NFW Autopilot Watch Review

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Daily Blog, Reviews | 3 comments

autopilot_yellow_rubberFinally, I found what I’ve been looking for in a watch – the NFW Autopilot has it. This isn’t just a watch, it’s a timepiece, it’s a work of art, it’s the badass forging of masculine machinery.

My love of the Autopilot began before I ordered it. I had originally been scouting out the MTM Special Forces brand, and had read some reviews online comparing it to NFW. Who’s NFW? Never heard of them. So I decided to send an email to their customer service, and I received a personalized response within 3 hours. I had a few more questions, and George the founder, wrote back. That’s service. After our brief exchange of emails, the decision was made, I ordered the brushed steel Autopilot with the yellow dial.

The heavy package arrived within 5 days, I opened it and what a sight! This wasn’t a namby pamby calf skin zipped leather box, it was virtually a steel equipment locker for military grade hardware. Held securely inside a locked metal box, the watch’s black leather strap was wrapped around felt covered foam. Beneath the watch was the paperwork, a rubber strap and tools for changing the strap. Tools? Yes, this watch doesn’t use flimsy pins. You need to unscrew the solid pins with a hex wrench. Badass indeed.

NFW_Box_closedThis watch is made for punishment. It’s heavy and rugged with a brushed metal case and thick hefty strap. A lot of attention has been paid to ensuring this watch is useable and can take a beating. Even the strap’s keeper locks the wayward end in place, ensuring the watch hugs your wrist.

There’s a hint of elegance. The NFW Autopilot is big and bold, but doesn’t appear out of place when peeking out of a buttoned down shirt sleeve. It makes a statement. And the statement is “I’ll kick your watch’s ass.”

AutoPilot-casebackIn my line of work, I have access to watches costing tens of thousands of dollars. Not just Tag Heuers and Rolexes, but the creme de la creme of manly watches – Panerai and Hublot. Does the NFW measure up? Should it even be compared? Is this contest even fair? Yes. Holding a Hublot Big Bang King Power watch, retailing at $47,000 feels very similar in weight to the NFW Autopilot. The size is comparable too. But you’d never guess that the NFW watch felt more comfortable on your wrist. And I wouldn’t ride a mountain bike wearing a Hublot, jump out of a plane, or take it into harms way. How does the NFW compare to a $20,000 Panerai Luminor 1950? They just can’t be compared beyond the strap. Funnily enough, the rubber strap of the Panerai and the NFW were almost identical. But the Panerai’s masculine exterior betrays it’s effeminate weight and slender qualities. Even the bright red trident second hand, wipes the floor with the Hublot’s and Panerai’s┬áspindly┬ásecond hands.

I almost forgot, this watch isn’t driven by a battery powered quartz movement. This baby is a manual transmission, 5 liter, V8. It’s mechanical. And you can view the 21 jewel movement through the exhibition case back. The self-winding movement may not match the quality of a $20,000 swiss luxury timepiece, but it’s not supposed to. For under $600 the NFW Autopilot is a bargain. Not just a bargain, but a steal. This is the watch you can leave to your grandson.

muddy-nfwMy watch has been mountain biking, skiing, accompanied some light construction projects and attended board meetings, and it has never seemed out of place. The band is dirty, but the case is still scratch free. If you’re looking for a rugged fully automatic mechanical watch, you’ve found it. We’ve heard that the NFW Autopilot fits the demands of Special Forces operators, but it certainly fits the needs of aging adrenaline junkies too.

Find your watch at NFW Online.


  1. I have this outstanding watch now for 2 years. plenty of people have stop me to ask what kind of watch i’m wearing. I have met George and he is one of a kind cool guy. if you are looking for a watch that isn’t on every other wrist, NFW should be on yours!

  2. I own a few NFW models including an Auto Pilot. George is a friend of mine through the watch collecting community. We have gotten together on a few different occasions and he is genuinely a GREAT guy. His attention to detail is second-to-none. In a world where people scrimp on quality to produce higher volumes to make more money, George is the opposite. He is involved in every aspect of the manufacture of HIS watches.

    When you purchase an NFW, you are becoming part of the NFW family and treated as such. George is heavily involved in raising money for causes like St. Jude’s and Veterans. Many “boutique” watch brands come out with models that everyone drools over and “HAS TO HAVE”, but you find those watches up for sale on various websites and forums months later. You don’t see that with NFWs. The suckers are built to last and as stated in the blog, you can FEEL the quality. You want to see how tight tolerances are that George INSISTS are held? Order the bracelet for the Auto Pilot. Quality like this doesn’t happen by accident!!!!!!

  3. Thanks very much for the outstanding review of our NFW AutoPilot.

    We have many of these on the wrists of U.S. Special Forces personnel, in Afghanistan and around the world, as well as on the wrists of many people who just appreciate a nice watch…

    Our philosophy is very simple, actually: Produce a very nicely designed & engineered watch; use the best materials, manufacturing and QC; Then price it reasonably and back it all up with excellent customer service and integrity. This simple, common-sense formula has served us very well.

    Thanks again!