You’ll find flyer watches aplenty but real flight tools are rare and more than that, awfully priced; often insanely. The Seiko Flightmaster, despite being developed specifically for pilots and tech-pros, has been affordably priced compared to other quartz chronographs with multiple functionalities. With its rotary slide-rule and a 60-minute chronograph (1/5th second) and dual-time/alarm, the Flightmaster exhibits itself in multiple colour and strap variations, making for an excellent choice that’s low-maintenance and feature rich.
Overcoming the fear
The rotary flight computer has been for long wearing the stigma of mathematical apparatus and unless you are a scientist, an engineer or you build rockets or you are going to the moon, you wouldn’t go for one on/in your watch. But the slide-rule can perform an incredible amount of mathematical operations that are handy in a day to day life; from basic math to unit conversions. A little practice is enough to get fluent with it. It is actually a mechanical calculator that you can carry around on your wrist.
At the surface
The Flightmaster has a very comfortable size. It appears larger than your usual watch, yet accommodates itself over various wrist sizes well, without barring the wearers’ natural movements; neither jutting out abruptly. A suitable alternative to iconic pilot watches like the (Breitling Navitimer), the Flightmaster has earned a somewhat cult status and doesn’t need you to empty your wallet.
Its case design is basic but robust. The simple, polished cylindrical barrel has short straight lugs, a radial-brushed case-back and a black chronograph dial. The crown and chronograph pushers are screw-down; a concept that offers very high levels of dust, moisture and water resistance, locking them in either an open or a closed position. The bezel’s grippy, saw-toothed edge is a big aid to its smooth, bi-directional rotations; it makes adjustments and calculations get done in a snap. There’s no reason why you can’t use it in water, albeit not for intense scuba or saturation diving.
Just below the surface
An intense dial shows through the low-refraction Hardlex crystal; its slightly domed shape magnifying the raised and reflective surfaces underneath and the cluster of sub-dials. The bright yellow, central, chronograph hand has a sporty touch to it, enhancing visibility and lending a bit more of visual interest.
The lume is strong and long-lasting, but takes a little longer to charge, both for the markers and the hands. There’s no lume on the sub-dials and the rotary scale; however.
Should you buy it?
IMHO, you should; if you want a substantial watch with many tricks up its sleeve, including finding out square roots, estimated time of arrival, speed (based on distance and time), fuel consumption and climbing rates and unit conversions.
Below are links to some Flightmaster models. Click to see and buy.