May 07, 2019
Up, up and away!
The pilot’s watch numbers among the most successful genres of timepiece. It owes its great popularity to its unmistakable design and outstanding functionality. Its popular instrumental look results from over a century of history as a technical aid aboard aircraft – because timepieces became indispensable navigational instruments when man first ventured into the sky. Although pilot’s watches have been continuously improved and technically upgraded over the decades, they continue to radiate this elementary spirit of adventure today. And even though modern measuring instruments and GPS have long since taken over their erstwhile tasks, pilot’s watches still convince aficionados with their original features, for example, optimal legibility, robust equipment and fine vintage aesthetics.
Zenith – Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver
The time-honoured Swiss manufacture is again reviving a chapter in the history of aviation and simultaneously also premiering a new material. The limited-edition Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver is Zenith’s first watch with a case and dial made of genuine silver, which provides an excellent contrast to the characteristic oversized numerals and the faceted cathedral hands in vintage style. The 45-mm-diameter case protects self-winding Calibre Elite 679, which builds up a 50-hour power reserve.
Bell & Ross – BR03-92 BI-Compass
This pilot’s watch par excellence boasts a new form of display that exclusively prioritizes legibility. Like its predecessors in aircraft’s cockpits, the bi-level dial shows the hours near its centre, the minutes farther toward its periphery, and the seconds on a scale concentrically between the two. Self-winding Calibre BR-CAL.302 serves as the mechanical flight computer inside the case, which remains watertight to a depth of 100 metres.
Oris – Big Crown Pointer Date
The legendary pilot’s watch from the Hölstein-based brand celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2018. The new special edition with a deep red dial revives the charming design of the original: an oversized crown, a grooved bezel, and the current date indicated by a hand sweeping along the dial’s periphery. The stainless steel case is 40 mm in diameter and contains Oris Calibre 754, which is based on the SW 200-1.
Edox – SkyDiver Military
This new timepiece has a mysterious history. Apparently, a wealthy Swiss colonel had ordered it in 1973 for his elite mountain paratroopers. Now Edox is releasing a new automatic version that effortlessly fulfills the requirements that were given to the original: it is water-resistant (300 metres) and of a very rugged quality in order to handle any tough situation on land, air or sea. The SkyDiver Military features a 2mm-thick sapphire crystals and Superlumoniva X1 on hands and indexes and is limited to 555 pieces.
Tutima – Flieger
The Glashütte watch manufactory welcomes a new member in its squadron of pilot’s watches. It features a green dégradé dial and continues the tradition of legendary pilot’s watches that Tutima began in the 1940s, but lends a decidedly modern take to the classic look. Powered by self-winding Tutima Calibre 330, the new three-handed watch comes with a 41-mm stainless steel case that’s pressure-tested to ten atmospheres, a screwed back with a sapphire crystal window, an antireflective sapphire crystal above the dial and a screw-down crown.
Grovana – Chronograph Airborne I
This traditional Swiss brand presents a new pilot’s chronograph with an expressive blue dial and a Ronda quartz movement. This watch’s generous diameter of 43 mm makes it easy to read the functions: date, hour, minute and second, as well as the chronograph’s elapsed-time displays. The case is made of 316L stainless steel and resists pressure to ten bar.
Aérowatch – Renaissance Grande Mécanique Aviateur
The Grande Mécanique Aviateur is ready for takeoff with a distinctive 43-millimeter stainless steel case. As the specifications of the pilot’s watch genre dictate, the case surrounds a black dial with luminescent numerals and hands designed to maximize legibility. A hand-wound movement – the Unitas 6498-1 – provides the power and shows the seconds on a subdial at “6 o’clock”. The calfskin strap underscores the vintage character.
Pointtec – Zeppelin-Chronograph “100 Jahre Zeppelin”
With the Zeppelin brand, this Munich-based manufacturer continues the legacy of Graf von Zeppelin, whose airships transported passengers for the world’s first commercial airline. The Zeppelin chronograph “100 Jahre Zeppelin” (“The Zeppelin’s Centennial”) revives the iconic style of that bygone era and brings tasteful vintage design to the wrist. A state-of-the-art calibre – the self-winding ETA/Valjoux 7753 chronograph movement – ticks behind the black or white dial. Another special feature of the “100 Jahre Zeppelin” is its chronometer certificate, which is issued by Glashütte Observatory.