Aviator Watches For Pilots

aviator watches for pilots

Keeping track of time is essential for a pilot


When I become a successful pilot I will have a Rolex watch'. Wishful thinking but not far removed from the minds of a number of pilots.

All pilots need to have an accurate watch or timepiece. A watch is a vital piece of kit for a pilot to assist with logging time, navigation, meeting schedules, keeping track of fuel usage and tank changes, knowing when to cancel the Sarwatch.

The list continues. Wristwatches came into general use around the end of WW 1 and soon became a must for pilots. Over the following years watchmakers developed pilot watches with the features that they perceived were best for the user.

The first wristwatches were of the mechanical clockwork variety that required winding of the crown or knob. These days most watches are of the quartz electronic variety.

There are some watches that are self-winding that come from the movement of the wearer's wrist.

For a pilot a reliable wristwatch is essential. The CASA regulations call for a pilot to have an accurate timepiece, one that also shows seconds.

These days a panel or yoke-mounted timepiece is almost history. These units always seem to not be working when needed, therefore a pilot has to provide his or her own.

As pilots get older they appreciate having a larger watch face to check the time at a glance and not have to peer at the face to read the time.

Female pilots are seen more these days with a larger watch face than the typical female small-faced jewellery watch. There are various presentations.

The round face with sweeping hands is the most common. There can also be watches that have a digital presentation and there are even LED presentations that require a button to be pressed.

There are several features that come on some watches. One is to have smaller sub-dials that can record seconds, minutes and hours in a stopwatch function. The smaller faces can be hard to read.

A rotating bezel on the outside of the watch face can be a useable feature, good to record a particular time, for example start-up, or when a function like a fuel tank change is due.

Some watches come with the ability to show the day and date. Luminous hands and markings are good for night use. Others can show a 24-hour presentation or even have a built in alarm.

New style smart-watches can give time, heart rate, GPS location and even have inbuilt calculators. One model even has an emergency ELT function.

Most watches these days are water resistant, that is safe for a brief dunking into water, while others can be used as a diving watch and stay under water for longer. And you pay for what you get.

And a pilot's watch needs to be functional, not a jewellery item

From an instructor's point of view there seems to be a modern trend with new young students to turn up without a wristwatch. Excuses are many and varied.

"It is at the repairer's. The battery is flat. It got lost/damaged/I forgot it/I don't wear a watch. Why do I need one when I have my mobile phone?" Most instructors have heard them all. The best policy to adopt is 'No watch - no fly'.

Wrist bands seem to come in three varieties: Leather, rubber and metal bracelet. Some pilots choose not to wear a metal bracelet type in case of electrical short circuit issues, perhaps from a pre-flight inspection.

Leather straps are more prone to failing with age and wear than the others. The main thing is that the band is comfortable and durable.

Now wearing a high-end wristwatch may be a good for the ego but you can still get a perfectly functional wristwatch for far less than four figures.

And a few watch tips. It can pay to have that watch serviced once a year. That may be as simple as getting a new battery installed.

If working up-country or in a remote area a wise move would be to have a second or spare watch as a back-up in case the primary watch gets damaged or runs out of power. Indeed, the same philosophy applies to having a second headset in case the prime unit gets damaged.

It can be best not to wear a watch under the shower. Even if the unit is waterproof the heating and cooling of the item can turn air inside it into moisture and develop corrosion.

Some thoughts on a good pilot's watch. Large face. Easy to read (instantly). Rugged. Accurate. Reliable. Water resistant. Display hands. Big second hand. Has a rotating bezel. Black face. Luminous hands and markings.

There are watches and there are watches. A pilot needs a functional watch that gives the time at a glance and is reliable, accurate and keeps time. A good watch purchase will give good service and last years.

Form, Function and Beautiful Style You have to hand it to Breitling


Sometimes awesome, sometimes baffling, but neverlacking confidence

It's clear that the independent brand is comfortable sticking to its guns by delivering watche s big on personality - like the new Breitling Avenger Hurricane.

An unapologetic beast of a watch that comes on the heels of the release of the Breitling Avenger Bandit the Hurricane encapsulates every macho superlative that's ever described the brand in a singular design hewn from an all-new proprietary ultralight polymer called Breitlight.

But the weight savings aren't the only advantage to Breitlight. The subtly textured composite is also naturally anti-magnetic, hypoallergenic, and is largely impervious to corrosion or scratches, lending a semi-permanent degree of protection unmatched by other luxury brands.

This makes it a perfect long-term match for Breitling's signature military design aesthetic. Beneath all that not-carbon-frbre beats the Breitling B12 - an in-house automatic chronograph movement characterised by 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers and backed by a generous 70-hour power reserve.

The B12 has a great deal in common with, Breitling's B01 calibre, but has a military-style 24-hour display instead of the standard 12, which is undeniably cool, it's worth pointing out that there are very few brands producing watches with 24-hour movements, and even fewer actually producing those movements in-house - a fact that puts the B12 in some pretty rare airspace.

Sitting alongside the rest of its tacticool Avenger cousins, it's clear the Breitling Avenger Hurricane is targeted squarely at the helm of a multi-disciplinary fleet of military-type watches with land, sea and air competency. Starting with 100m of water resistance, all the other Avenger design signatures are here including the stenciled Arabic dial aggressively knurled screw-down crown, and a uni-directional diver-type Breitlight bezel with Breitling's grippy rider tabs for easy manipulation with gloves.

The watch is finished with a woven textile strap stitched atop a contrasting yellow rubber core which neatly matches the yellow accents on the diaI. The Breitling Avenger Hurricane will undoubtedly attract a fair amount of attention for its liberal proportions, but if its exaggerated, military-inspired design language speaks to you - and if you've got the wrist of a Nordic powerlifter and the confidence of a supervillain in a future Expendables sequel, this could very well be the watch for you.

Hamilton - Khaki X-Wind


This is a milestone year for Hamilton Watch. The Swiss company marks 100 years since it became the official timekeeper of the U.S. air­ mail flights between Washington, Philadelphia and New York City.

To mark the occasion, Hamilton has created a special timepiece that rep­ resents the watchmaker's long and storied history in aviation — the Hamilton 2018 limited-edition Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono.

Based on the original Khaki X-Wind, the 2018 edition includes new aviation-specific features for pilots (such as a drift-angle calculator handy forjudging crosswind com­ ponent) and is equipped with a silicon hairspring, meaning it should deliver the same level of perfor­ mance many years from now as it does when new.

This is a big watch, for pilots who like the look and feel of something sub­ stantial on their wrist. The diameter is 45 mm, and the thickness 14.85 mm. The case is made from stain­ less steel, and the dial is black with khaki accents.

The watch comes with a leather strap and is water resistant to 100 meters. As a nod to its 100-year anniversary, Hamilton is limiting production of the 2018 version to 1,918 pieces. Price: $2,995.