A Week on the Wrist with the Aera P1 – a brilliant pick for larger wrists

The Aera P1 is a lovely Pilot watch with a large case diameter

The Aera P-1 shot against a pink plant pot
(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Being able to test the best watches on the market is a really fun job. You get to see all of the most popular, Instagram-worthy watches, while also getting hands on with some lesser known brands.

That's exactly what happened with Aera. The newcomers to the market reached out with a duo of models – the Aera D-1 and this, the Aera P-1.

Both of these sit slightly larger on the wrist, with bigger case diameters than the current trend for small watches has popularised. The D-1 took on a dive watch form, but this P-1 is styled more as a pilot watch. 

The Aera P-1 shot against a pink plant pot

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Let's jump into some specs. First things first – that case diameter is a whopping 43mm. While five years ago that may not have been met with too much trepidation, these days that does feel positively gargantuan.

36mm is the new 40mm; 40mm is the new 43mm, and 43mm? Well, that might as well be a wall clock for most people.

That case is manufactured from a gorgeous chunk of 904L stainless steel. If you didn't already read my review of the Aera D-1, 904L is the name given to a special steel composition with a slightly different chemical make up. That brings better corrosion resistance and a shinier appearance when polished, and was popularised by Rolex.

The dial here is a beautiful matte black hue. That's topped with Arabic numerals hand filled with Super LumiNova and surrounded by a minute track.

The matte nature of that dial is really nice to look at. While there is definitely a trend for dials which play with the light at the moment, that's rarely what you'd want from a pilot watch. In those scenarios, you need a dial which is easy to read no matter if it's under direct sunlight or next to no light at all – and that's exactly what you get here.

A Sellita SW200-1 movement sits inside. That's a really reliable movement, which we've seen a whole lot of recently – most notably in a range of Christopher Ward watches lately. You'll also find a water resistance rating of 100m here, which should be more than enough for most pursuits.

The Aera P-1 shot against a pink plant pot

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

What is the Aera P-1 like to wear?

When I tried out the Aera D-1, I was pleasantly surprised by the wearing experience. Despite the 44mm case diameter, the watch felt neat on the wrist – at least once paired with a slimmer NATO strap.

Can the P-1 give the same experience? Well, sort of, yes. Certainly, it's not the wrist-mounted wall clock many would have you believe.

Again, the included strap selections – whether rubber, leather or suede – all have quite a pronounced angle to them. That adds a significant amount of length to the watch, which can make it tricky for smaller wrists.

With no NATO included for this one, I couldn't try that here, either. Regardless, though, I'm not sure it would have felt smaller, even with a less cumbersome strap. The slimmer bezels and more open face of the P-1 just give it a broader silhouette, which is tougher to style out.

The Aera P-1 shot against a pink plant pot

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

Is the Aera P-1 worth the money?

That's a tricky one to answer here. Certainly, the raw elements on offer warrant the price tag – getting Rolex-esque 904L steel and a well-regarded third-party movement.

With that being said, it's certainly not an easy sell. At £1,100, the Aera P-1 enters one of the most fiercely competitive market segments out there. A wide range of established brands and plucky start up efforts exist here, giving users a lot of choice.

Whether it stands out above the noise will come down to your preference. One thing is for sure, though – if you find yourself frustrated by the current trend for smaller timepieces, the Aera P-1 should definitely be on your radar.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.