Over the past couple of years we’ve introduced you to a number of Dutch watchmakers. Can we disregard the watch industry in our small but proud nation? No, we can’t. We briefly covered Pellikaan back in 2011, with the release of the Limited Edition for Dutch football club F.C. Utrecht. Join us as our own ‘Flying Dutchman’ Robin Nooij takes an in-depth look at an interesting timepiece; the Pellikaan Timing Flying Dutchman.
The model we have been granted to review is Pellikaan’s Flying Dutchman. The name may not be as well known as Grönefeld or Van Der Klaauw, and the style may not be as eccentric as a D.M.H., but this brand should not be overlooked!
Hubert Pellikaan is the man behind this small brand. In his home town of Utrecht, he painstakingly worked over a design after the desire to develop his own watch became too hard to resist. Being a pharmaceutical engineer by profession, and taking an early interest in how things worked resulted in the launch of Pellikaan.
At first glance, the “time only” Flying Dutchman seems rather unremarkable. The only ‘words’ on the dial are the name “Pellikaan Timing” telling you what it is and “Dutch Made” telling you where it’s from and nothing else. However this ‘clean design’ makes an incredibly strong design! It works, it’s balanced and it looks very good. The generous dimensions and the highly contrasting white on black dial make this an eye-catcher of a different kind.
The basic features of the watch are simple but effective. It has a central hour and minute hand with a small, off centre, seconds hand at 6 o’clock. This is a happy coincidental effect sparked by the choice of movements for the Flying Dutchman. It gives the piece a unique characteristic, because it is very intuitive to read time. It is readable down to the second due to the uncluttered, elegantly simple design of the dial.
The dial itself is perhaps the strongest design element of the Flying Dutchman. It is basically divided into three sections. Starting from the outside, the minutes are displayed on the rail-track chapter ring, just like on marine chronometers for instance. One step inward, the hour markers are very easy to read at a glance. Coated with Luminova, they enhance night-time visibility. The center of the dial divides each passed hour into four quarters. A bit like a crosshair, something that enhances the Pilot Watch style of the Flying Dutchman.
For connoisseurs, the clear giveaway for the type of movement, is the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. The subdial features small indexes for the seconds with a slightly larger index at each fifth second.
This well thought-out layout gives the Flying Dutchman a double functionality. On one hand, you can see what time it is at any given moment by sheer intuition, and on the other you can keep track of the elapsed time when needed very easily. The hour markers can also be used to measure time in five-minute steps.
The hands of the Flying Dutchman are in the style of Breguet, with the trademark “apples” at roughly three quarters down the length of the hands. The hands are also coated with SuperLumiNova for better legibility in darkness. This version of the Flying Dutchman features white markers and logos on a black dial, but there is also a crème and white dial with black markings available.
The 45mm wide case has a three-part construction out of 316L stainless steel. The case features both polished and brushed surfaces. It is fitted with a large diamond shaped crown, which makes for easy winding of the movement. Measuring 13.2mm in height, it is a well-proportioned case even though some might consider it too big. It sits well on the wrist and doesn’t feel as large as it is. This is partly due to the long, curved lugs. Fit and finish is more than acceptable and can be compared to an IWC Big Pilot in design, albeit the Flying Dutchman is 2mm smaller in diameter.
The Flying Dutchman is fitted with an ETA 6498-1 movement, with the small seconds on the recognizable position of 6 o’clock. While it may not be the most original or precious movement, it is one of the most reliable movements ever created, and a sibling of the movement that made Panerai very successful.
It’s also easy to fine-adjust, so it runs precisely for its 50+ hours of power reserve. The movement is of the so-called “soignée execution”, meaning it is finished with Côte de Genève and blued screws to give it a bit of visual sweetness. Of course the finish of the movement would be a moot point were it not for the display back that allows the finely dressed plates and bridges to shine from under the crystal.
The Pellikaan Timing Flying Dutchman comes in several varieties, including a gold plated dial and a matte silver dial version (both sold-out as of the time of this article). There is also a slightly smaller version available (something for the ladies?) at 40mm diameter. The overall design for the petite version remains the same though.
While a watch with an ETA 6498 movement is never going to be mistaken for haute horology, the Flying Dutchman represents a simple and elegant time only design that fits the form of modern sports watches without falling into some of the clichés that can make some of its higher-priced competitors redundant if not a bit tired. The Flying Dutchman comes with a pleasant price tag of € 890 Euros (including taxes/VAT).