Affordable Goodness: The New Praesidus PAC-76
Today, we’ll look at the new Praesidus PAC-76. This is a watch that is inspired by a well-known and expensive Royal Navy-issued chronograph from the mid-’70s. This is a far more affordable alternative with a different power source, but that doesn’t stop it from being fun and fulfilling to wear.
Praesidus is a relatively young company that assembles its watches in the USA and focuses heavily on recreating famous military timepieces. A real positive is that these watches are affordable and come with quality accessories that suit them well. From MACV-SOG watches to the famous A-11, the brand has been busy making a surprising number of models. Now there’s a new release in the form of the Praesidus PAC-76, and it should qualify as another hit.
The Praesidus PAC-76
It took just seconds for me to recognize the inspiration behind the new Praesidus PAC-76. In fact, it’s one of my favorite vintage watches. Oh, and it’s one I don’t own! The Lemania Royal Navy pilot’s watch is a well-known chronograph, and because the brand supplied the MoD for over 30 years, there are all kinds of variants. Some of the most popular models came later and with an asymmetrical case to provide some level of protection to the watch’s controls. Most of these watches were single-pusher editions, but from 1975 to 1976, Lemania created a very similar-looking model with two pushers. As you can imagine, this watch is quite rare, and prices can head into five-figure territory.
An affordable alternative
With the new Praesidus PAC-76, at least there is a highly affordable lookalike to enjoy, and we now understand the meaning behind the name. “PAC” stands for Pilot Asymmetrical Chronograph. Naturally, there are notable differences between the new offering and the inspiration. The Lemania version utilized the company’s very own hand-wound caliber 1872. The Praesidus opts for a highly modern and trouble-free solution with the meca-quartz Seiko VK64. Functionally, this means that instead of the original running seconds and 30-minute counter, we have 60-minute and 24-hour sub-dials. Looks-wise, though, the newer watch is on point.
Consider its 39mm diameter (measured across the span of the watch), the wearable 45mm lug-to-lug, and the variety of strap options. Praesidus offers the watch on a one-piece nylon strap, black leather, or sand-distressed leather with signed pin buckles. Alternatively, customers can opt for a 20mm Bonklip-style bracelet. In my view, all of the choices are fitting and, with the 11.3mm case thickness, make for a good-looking watch on the wrist. Also, take note of the large crown that sinks partially into the case.
A textured dial
The Praesidus PAC-76 does take some poetic license when it comes to the dial and coloring. First, the dial has a textured black finish, which differs from the original’s matte look. It’s certainly not unattractive, though. The hands, from a dimensional perspective, are on point. What’s interesting is the choice of yellow-tinted lume. It is certainly not a dim hue. Also, all of the lumed numerals appear to be molded Super-LumiNova. I think it works well with the design and adds the right amount of modern flair.
Other useful specs
Another nice nod to everyday life is the 10 ATM water resistance rating for the Praesidus PAC-76. Understandably, the case back is solid stainless steel, and it includes military-esque engravings. The double-domed crystal is made of K1 mineral glass, and it has an antireflective coating. Finally, for those who are trying a Praesidus for the first time, a two-year warranty should provide a level of comfort.
An attractive price for an equally attractive watch
I mentioned the affordability of Praesidus watches, and the new PAC-76 delivers on that front. Via the brand’s website, the watches will be priced at US$345 on any of the strap options and US$395 on the Bonklip bracelet. That feels well in line or even less costly than other watches using this movement. Judging by the popularity of other releases from the brand (“sold out” signs are typical), I expect that fans will also find the new PAC-76 highly appealing. Let us know how you feel about it in the comments.