Image © IWC Image © IWC

Five best pilot’s watches this Spring

Timepieces linked to aviation through their history, and whose visual characteristics have become a hallmark of the pilot’s watches genre.


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16 March 2016

Recent developments in high-end watches seem to suggest a renewed interest in pilot’s watches. Breguet presented a one-off platinum version of its classic Type XXI for the Only Watch auction in November 2015. IWC Schaffhausen has just presented its totally renewed collection of pilot’s watches. Montblanc’s 1858 Small Second Special Edition, presented in September 2015, is very close to the pilot’s aesthetic. And Patek Philippe created a big surprise at Baselworld 2015 with its lovely Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. Here are five of the finest pilot’s watches currently available – while we look forward to new models at the upcoming Baselworld 2016. 

1. A pilot’s watch by Montblanc

1Image © Montblanc

The Montblanc 1858 Small Second Special Edition is pure pilot’s, and what’s more, the vintage pilot’s appearance, with black dial, cathedral hands, generous SuperLuminova and a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. It reflects the earliest watches in the genre that were made using pocket watch calibres with the small seconds in that position. The heritage aspects of the piece are underlined by the name of the collection, 1858, the year in which Minerva was founded... continue reading 

2. IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage 55

1Image © IWC

IWC is one of the few watch brands with a lot of genuine lot of pilot’s watch history, and this piece is the perfect expression of the company’s DNA. It’s a huge watch at 55 mm, with a brown calfskin strap with the double rivets that were typical of the Beobachtungsuhren (observation watches) that were supplied to the Luftwaffe during the Second World War... continue reading

3. Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

1Image © Patek Philippe

This came as a surprise when it was presented at Baselworld in March 2015, because even though Patek Philippe have made a few aviation watches, they had never made anything with such a powerful classic pilot’s watch aesthetic. As a result it looks superficially like other classic pilot’s watches made by other brands... continue reading

4. Glashütte Original Senator Observer

1Image © Glashütte Original

Glashütte Original’s concept for this watch is based on antique naval timepieces, but the name Senator Observer seems to reflect a link to the Beobachtungs-uhren or Observation watches that were part of air force traditions. In this piece the pilot’s watch elements are the black dial, clear Arabic numerals, and hands and hour indications coated with SuperLuminova. Glashütte Original have added a few other ingredients to transform the piece into a practical, prestige, everyday watch... continue reading

5.  Breguet Type XXI

LUXOS Breguet XXIImage © Breguet

Breguet presented a one-off platinum version of the Type XXI for the Only Watch charity auction that took place in November 2015. Perhaps this means that we will see some new versions of these watches at Baselworld 2016, starting on 16 March? That would be very exciting for everyone interested in pilot’s watches... continue reading