Up, Up And Away With 15 Best Pilot Watches For Every Price Point
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Up, Up And Away With 15 Best Pilot Watches For Every Price Point

Up, Up And Away With 15 Best Pilot Watches For Every Price Point


Being a pilot has surpassed almost every element of just being the man in the sky. This is certainly the situation for the timepieces.  It’s more than a case size, bezel or dial colour. Much more.

From classic aviator shades, sheepskin leather jackets and tan leather gloves, wearing these items has become more of a fashion statement than a representation of your profession. May we just say, we think that’s absolutely fantastic!

This has also stemmed from the wristwear that pilots typically adorned. Be it form or function, many enthusiasts are veering towards pilot watches which are fast becoming the ideal alternative to the luxury sports watch. Look at Formula 1 icon Lewis Hamilton who has been flexing the latest 2023 IWC timepieces on his wrist including the Lake Tahoe TOP GUN.

But without giving too much away so early on, it’s time for a timekeeping fact. Did you know the Cartier Santos was the first ever pilot’s and wrist worn watch? We like to keep you on your toes. Now, while its history is still highly respected, it has since been associated with fashion rather than flight. 

This is the same for the Rolex GMT-Master, originally released in 1954 for the dawn of transcontinental travel. Originally worn by the majority of pilots, expect to see this piece on the fashionable and famous like Orlando Bloom and Omega ambassador Daniel Craig. 

We know that fighter pilots may have ice in their veins. So we want you to buy a watch that can keep up with the everyday pace of inside and outside the office whilst looking the part…all at the same time. 

If you are a hardcore aviator, military fiend, tool geek or just love a chronograph, sit back and enjoy our must read guide to the best pilot watches. Suitable for all manner of budgets and styles, there’s one below with your name on it.

Look, everyone gets excited about Pilot watches. Charlotte Harris at WatchGecko found that aviator timepieces like the Seiko 5 Sports Flieger and The Bulova Lunar Pilot are top pieces for nose diving into horological glory!

Time is pressing so let’s get into the definition of pilot watches, the difference between a pilot watch and a standard piece and the famous wearers of pilot watches. 


Is There A Difference Between A Pilot Watch And A Normal Watch?


There most certainly is a noticeable variance, Timelords. 


Source - Sotheby’s

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Pilot watches and normal watches undergo two entirely different stylings, including case sizes and materials to suit each other's purpose. Typically, pilot watches pride themselves on links to the industry through their design styles or use of complications. 

Boasting a highly distinctive design, pilot watches have high contrast hour markers and hands with the dial background. The key feature is that they are extremely legible due to their healthy dosage of lume, allowing for the watches to be visible in the poorest of environments. 

With some brands like Breitling utilising a slide rule bezel or others like Rolex utilsing chronograph functions to be able to quickly calculate elapsed time and distance to landing or calculate fuel consumption. Pilot watches pride themselves on links to every facet of aviation. With large crowns and featuring extremely precise measuring tools, they were produced out of necessity, aiding many pilots during both World Wars.

Some brands like Bell & Ross utilise watches with GMT functions which offer a dual time zone feature. As you can imagine, these are integral for pilots crossing over time zones, so GMT functions allow for multiple time zones to be measured at once. 

It can be safely assumed that pilot watches are therefore generally more durable, feature more complications relating to flight and house a fair dose of lume for maximum legibility, over that of their normal sportier counterparts. 


What Is A Pilot’s Watch?


Pilot watches have been on the run for well over 100 years. 


Source - Sotheby’s

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Started off by Cartier in 1906 and first being placed on the wrist of Brazilian aviator, Alberto Santos Dumont, Louis Cartier created a wrist worn watch that allowed for easy access for pilots. This was in stark contrast to the hard-to-reach pocket watches, normally found in jackets. 

