Avia Swissonic quick review

I bought this watch a few years ago and at only £50 it has proved to be more of a bargain than I could ever have imagined. This one, which I believe to be an ESA 9154, offers a sweet blue dial and a beautiful cushion style case that feels bigger on the wrist than it actually is.

While it is quoted as a 40mm case it does feel quite small in the hand due to the curved case sidings sweep from top to bottom. Strap it on the wrist, however, and it has immediate presence thanks to the depth and the crystal which pops up from the casing in the most retro of ways. In short, it is a symbol of the electric watches of the time, but one which does not necessarily follow the traditions of the Bulova and Omega offerings from the early 1970s.

The date window site unobtrusively at 3 o’clock with a sloping surround that adds a little bit of depth and the hands just about manage to elevate themselves for attention above the rather large dial markers. It is, however, the markings in-between the hour markers that add personality to the dial and which bring every design aspect together in a cohesive way.

The movement is fairly accurate and I have been measuring +7-9 seconds per day which is impressive for a watch that is close to 50 years old. The sweep is typically electric and there is a sweet marriage of simplicity in the dial set above what was a complex piece of engineering at the time. The only problem will be servicing because the number of people who can deal with these movements is diminishing quickly (there are two that I know of in the UK) and so this watch potentially has limited longevity.

Finally, the bracelet is simply superb. It works so well on many of my watches and has that sci-fi appeal that we love to this day from the early 1970’s. It is light, comfortable and tapered in a way that gives even more prominence to the watch itself.

I love this watch and indeed, I love almost everything about it. It stands out to the wearer, but not to anyone else. It is fun to look at and has many design tweaks that make it unique in a hugely crowded field of early 70’s designed watches, a design ethos that is still so prominent in watches released today. It is a classic in my eyes and one that can be bought very cheaply on the second-hand market today.

3 thoughts on “Avia Swissonic quick review

  1. These early 1970’s Swissonic electromechanical watches are very underrated. I have a couple already, a Talis, with the slightly later ESA 9158 movement, with day and date and a Montine with the ESA 9157 date only movement. Still fantastically great value for money.

    1. Indeed they are, just difficult to get fixed and keep running these days

      1. My Talis, with the ESA 9158 movement, was bought for £12 as a non runner, a replacement electronic circuit, which is surprisingly still available if you know where to look, was all that was needed to get it up and running again.
        Since reading your first post on these I have also managed to get an identical (even down to the bracelet) Avia Swissonic……

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