• October 9, 2023
  • Watch Gonzo
  • 0

The bond between the aviation and watchmaking industries is truly fascinating. If you go a little back, you will find out that over the years, pilot watches have been held to strict standards and requirements. They served as both a practical tool and a symbol of our adventurous spirit that drives us to explore the skies.

Pilot watches have been crucial in helping pilots establish important information, such as fuel consumption, rate of climb or descent, etc., on a flight. The rich history of the pilot’s watch dates back to 1904, when Louis Cartier first made a wristwatch for his pilot friend and presented it to him at an air show. These days, pilot watches have evolved sensibly to include numerous features like GPS, chronographs, and weather sensors that help pilots make informed decisions.

In this blog, we have prepared a list of the hot choices of aviation people from every generation. From the most popular pilot watch, the Breitling Navitimer, to the latest in the house Ratio Skysurfer, we have covered it all for you.


Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43

Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 is one of the most admired Pilot watches on the market. Its design reflects the classic pilot watch look, with a black dial and white sub-dials. The watch also has a bi-directional bezel, allowing for easy calculations during flights.

One of the standout features of the Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 is its chronograph function. This function allows pilots to time specific events without needing a separate stopwatch. Additionally, the watch has a power reserve of 70 hours, ensuring dependable use during long flights.

As for the cons, the only real downside to this watch is its price range. It’s not the most budget-friendly option on the market, but with its build quality and features, the price point is understandable.

Citizen Promaster Navihawk JN0040 Blue Angel Watch

The Citizen Promaster Navihawk JN0040-58L is not just a watch; it’s more of a co-pilot for flying adventures. Engineered for aviators, this timepiece is a true reflection of excellence in pilot watches.

With its striking blue dial, reminiscent of the boundless sky, and luminous hands and markers, the Navihawk JN0040-58L ensures impeccable readability during day and night flights. Its multifunctional chronograph features, including world time zones, slide rule bezels, and alarms, make it an indispensable tool for pilots navigating the globe.

This watch features a robust stainless-steel case and a scratch-resistant mineral crystal. Water-resistant to a depth of 200 meters, it’s ready to accompany you from the cockpit to underwater explorations.

To talk about the cons, this watch is slightly on the heavier side in weight, but this can be seen as a symbol of quality.

IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “SFTI” is an aviation-inspired timepiece designed to withstand extreme conditions. With a sleek black ceramic case and a bold green dial, this watch is not only stunning but also highly functional.

In terms of design, the watch features luminescent hands and hour markers for easy readability even in low-light conditions. The sapphire crystal glass is anti-reflective, ensuring clarity and visibility at all times. The strap is made of black fabric and is comfortable to wear, making it ideal for long flights.

One of the main pros of this watch is its durability. The ceramic case and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass ensure that it can withstand the wear and tear of daily aviation activities. Additionally, the chronograph feature is useful for keeping track of flight time or other activities.

However, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “SFTI” does come at a premium price point, which may not be suitable for all budgets.

Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Automatic

The Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Automatic is a fantastic addition to the world of pilot watches. The watch comes with a black leather strap that complements the dial perfectly. The watch’s face is large, so you don’t miss a single detail, and it’s super easy to read with luminous hour markers. The watch features a chronograph and a date display and runs on an automatic movement. The bezel is bi-directional, which adds a touch of uniqueness and versatility to the watch. The price range for this watch is mid-range, making it an excellent option for those who want a quality watch without breaking the bank.

Seiko SNA411P1 Pilot's Flight Alarm Chronograph Men's Watch

Designed with aviation professionals in mind, this watch offers a comprehensive set of features. The chronograph function allows you to measure elapsed time with pinpoint accuracy, while the alarm feature keeps you on schedule during your flights. The slide rule bezel is a hallmark of Pilot’s watches, enabling critical calculations for fuel consumption, speed, and distance.

The watch’s striking design features luminous hands and markers, ensuring effortless readability even in low-light or nighttime conditions. Built to withstand the demands of aviation, the Seiko SNA411P1 boasts a robust stainless-steel case and scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal. With a water resistance of up to 200 meters, it’s ready to accompany you on airborne and aquatic adventures alike.

The Cons: This watch may be a little large for the wrist if you have a small wrist. However, when you put it on, you can’t just resist the charm of it.

Bremont U-2/51-JET

Bremont U-2/51-JET is another magnificent pilot watch that deserves to be on the top 10 list. Its sleek, polished design adds to its appeal and makes it stand out. The watch is fitted with a GMT function that displays an additional time zone, which is pretty useful for air travel. The watch is also protected by a hardened stainless-steel case that can withstand extreme pressure and rough handling.