Pilot watches are now as hot as Ryan Gosling rocking the TAG Heuer Carrera pink dial at the 2023 Barbie film premiere. Oh yes, pink is very much in gents. Isn’t it about time you embrace your feminine side? Negating its profession for style and refinement, don’t be fooled in thinking these aviator inspired watches have lost any of their functionality. 

Pilot watches are a rarity as they are some of the most functional variations around. Capable of calculating a variety of things including airspeed and promoting easy functionality with serrated crowns and bezels, these watches are prime for the man who loves to flaunt his detail. Models are crafted from a multitude of materials, including titanium for its lightweight properties and precious metals like yellow gold for those looking to buy a watch with a touch of luxury.


Why Do Pilots Like Breitling Watches?


Pilot’s adore Breitling watches. We could leave it as that, but the reasons are far too interesting to leave out!

In the 1940s, Breitling adapted their successful Chronomat line to feature an integrated circular slide rule bezel. The slide rule bezel allowed pilots to calculate a number of flight equations, including rate and time of ascent and descent, even distance and even fuel consumption. 

In a period where computers were not popularised, this was essential. Suffice to say, it was later a key talking point of the Navitimer as released in 1954. Due to the Navitimer’s success, the watch was adopted by the AOPA (Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association) as their chief watch. It soon became the watch of the pilot!


Famous Wearers Of Pilot Watches


There are a vast number of famous wearers who adorn pilot watches. 


Source - IWC

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Below are just a handful of celebs that are hankering for the need for speed. Chances are, they’ve never even been in the big seat before!



For some brands like Longines, famous wearers tend to be those who have put their mettle to the pedal in the cockpit. Longines was the go to brand for well renowned pilots like Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, Elinor Smith and Paul-Emile Victor. 

So, we’ve run through the details behind what makes a pilot’s watch, the great social elites that wear them and why they are different from your standard timepiece. Are you ready to be taken to the clouds above?

Fasten your seatbelts…it’s time for take off as we reveal the 15 best pilot watches for every price point! 


Rolex GMT-Master II 126718GRNR


Fresh off the horological platter is a recognisable pilot’s watch in the shape of the Rolex GMT-Master II 126718GRNR. 


Source - Brand’s Site

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The Rolex GMT-Master II is well noted in the horological industry for its links to the aviation and pilot’s world. Originally released in 1954 with the 6542, the piece was given a high luminescent Bakelite bezel and was made following on from the boom in transcontinental flight. Offering GMT functions, two time zones could easily be deciphered. 

This latest edition, continues in very much the same vein, but with an increasingly modernised casing.

Crafted entirely out of yellow gold, this pilot watch comes in at 40mm case size. The bezel is two tone in order to facilitate the AM and PM time zones. Given a black shading for PM and a grey shading for AM, the ceramic bezel is complemented with an arrow tipped hand on the bezel that circles once every 24 hours. 

Featuring a bi-directional rotatable 24-hour graduated bezel, the home and away time is ingenious and cements this timepiece as one of the best pilot watches. The local time is set with an ingenious mechanism that powers a jumping hand that moves from hour to hour, altered via the winding crown. Allowing for travellers to change the time without affecting the precision of the timepiece is revolutionary, not to mention a marvellous spectacle!

Do you want legibility? The dial is blacked out but is exceptionally legible due to the patented Chromalight display. Given broad hands and hour markers which are made up of triangles, circles and rectangles, they are a bright white and edged with yellow gold, plus,  luminescence is prioritised, ensuring an excellent degree of visibility. 

Crafted out of 18K yellow gold, Rolex found their own materials, boasting the level of quality and autonomy that they have over their own pieces. Fitted with a similarly yellow gold Jubilee bracelet, it was originally made for the Datejust in 1945 but looks sublime on the model. Featuring an Oysterlock safety clasp and an Easylink extension link, the pilot watch is prime for the man on the move. 

Powered by the 3285 movement, the pilot watch offers an impressive power reserve of 70 hours and is a Superlative Chronometer, ensuring first rate reliability and accuracy that would give Tom Brady a run for his money. We recommend you wear a tan suede jacket with this beauty to keep with the light, golden casing. 

