Walter Shillington is an avid collector of mechanical watches. His reviews focus on inexpensive but often intriguing Chinese timepieces.
Last Christmas I presented each of my nephews with an old Slava watch. The gifts were a smash success; what teenage boy would not be fascinated by a piece of Russian history? Sure, the watch must be wound daily, and the day of the week is depicted in Cyrillic—but that just adds to the charm.
For my eleven-year-old niece, gift selection proved more difficult. In the end, I cheated and simply purchased a gift card from the local fashion shop. As we were clearing up the discarded wrapping paper, she thanked me for her present, craftily suggesting a watch would have been perfectly acceptable as well.
I got the hint, adding this item to her Christmas list for the next year.
But what to get her? One of those jewel-encrusted numbers, so tiny you require a magnifying glass to discern the time? I thought not. I checked out offerings from trendy companies such as Fossil and Guess, but let’s face it, once you’ve held a mechanical timepiece in your hand, there’s no going back to a simple battery operated watch.
I found what I wanted on eBay. A lightly used, pink Aatos lady’s automatic was up for bid and I snapped it up during the final seconds of the auction. My total cost came to $8 plus another $19 for shipping. This was slightly above my budget, but she is my favorite niece.
Normally, this slightly used Aatos sells for $19.98. A new model will set you back between $30 and $52 but comes with a full warranty. If you live outside of Europe—and I do—a shipping charge of $19 will apply.
For those who would prefer an inexpensive, gold-plated watch, please check out my review of the Aatos G-AdelaLGG.
The Aatos watch arrived on schedule. It included a box but came without a tag. There was absolutely no sign of wear, which means I’ll be able to mislead my niece, pawning the watch off as a brand new item.
It weights in at 68 grams (2.42 ounces). Not including the crown, the watch measures 39.5 mm across and is 13 mm thick. Perhaps a little hefty for my niece, but then again, 11-year-old girls have plenty of energy.
The case is composed of shiny metal, which I assume—perhaps wrongly—to be stainless steel. The dial is colored in an attractive combination of pink and white. Two little windows at the top display the day of the month. Below that, a pair of white sub-dials indicate the month and the day of the week. All three displays are easily readable. This watch is of open heart design, providing a view of the rapidly oscillating balance wheel.
The glass cover attached to the bottom of the watch allows the user to monitor the inner workings of this timepiece. AATOS is engraved onto the surface of the rotor.
Men like watches with big and shiny metal push buttons. Women, who tend to be more sophisticated, do not. This Aatos incorporates three recessed push buttons which are used to adjust the day of month display and the two sub dials. To advance these functions, simply depress the appropriate button with the pointed end of a pen. These buttons click nicely and should provide trouble-free operation throughout the life of this watch.
The crown is large for this type and size of timepiece. Those that dislike tiny, difficult to turn, mechanisms will appreciate this touch.
The watchband is pink, complimenting the dial quite nicely. The back is branded AATOS and marked ECHT LEDER which translates to real leather. I’ll accept this statement. Certainly, this strap is of much higher quality than the PU leather normally found on Chinese watchbands.
Aatos is what is commonly known as a mushroom brand. Aatos, M Johansson, and Eppman are all trademarks owned by a marketing company, which unfortunately, I have been unable to identify.
German based vendors are used to distribute their watches via eBay and Amazon. I suspect these vendors, AJ Watches Germany and Watch Store Germany, are owned by the same marketing company. This company is likely based in either Germany or China. Possibly these watches have been designed in Germany but they are manufactured in China.
Aatos achieved favorable notice, several years ago, when they marketed the Tiago which proved to be the first tourbillon watch available for less than $1,000.
Condition: New with box and tags. Slightly used available without warranty
Year of manufacture: 2010 to present
Place of origin: China. Vendors are located in Germany
Features: Open heart design
Functions: Full calendar
Band material: Leather
Band width: 20 mm
Band color: Pink
Dial color: Pink and white
Dial window material: Hardened, scratch proof, mineral glass
Case material: Metal
Case diameter: 39.5 mm without crown
Case thickness: 13 mm
Weight: 68 grams (2.42 ounces)
Water resistance: 1 ATM. Splash-proof only. Not designed for use in water
Aatos has made effective use of color and shape to design an attractive watch. All functions are placed and sized in a manner that allows the user to quickly ascertain time and date.
I own a Diplomat watch winder and placed the Aatos timepiece into it for a period of nine days.
All secondary functions worked perfectly. The watch gained an average of 20 seconds per day. While nothing to write home about, this amount of deviation is not uncommon among timepieces in the $30–50 range.
There is a bright side. As this watch ages and the lubricants began to dry, it will become increasingly accurate. I would be more concerned if the watch ran slow.
After being removed from the winder and placed upon a flat surface, the Aatos faithfully kept time for 48 hours. This indicates a decent mainspring and effective, power sipping, operation of the movement. Even those whom are relatively inactive should not experience problems with its automatic winding mechanism.
Overall construction appears solid. The push-buttons worked well and the hands turned smoothly when I adjusted the time by pulling and turning the crown. The strap appears to be composed of good quality leather and should last for a long time.
Automatic and mechanical watches require routine maintenance—cleaning and lubrication—every three to five years. Watches in this price range normally receive little maintenance, simply because it is cheaper to replace the timepiece.
In my judgement, this watch will run well for three to four years. Then, as dust accumulates and lubricating oils dry, accuracy will begin to suffer. Eventually it will fail. This sad end, however, is not a given; sometimes watches struggle bravely on for far longer than anticipated.
I like this watch and I expect my niece will love it. The Aatos looks good and functions well. I own automatic watchers that are more accurate, but then again, they were far more expensive than this charmer. Recommended.
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