like. The problems are more in Aquamarine line than in Flieger one as inside Aquamarine line we can find very different cases, hands, triangle markings...

I am going back to our reviewed 45-G watch. As said it does follow basic Flieger line design, therefore almost nothing is "wrong" here. What is specific in this watch compared to basic Flieger is the inner 3D ring with 24H hour markings.

Glass is sapphire with AR coating. Even though it is a Flieger it has a good water resistance of 100m.

In general I have no serious complaints about the design of the dial (except the inconsistency of the Aquamarine and Flieger lines inherited by previous models). If I focus only into this watch, for my taste index markings are too long and aggressive and by this the dial is too dense. Hands are too wide. On the other hand what I really like is the subtle use of the red color used on the "24", "GMT", on the GMT hand and on the lower part of the second hand. All those red details were the reason why I decided on stated rubber straps as I think that both straps beautifully bound the black case, the black dial and those red details in a very attractive watch. 

Illuminova is good, I believe it is the same as Aquamarines. The only issue here for my taste is again the fact that too much is illuminated. 

So, all in all, quite a nice combination of the design and quality. Well, until...

45G has an open case back, which reveals the Seiko NH34A with GMT complication. If you remember, I already reviewed one watch with this movement - Waldhoff Atlas. In Atlas Seiko NH34 has not been very precise, but here the results are even worse and in the opposite direction. Positional errors are huge, the watch runs from approximately +10 to +35 sec/daily where even in the same position movement does not achieve the constant result. Sometimes this interval is extended to -5/+45 ! That in practice means that the watch runs on average approximately +20 sec/daily being on the wrist 24h. These are the worst results among all watches that I have reviewed. Even some of my USSR watches with some very bad movements would be able to compete with this. For sure Seiko NH34 is on the low side of their movements (part of Seiko NH3x family), declared precision is +40/-20 (!!) so my results are still well inside the declared ones. But I believe that Panzera could do a better job to fine tune the movement (f.e. to shift the speed for 15 sec/daily). 

So - the general very positive impression about the watch is ruined by the poor movement performance.

Wearing the watch gives no surprise. As expected, the watch is very comfortable on the wrist, the size of the case is not an issue. Despite the same diameter as both Aquamarines have, Flieger has a slightly smaller L2L, which makes this watch easier to wear for more watch lovers. On my previous review I praised rubber straps, those two are from the same family of straps, an excellent quality was just expected and also confirmed this time as well.

As the watch arrived in the same type of leather box as the Aquamarine 45D had, I will skip the box and papers description this time.

Price? Well, when Panzera announced the preorder phase, this watch was promoted as "the cheapest GMT automatic watch on the market". The official price now goes from 545 EUR (steel case with rubber strap) up to 720 EUR (steel case with the bracelet). Black case is a bit more expensive than the steel one, leather is more expensive than the rubber but cheaper than a bracelet. You have to add import taxes, customs and shipping. So for the EU price range increases to 700-900 EUR interval (depends on your local VAT). And that is far from being the cheapest GMT automatic watch on the market. And way above the price which is realistic for any Seiko NH3x movement powered watch. The already mentioned Waldhoff Atlas is much cheaper, for example. But, as already explained in the previous Panzera review, Panzera has a strange price policy and quite often additional discounts of up to 40% are offered. So, with a bit of luck, you can drastically reduce the stated official price and only then this watch can be placed in the "one of the cheapest GMT watches on the market" category. As explained, sadly, this is achieved by using the very poor movement regarding the precision... Just for comparison, OrologiChePassione offers "my" combination for 580 EUR with VAT included! So again basically the official price but this time with VAT already included.  

In the preorder phase Panzera offered a 50% discount plus additional free strap, which means that my combination in total with all shipping and import taxes was a bit over 400 EUR. Considering the fact that the strap costs 72 EUR (plus taxes), I believe this was a fair offer. But those times are gone. And at least for the official price that the watch has today, even though it is quite a quality build watch, I can't recommend it. What I concluded after the last review has been again proven with this watch as well. Official prices are too high for the quality that Panzera gives. But for the realistic price which one can get by using the huge discounts, Panzera watches are placed in the adequate price range that makes them competitive and worth considering. What I would also recommend is - if you go for Panzera, go for models which use Swiss movements. I have now two of Panzera watches with Seiko movements and on both I had some issues. Either (unexpected) non-working movement  (45D) or (more or less expected) poor accuracy (45G). Just a bad luck? 

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