You can buy a Rolex GMT-Master II 126718GRNR at retail for £32,700 at the time of writing.


Breitling Aviator 8 Curtiss Warhawk Automatic


Want a good limerick? Try saying this next one out loud five times!


Source - Twitter

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The history behind this piece relates to Breitling’s involvement with the RAF and various air force teams. Breitling has a very rich history with the armed forces, especially when it came to supplying them with instruments for the planes. 

During this period, a company named Curtiss Wright was a key aircraft manufacturer, releasing an extremely popular and frankly imperious aircraft, the P-40. It’s only right that Breitling gives a nod to such a revolutionary aircraft innovator. 

They have pulled no punches when it came to releasing The Aviator 8 Curtiss Warhawk Automatic. The watches shape closely follows the Navitimer 8 in terms of its rounded design and 41mm sizing, but it goes one step further by bolstering the steel frame with a DLC coating. 

In essence, it boosts the durability whilst enhancing both scratch and corrosion resistance of the piece. A real military feel, they have opted to give the watches a brushed aesthetic, allowing the model to keep its rugged edge and remind us that this is not a piece to hide beneath shirt cuffs! The dial's face is similarly given a militarised look, employing the use of a British Racing green to allow the white, luminescent Arabic numerals take centre stage. 

Capable of reaching 100 metres of water resistance, it supports this by using a screw-down crown and screw down back. It is engraved with a plane emblem and the word “Curtiss” as an ode to aviation legends. Powered by the Calibre 17 movement it enjoys COSC certification, offering a 40 hour power reserve and a hardy frequency at 28,800VpH. It runs how it looks…like a battle hardened tank!

You can no longer buy a Breitling Aviator 8 Curtiss Warhawk Automatic at retail as it’s been discontinued at the time of writing. You can buy it on the secondary market for around £5,000 at the time of writing. 


Cartier Santos Dumont Micro Rotor


The Cartier Santos is the Godfather of all pilot watches. What a claim to fame! Mind you we do have a penchant for what the said actor in the film Apocalypse Now, had on his wrist.

Estimated at around £1.8 million, the steel Rolex GMT-Master 1675 is given an “M”, for Marlon Brando, engraving on the caseback. Given to his daughter, Petra Brando, the watch was worn in the film Apocalypse Now. After arguing with the director about being able to wear it in the film, they compromised and he removed the bezel, resulting in an extremely unique timepiece. 

Source - Brand’s Site

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First released in 1906, the piece was made for pioneering pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont. Cartier has now bolstered the pilot model with a sublime update that’s as avant-garde as it is a fascinating creation. 

The modern watches follow the classical shaping we all admire with this top luxury brand, but goes one step further with even softer curves. This particular edition is given a rounded square shape with eight screws in the bezel. Featuring a pointed sapphire cabochon on the right of the design, the 32.4mm x 43.5mm case size watch is the perfect case size for the modern wearer. 

Crafted out of yellow gold, the watches dial is entirely skeletonised, showcasing the brand new 9629 MC automatic skeleton movement. The movement totals a slim 212 components, but with one aspect that we are sure you noticed straight away. 

A large aperture situated in the bottom left of the timepiece, boasts a platinum micro-rotor that features a small replica of Santos-Dumont's aircraft. Given a counterbalance through the openworked barrel at 1 o’clock, how’s that for a pilot piece!

The Santos-Dumont combines yellow gold material with a gorgeous usage of blue lacquer across the surfaces of the model. The hour markers are unconventional, as they are made up of the squared bridge that spiderwebs out to the periphery of the dial's face. Featuring blued steel sword shaped hands that are legible against the dials face, the 9629 MC movement runs at 28,800VpH and offers a 46 hour power reserve. 


You can buy a Cartier Santos Dumont Micro Rotor at retail for around £32,000 at the time of writing. 


