The sky is our dear home - pilot's watch

The number of functional purposes and styles of modern watches is not easy to count, there are too many of them and there is a very great variety. An important and honorable place among them is occupied by "pilot's watches", which have both a certain set of mandatory technical characteristics and certain design features. Let's look at it from both sides, but first let's briefly recall the history of pilot's watches.

It is clear that time control in aviation is indispensable. The history of the conquest of the sky and the history of the development of wristwatches go hand in hand. The real start of the transition from pocket watches to wrist watches is connected precisely with the beginning of the development of airspace in the early years of the 20th century. One of the pioneers of aviation, a Frenchman of Brazilian origin Alberto Santos-Dumont, complained to his friend, the French watchmaker Louis Cartier, that it was very inconvenient to look for watches in your pocket during the flight, and then hide them back. And in 1904, Cartier made for Santos-Dumont a watch attached to the wrist with a strap.

The watch industry developed rapidly after the First World War, in step with the no less rapid development of aviation, which turned out to be an exceptionally powerful branch of the armed forces. Accordingly, professional watches for the flight crew were also required. As happens almost always, following the military industry, a similar civilian one developed. This also applies to both aviation and watches for it. By the beginning of World War II, the main requirements for pilot's watches had already been clearly formulated, concerning, as we mentioned at the very beginning of the review, both technical characteristics and design.

So, a pilot's watch must withstand vibrations, temperature and pressure changes, and magnetic fields. The “stop-second” function is mandatory - without it, the crews would not be able to accurately check the time before the flight. The case must be large, the dial must be readable at a glance. Hence - a predominantly dark background, distinct Arabic numerals, massive contrasting hands, effective luminescence. Hence the inadmissibility of glass glare. The characteristic features of professional "pilots" also include a large crown (so that it can be easily used with flying gloves) and an elongated strap (so that you can fasten it over your sleeve).

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As for the functionality, there is some variety here. Watches directly for pilots can be three-handers or chronographs, and also have such a complication as an indication of the time of the second time zone. And watches for navigators are often equipped with such exotic things as an aviation slide rule. It allows you to quickly perform the necessary calculations in flight: for example, control fuel consumption, convert miles into kilometers, etc. A compass scale is also useful.

Of course, in our time, pilot's watches have almost completely lost their professional significance: the instrument panels of aircraft and helicopters are equipped, among many other things, with the most accurate electronic instruments for controlling time and everything connected with it. True, the flight personnel of all the air fleets of the world (both military and civilian) are certainly equipped with wristwatches - as a backup.

But the main field of application of pilot's watches today is nothing more than style. Such an accessory on the wrist is in demand primarily by men full of energy and strength (or at least those who want to create such an idea about themselves). Pilot-style watches are produced by many brands: from full-fledged members of the “major league” (such products can be very expensive) to companies working for a more mass consumer.

Let's show some examples of pilot's watches.


This Swiss company is currently perhaps the only one in the world that produces exclusively pilot-style watches. Well, yes, the name obliges ... An interesting fact: the Aviator laboratory is located in the former control tower of the existing airfield. Of the company's products, we note three switchers (without a date - it, perhaps, with reason, was considered superfluous) Vintage Douglas Dacota, named after the iconic aircraft.

All the hallmarks of style are evident: satin-finish (i.e. non-reflective) steel, 45 mm diameter, water resistance 10 atmospheres (100 m), anti-reflective sapphire crystal, contrasting dial with luminous cathedral hands and Arabic numerals, large fluted crown, leather strap with folding clasp. The tried and tested Sellita SW200 automatic caliber is equipped with the Incabloc anti-shock system and a special Etachron regulator for increased precision. Plus decorative elements: for example, the design of the rotor in the form of an aircraft trimmer. A range of color solutions are offered.

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A high-quality Swiss brand operating in the affordable luxury segment, it specializes primarily in conquering the sea. But it does not disregard the element of air. Pronounced "pilots" are, for example, models from the Commander collection. One of the characteristic samples is a chronograph on a trouble-free and precise automatic caliber ETA 7750, in a 45 mm steel case, on a steel bracelet.

Here, too, everything is as it should be: a black dial with perfect readability (thanks to contrasting and luminescent hands and Arabic numerals), convenient crown and pushers, anti-reflective coating of sapphire crystal, 100-meter water resistance. Among the functions are not only the date, but also the day of the week (which, however, is not very typical for aviation watches, although not superfluous).


The young Australian watch brand operates in all three elements, releasing the Sea, Land and Air collections. It is clear that in our today's topic it is the latter, represented by the F46 line, where 46 indicates the case diameter in mm, and the letter F is the initial of the word Flieger printed on the dial, which is translated from German as “pilot”. This is a massive round steel watch (with or without IP coating), made in a distinctly "pilot" style: a powerful crown, an extremely clearly readable dial with large luminescent Arabic numerals, marks and hands, which, by the way, are stylized as propeller blades , as well as the decor of the transparent back cover, reminiscent of turbine blades.

The water resistance of the case is 50 m. Functionally, the watch is a three-hand watch with a date, driven by the Seiko TMI NH35 automatic caliber. Plus an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, plus multiple color options, plus a choice of Milanese weave bracelet, leather strap, Nylon NATO strap.


The American (with Swiss roots) watch company produces watches of various styles and purposes. Today our focus is on the Invicta Aviator collection. It is worth noting that many models in this collection are made in a rather avant-garde spirit, which raises some doubts about their "aviation".

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However, there are also quite suitable samples for this definition. Here, for example, quartz (on the high-precision Seiko TMI VD74 movement) watch: 50 mm steel case with black IP coating (virtually non-reflective), 100-meter water resistance, practical composite strap, signature Flame Fusion tempered mineral glass with anti-reflective coating, an absolutely clear indication of the current time on a black dial - bright white (besides, covered with proprietary Trinite phosphor) large hands, marks and Arabic numerals. Replacing the number "12" with a stylized image of an aircraft only emphasizes the style of the model.

It is impossible not to note four small counters: seconds, date, day of the week and - attention - the time of the second time zone (in 24-hour format). It remains to mention a convenient crown at 1.30, a decorative cable on the bezel and compass markings that surround the dial.

Cuervo Y Sobrinos

Genuine luxury: the fine Swiss brand of Cuban origin and its Pirata watch. In fact, Cuervo Y Sobrinos are not particularly fond of the air ocean, they are closer to the Atlantic, Pacific, etc. oceans. And in the Pirata collection, this direction is also visible, starting with the name and ending with the inscription “Pirata de el tiempo de la vida”, which winds around the periphery of the dial, which literally translates as “Pirate of the Lifetime” - this is probably a poetic call to take everything from life.

A slightly more attentive look will also catch the contours of the hull, reminiscent either of the contours of ancient ships, or of their cannons ... Nevertheless, the aviation features here are also undeniable and even prevail. Here, for example, is the Pirata Cronofago model (recall, the company practices labeling in Spanish - with the exception of Swiss Made). This is a 45 mm steel chronograph, powered by an automatic caliber ETA 7750 (aka Valjoux 7750), with date and day windows, powerful deltoid skeleton hands and Arabic numerals in vintage type (all luminescent, of course) on a black dial, with large corrugated bulb crown, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, on a black alligator leather strap. The water resistance of the case is 50 m. A nice bonus: the watch comes in a real humidor.


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