Swedish watch brand MALM presents CATALINA, an aeronautical chronograph collection created as a tribute to Swedish Air Force’s amphibious aircraft Catalina TP 47 that was shot down in the 1950s by a Soviet combat aircraft during a search and rescue mission.
Manufactured by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation based in the United States of America, Catalina is a twin engine monoplane flying boat patrol bomber. Produced in the 1930 and 1940s, it was one of the most widely used sea-planes, especially during the World War-II. Several countries across the world continued to operate different military variants of Catalina until the 1980s. Its civilian versions are still used for aerial fire-fighting missions.
According to U.S. Navy aircraft designation system, the aircraft was known as PBY in which PB stands for ‘Petrol Bomber’ and Y was the manufacturer code assigned to Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. In the Canadian Air Force it was known as the Canso and in the Swedish Air Force it was known as the Tp47.
The MALM CATALINA collection reminds us of a major cold war era diplomatic crisis related to the shooting down of two Swedish military aircrafts over international waters in the Baltic Sea by MIG-15 fighter jets of USSR. The initial reason for this military confrontation was the shooting down of a Swedish Air Force Douglas DC-3A-360 Skytrain military transport aircraft on 13 June 1952 suspecting espionage.
Hardly three days after this incident (16 June 1952), the combat aircrafts of USSR shot down a Catalina Sea-Plane of Sweden. This ill-fated Swedish Air Force TP 47 Catalina was on a mission to locate the above mentioned Douglas DC-3 air-craft, and was shot down by USSR’s MIG 15s. The Douglas DC-3 lost its entire crew of eight whereas all 5 crew members of the Catalina survived the crash and was rescued by a German freighter. These incidents resulted in a complicated diplomatic crisis between Sweden and USSR. This crisis is known as the Catalina affair.
As homage to this legendary amphibious aircraft, MALM has created a pilot watch collection named after it. Based on the case material, the Catalina Aeronautical Chronograph collection has been divided into three categories: Catalina Silver (Stainless steel), Catalina Bronze (CuSn8) and Catalina Bronze Wreck (CuSn8 with forced patina). Featuring an attractive dark-blue dial, all the above models are being offered in a limited edition of 200 pieces per variant.
The Catalina chronograph watch is perfectly suitable for both airborne and maritime missions like the amphibious aircraft. Its solid watch case measures 41mm diameter and 14mm thickness. Made from stainless steel or bronze, the 120 click unidirectional diving bezel turns counterclockwise.
The watch also features crown guards for protecting the screwed down crown at 3h. Placed at 2h and 4h, the aero-dynamically shaped chronograph pushers feature brushed surface finish with polished edges. The grooved surfaces of pushers and crown reflect the design of various metal parts in the aircraft cockpit.
In the Catalina steel models, the watch case, case back, crown, pushers and bezel are made of 316L stainless steel. The case boasts a balanced mix between satin brushed and polished surfaces.
The stainless steel Catalina models are fitted with a stainless steel 316L bracelet with satin brushed side-links and polished center-links, or a calf leather strap with brushed and polished stainless steel 316L buckle. The leather straps are available with options of Officer Style (black or brown) and Racing Style (brown, blue, green, black or grey).
The Blue Bronze Catalina Aeronautical Chronograph model features a CuSn8 case that highlights a balanced mixing of brushed and polished surfaces. A high quality bronze alloy with very small content of impurities, CuSn8 is known for its excellent spring properties, high strength, corrosion resistance and wear resistance. Its crown and pushers are also made from CuSn8.
Also made from CuSn8, the Catalina Blue Bronze Wreck Chronograph model features forced patina on its case and buckle. This unique styled model recreates the rusted look of the Catalina aircraft after lying on the bottom of the Baltic Sea all these years.
Bronze models are available with vegetable tanned, thick calfskin strap with a wing-shaped buckle in bronze (CuSN8) engraved with the MALM logo.
All MALM Catalina watches are fitted with double domed sapphire crystal front glasses. Top surface of the double domed sapphire crystal has a coating protecting it from stains and fingerprints. The bottom surface of the crystal has an anti-reflective coating to ensure clear view of the dial.
The Catalina watch houses the Seiko Instruments (SII) caliber VK64 meca-quartz movement, which combines quartz technology and traditional mechanical watch mechanisms. In this hybrid movement, timekeeping function runs on battery and the chronograph runs on the mechanical parts with a 1/5 second sweeping hand.
The dark blue watch dial hosts steel or bronze rectangular indices with curved corners. Indices and hands have been filled with white Super-LumiNova C1 which radiates green luminescence for ensuring the visibility in darkness. The hands of the two sub-dials as well as the numerals are inspired by the various gauges in the aircraft cockpit. The dive watch inspired shape and design of hour and minute hands reflect both seafaring and airborne capabilities of the watch.
Collection: MALM Catalina Chronograph
Material: CuSn8 bronze or 316L stainless steel
Lug to lug: 50 mm
Crown: Screw-down crown
Crystal: Domed/vaulted sapphire, double anti-reflective coating, protective coating against fingerprints.
Water-resistance: 10 ATM / 100 m / 328 ft
SEIKO VK64, mecaquartz, +/- 20 sec/month, battery approx. 3 years.
Bracelet in 316L stainless steel or genuine leather strap
Dark blue dial with polished indexes
Like gauges in cockpit, hours (TIM) and minutes (MIN) has been written in each subdial
Indexes are applied with Super-LumiNova C1 which is white in daylight and glows green in darkness
Stainless steel or bronze hands
Hour and minutes
Chronograph with timekeeping up to one hour
Center positioned chronograph second hand
Left sub-dial indicates elapsed minutes
Right subdial indicates hour (1-24)
Date at 6 h
Limited to 200 pieces per version