Longines Spirit Zulu Time


The Longines Spirit Zulu Time is as good a link to the pilot world as anything. 


Source - Longines

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Linking to Longines storied history of pilot watches, the piece links to the original dual-time zone pilot watch manufactured in 1925 as it similarly boasted a Zulu flag on the dial as noted by the “Z”, a universal time identifier. 

This updated edition follows the same stylings of the past. Crafted out of stainless steel for the casing, these picture perfect pilot watches feature an 18K yellow gold crown on the edge of the bi-directional rotating bezel. 

At 42mm, the Spirit Zulu Time is given a rounded case which adheres to a dressy watch style. The dial is an anthracite shade, allowing the applied, yellow gold Arabic numerals to clearly pop. The hands are gilt and taper down to a thin arrow head. Dosed up with Swiss Super-LumiNova, the watches are highly luminescent and offer high levels of visibility.

COSC certified, it boasts the text “Zulu Time” and Longines signature 5 star emblem positioned at 6 o’clock.

Powered by the L844.4 movement, the watches offer a 72 hour power reserve, as well as a solid 25,200 VpH. Supported with a silicon balance spring, the pilot watch is anti-magnetic while the movement is home to the hours, minutes, seconds and date, as well as the pilot inspired 24 hours hand with time zone mechanism. 

Fitted with a tan synthetic strap, it is supported with a buckle, allowing you to be as sharp as a razor in all circumstances. We recommend you wear a brown cashmere jumper or a black turtleneck for added refinement.

You can buy a Longines Spirit Zulu TIme at retail for £4,000 at the time of writing. 


IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe


The IWC Pilots watches are the ultimate cockpit instrument look-alike. Don’t forget the big onion crown either. But there are many layers to uncover concerning this luxury novelty.


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The first pilots watch from IWC was released in the mid-1930’s for professional pilot users. Its highly robust design allowed it to be tough enough to withstand strong temp fluctuations of -40/+40 degrees. 

Skip all the way to 2023, and the watch is not only stronger, but uses revolutionary innovations and stylings to bolster it as one of the best pilot watches around. 

The IWC Big Pilot Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe comes in a very large 46.5mm case size that’s crafted out of white ceramic. Ceramic is held very dear to their heart for a number of reasons, not just because it’s an incredible material to utilise. 

Ceramic is highly scratch resistant and generally very durable which is perfect for pilot watches. Oh yes, you can also get a sublime shade of colour too! They presented the first ever ceramic model in 1986 as noted with the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar 3755. Since then, they have continued to strive to make the best ceramic timepieces possible. 

This edition is confirmed by IWC and Pantone as the colour, “IWC Lake Tahoe'', a direct link to the wintery landscape that surrounds the U.S Navy TOPGUN flight school. Given a gorgeous black dial, the hands are similarly black, but are justified with a thick layer of lume from the centre to its tip. The hour markers are large, white Arabic numerals which are similarly daubed with lume like the hands. 

The dial's face features a number of complications which all pertain to those in the piloting business. One of the main ones is the perpetual calendar that was actually developed by the brand’s own Kurt Klaus in the 1980s. Now mechanically programmed to release the various lengths of different months and the leap years, this auto adjusts up until the year 2100. 

Featuring a patented double moon phase display that shows the moon phases as appearing in the northern and southern hemisphere, this will only deviate one day after 577.5 years. The stunning automatic Pellaton winding movement, calibre 52615 offers an incredible 168 hour power reserve and a solid frequency of 28,800VpH. And that deserves a big tick in our horological book.

We recommend you wear this piece with a white cashmere for the cold autumn and winter months, or a classic shearling jacket if you are feeling the aviator vibe. You can buy an IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe at retail for £34,900 at the time of writing. 


Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback


The Zenith Pilot collection first took flight in 1909 when French aviator Louis Bleriot became the first man to fly across the English Channel. On his wrist was the gorgeous “Special” Zenith model which boasted chrome plated casing and a black enamel dial with Arabic numerals. 