One of the most significant features of Bremont U-2/51-JET is its anti-shock mount, which enhances its durability. The watch is fitted with an automatic movement that boasts a power reserve of up to 38 hours. The watch also has an impressive water-resistant feature that can withstand depths of up to 100 meters.

However, this watch comes with a high price tag, which can be a considering factor for many. Nonetheless, it is a top-performing watch that is worth investing in if you are looking for a high-end pilot watch.

Ratio Skysurfer 

A newcomer in the world of Pilot watches from the house of Ratio; this watch is crafted to meet the needs of aviators and adventure-seekers alike.

Designed with precision in mind, the Skysurfer RTS307 features a Seiko NH38A automatic movement and a fully luminous dial that radiates in low-light conditions. Its well-applied luminous markers and hands guarantee easy readability, making it an ideal companion for nocturnal flights or nighttime escapades.

The premium leather strap adds durability and comfort to your wrist during high-flying adventures. With a water resistance rating of 200 meters, it’s equally at home in the cockpit or underwater.

As for cons, people might talk about its simplicity. However, simplicity is what makes it even more amazing. It’s Like taking you back to the good old days.

Zeppelin 100 Years ED.1

This timepiece is not just a watch; it’s a tribute to a century of aviation excellence. The Zeppelin 100 Years ED.1 is a masterpiece of design, blending classic aviation aesthetics with modern functionality. Its striking dial features bold numerals and luminous hands, ensuring effortless readability even in challenging conditions. The day-and-date function adds practicality to the Pilot’s journey, while the stopwatch helps to measure elapsed time.

Crafted in Germany, this watch reflects the country’s commitment to precision engineering. The stainless-steel case and genuine leather strap exude quality and durability. With a water resistance of 50M, it can handle the daily life of a Pilot pretty well.

However, this is not a high-end watch if that’s what you are looking for. With a price range between 300$ – 400$, this can be your go-to watch if you don’t want to spend a fortune.

Longines Avigation Type A-7 USA Limited Edition

Longines Avigation Type A-7 USA Limited Edition exudes elegance and simplicity in design. The 44mm diameter stainless steel case with a black dial gives it a classic pilot watch look. The watch features large Arabic numerals with Super-LumiNova coating for readability in low light. The Longines Avigation Type A-7 USA Limited Edition has a self-winding movement with a 64-hour power reserve. Pros: The vintage look combined with modern features makes it an excellent choice for aviation enthusiasts. The power reserve and water resistance of up to 30m adds to practicality.

Cons: The watch might be on the heavier side due to its large size. It may not be suitable for people with smaller wrists.

Price range: The Longines Avigation Type A-7 USA Limited Edition is priced at $3,250, making it a mid-priced option in the market.

Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 is a high-performance pilot’s watch with a unique and innovative design. This watch comes with a host of features, including a large 44mm case diameter, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and water resistance up to 100m. The watch is powered by Oris’s proprietary Calibre 115 movement, which offers a power reserve of 10 days.

Design-wise, the ProPilot X Calibre 115 boasts a sleek and modern look with a black DLC stainless steel case and a black dial with white Arabic numerals. The dark green textile strap adds a touch of uniqueness and personality to the watch.

Pros of the watch include its impressive power reserve and design. The additional features, such as the water resistance and anti-reflective sapphire crystal, add to its practicality.

However, the watch might be on the pricier side for some, with a price range of around $7,000 – $8,000.

Casio G-Shock Gravitymaster GPW-2000

Casio G-Shock Gravitymaster GPW-2000 is a perfect blend of durability and style. Technically, it’s not a pilot watch, but it comes with shock resistance and GPS capabilities, making it ideal for pilots on the go. The watch also includes solar power and accurate timekeeping, making it a reliable choice. The design features a black resin band and carbon fiber insert, giving it a tough and sporty look. The watch face is easy to read, with a high-contrast digital display and LED backlight.

Pros include a long battery life and water resistance of up to 200 meters.

Cons include a slightly bulky size and a complex menu interface.

A Final Say

In our list, we have included the best pilot watches for aviators. However, there are many other watches that might not have made it to the list, but they certainly deserve praise when it comes to their performance.

From the non-traditional Bell & Ross BR 03-94 MULTIMETER to Rolex Air King 126900, the pilot watches have etched their mark deep into the history of watchmaking and have always been appreciated by the entire timekeeping community.

Nowadays, modern aircraft are equipped with the latest in cutting-edge navigational and communication technology, but Pilot watches still remain a crucial tool for many airmen and women and also serve as a nostalgic link to the past.