Source - Zenith

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So, how have things changed for this brand new Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback? Coming in with a 42.5mm case size, the watch is crafted out of black ceramic and boasts an oversized crown. Given a fantastic circular casing to offer a dressy design, the watches dial is given a matte black corrugated styling. 

The hour markers are made up of large Arabic numerals which are highly luminescent. Fitted with a gorgeous black cordura-effect rubber strap that’s nicknamed “Pilot - Jet Blackstone” the entire piece looks seamless. Pilot watches have never looked so mysterious! Move over Peter Andre.

The dial is similarly made with two white sub dials, linking up with the Flyback Chronograph  which has a 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock and an instantaneous Big Date located at 6 o’clock. The hours and minutes in the centre feature a small seconds at 9 o’clock. 

Water resistant to 100 metres, the watch is powered by the highly revered El Primero 3652 movement. Made up of 303 components, this timepiece has an astonishing frequency of 36,000VpH with a great weekend-proof power reserve of 60 hours. 

It’s classy black sheen means this can link in with a beautiful black suit ensemble if you are feeling the desire to get suited up. You can buy a Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback at retail for £11,900 at the time of writing. 


Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Boeing 747


A watch that’s inspired by pilots, made for pilots and linked to a major aeroplane? May we introduce, The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 42 Boeing 747


Source - Brand’s Site

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The Navitimer was released in 1952 as a solution for pilot watches looking for a watch that could calculate important pilot equations such as fuel consumption and time until landing. This was performed by the introduction of a slide rule bezel that was promptly adorned by airline captains and enthusiasts. 

The Boeing 747 first started in 1969 and has allowed for long haul flights to carry a new generation of passengers. Being a pilot has never been so good! Boeing announced it was calling time on the jumbo juggernaut, releasing its final 747 model and spurring the brand to release the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Boeing 747. 

Following the colour codes of the legendary aircraft, it is coloured cream on the dial and flange, featuring three black sub dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, plus gives a red inner slide rule scale with blue accents. 

Crafted out of stainless steel at 43mm case size, it features a screwed in, cambered sapphire crystal to deal with drops in air pressure. The watch is powered by the self-winding, mechanical Breitling 01 movement. Offering a 70 hour power reserve, the movement powers chronograph functions like a ¼ second, 30 minute and 12 hour sub dials, not to mention running at 28,800VpH. 

Limited to, you guessed it…747 pieces, it is fitted on a black alligator strap. The watch could be worn both when shaking hands with the CEO or flying to Paris for that important meeting. Engraved with the words “The Original Jumbo Jet” and “One Of 747”, you can buy a Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Boeing 747 at retail for £7,550 at the time of writing. 


IWC Pilot’s Le Petit Prince Chronograph


Gather around, humble Timelords. It’s story time!


Source - Brand’s Site

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IWC and Fondation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry joined forces in 2005 to collaborate and keep the thoughts and works of Antoine De Saint-Exupéry alive. The man himself was a few things, including a poet, writer and aviator. 

Joining the Armed Forces, it was believed he died in 1944 when he disappeared on a mission for the Free French Air Force in North Africa. His most famous work is Le Petit Prince, a novel that has been translated in 250 languages and sold over 140 million copies. 

Following the story of a stranded prince in the Sahara desert, IWC have capitalised on this by making a number of iconic luxury pilot watches, dutifully named The Le Petit Prince. All of them feature a small emblem of the prince on the back of his cape and cropped blonde hair. 

Coming in at 43mm of solid stainless steel, it features a screw in crown and solid back with 60 metres of water resistance. The dial is a subtle navy blue shade with a sun-ray aesthetic, allowing light to enhance any of the funky features on the watch's face. 

Placed on a brown calfskin leather strap, it is ultimately refined, without any need to sway on the side of being overly sporty or dressy. The dial features chronograph functions, including hours, minutes and seconds, alongside a day and date display. Locked in with a sapphire crystal to protect against drops in air pressure, the model is secured against all of your ground based activities. 

The 79320 calibre is protected by a soft-iron inner segment, ensuring maximum protection against magnetism. Offering 44 hours of power reserve, a frequency of 28,800VpH and a fancy Côtes de Genève finish (which we cannot see unfortunately), the movement is ready for your globe trotting adventures, be it signing multi million pound contracts in the office, or up in the sky in your private jet. 

You can no longer buy an IWC Pilot’s Le Petit Prince Chronograph at retail as it’s been discontinued since 2016. You can buy it on the secondary market for around £4,200 at the time of writing. 


Bell & Ross BR 03 Phantom


The Bell & Ross BR 03 Phantom is not the timepiece favoured by Luke Skywalker. Yet this pilot's watch poses no menace as the blackened spectre will undoubtedly be your best travel buddy in the sky. 


Source - Brand’s Site

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At 41mm case size, it is crafted out of micro blasted black ceramic. In its classic squared case, The BR 03 collection symbolises the classic circle in a square with four screws style design. This model drops down to 41mm case size which is a lot more accessible to modern wearers. 

The collection prides itself on its history within the aerospace world. Focusing on legibility and functionality, this is a prime instrument for the modern gentleman. They utilise ceramic in this model as it’s highly resistant to temperature fluctuations, acid exposure and general corrosion. 

The blackened styling is immense and rarely adopted, but we recommend these pilot watches look perfect as the ultimate subtle piece. The dial is similarly pitch black, including the Arabic numerals and the hands. How can you see any of this? Well, it is dosed with a photoluminescent coating that allows for the time to be capably read under any conditions. 

Reaching 100 metres of water resistance, it powers the GMT functionality, hours, minutes, seconds and date aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock. The watch is strapped on top of a black rubber and durable synthetic fabric strap and connected by a matt black, steel pin buckle. It is powered by the BR-CAL.302 movement which offers a 54 hour power reserve. 

Black and suave, wear this with a white suit shirt to let the black stand out, or let it fit in with a black suit jacket for the complete dark allure. You can buy a Bell & Ross BR 03 Phantom at retail for £3,900 at the time of writing. 


Longines Avigation Big Eye


The Longines Avigation Big Eye has a history stemming over 90 years. 


Source - Brand’s Site

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Originally released in the 1930s, this stunning chronograph piece was inspired by the Hour Angle that was initially released. And we think it’s a great pilot watch if ever there was one. You horophiles may even know that the “Big Eye” reference comes from the huge 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, vastly overshadowing the other sub dials at 6 and 9 o’clock. 

Well, they follow this formula exactly, utilising their formidable Heritage Avigation range to bring this beauty back to life. The shape is round and crafted out of stainless steel. At 41mm, it’s neither tiny nor ridiculously oversized, ensuring you could easily pull this off as an everyday piece. Locked in with a sapphire crystal that has anti-reflective coating on both sides, a quick glance down is all you need. 

They paint it black (thanks, Rolling Stones), by keeping the dial a very conservative matt black sheen. It’s not all dark and suspenseful however as Longines offer a little relief in the form of the hour markers coming in as white, Super-Luminova covered Arabic numerals, alongside the three sub dials hands and indices being a similar white.

Powered by the automatic calibre, the L688, the movement powers the hours, minutes and the small seconds counter based at 9 o’clock. Running the column wheel chronograph that boasts an enlarged 30-minutes counter as per the aviation history, and a 12 hour counter at 6 o’clock, the piece offers a 28,800VpH and an imposing 66 hour power reserve. 

You can buy a Longines Avigation Big Eye at retail for £2,950 at the time of writing. 


Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph 42.5 mm 


The Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph blue dial 42.5mm case size follows from the incredible heritage of the original Blancpain chronographs of the 1960s. 


Source - Brand’s Site

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This pilot model follows on from the 1960s original, including a number of features such as a two sub-dial chronograph, a flyback function, a tachymetric scale and a bi-directional bezel. Blancpain has decided to make a few upgrades in order to make it better than ever! A little bit like the Daytona Le Mans.

What was a steel timepiece is now a titanium watch. Titanium is inherently lighter and more durable steel, showing an instant upgrade to the timepiece. Although it’s technically larger with a 0.5mm increase in diameter, it won’t weigh your wrist down.

Need we say they use only the greatest grade of titanium for this piece, grade 23? It utilises fine brushing along the models sides in order to link in with the sporty nature of the timepiece. Given a titanium bezel, it is given a beautiful blue ceramic insert with SuperLuminova markers.

Given a very stylish blue dial, the Arabic hour markers are coated in luminescence, through the centre of the hour and minute hands and on the arrow head of the second hand. Featuring two sub dials at 3 and 9 o’clock, it is a hot piece for horological beauty, not to mention a direct link of a great pilot descendant. 

Powered by the in-house Blancpain movement, The F338B runs at an incredible 5Hz, powering the flyback chronograph which competently reads a succession of elapsed times.  Delivering a power reserve of 50 hours, you will have enough time for a weekend getaway or that last minute overseas business trip with this on.

You can buy a Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph 42.5mm when you request a price at the time of writing. 


Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days


The Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days is inspired by the iconic Luminor 1950 design. Made for the Italian Navy, The Luminor adds a new horological spin to the classy proportions of a phenomenal pilot’s piece. 


Source - Brand’s Site

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Panerai utilises their very own AISI 316L stainless steel material to put it inside the casing. The material capably counteracts corrosion and is hypoallergenic, perfect for the man with sensitive skin. The best a man can get? Possibly so.

With an oversized 44mm case, we find it is pretty bulky on the wrist but that’s to be expected with a Panerai piece. Given a polished steel bezel, it has a dressier approach when flexed, opposing the sporty brushed feel. The dial is bright white with black Arabic numerals that’s enhanced with luminous dots on the dial's periphery. 

Water resistant to 300 metres, this is one of the best pilot watches that's also capable of going well down into the briny depths! The crown is given a bulky crown guard that’s become a staple of The Luminor’s heritage. 

The winding crown is intentionally given an incredible 8 day reserve, allowing this pilot model to preserve the durability of both the mechanism and stop excess winding. Given a sapphire exhibition back, the stunning P.5000 movement offers an astonishing 192 hours of power reserve. 

You can buy a Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days at retail for £6,100 at the time of writing. 


Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 


Unveiled in 2015, we think The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time reference 5524G is more of a hit than DJ Khaled’s Daytona Rainbow


Source - Brand’s Site

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Inspired by the aviator hour angle dial watches from the 1930s, these pilot watches were famed for having an hour hand that rotated once every 24 hours, and pointed to various parts of a centre circle that’s cut into 360 degrees. 

This latest edition is crafted from a stunning precious white gold with a 42mm case size. Undergoing polishing, the white gold gleams out like a torch! In 1884, we established the system of standard time and the division of the globe in 24 time zones. 

Patek Philippe incorporates this through the dual time zone mechanism which boasts both local and home time, with the local and home time deciphered into day and night timings as shown through the indication within an aperture. 

Given a rich, blue dial, it is varnished and features gold applied Arabic numerals with a luminescent coating. Built on top of a brown calf leather strap, it is secured with a Clevis prong buckle. The combination of a vintage brown shade and the white gold is delightful, especially for the office orientated man

Unusually featuring two pushers on the left of the case instead of on either side of the crown on the right, it's an unorthodox move which won’t cause you too many problems in terms of using the piece. It is powered by the 26-330 S C FUS movement. Offering a solid 28,800VpH and a manageable 45 hour power reserve, it is pretty to gaze at and even better when accentuated with a navy suit. 

You can buy a Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time at retail for £46,190 at the time of writing. 




The IWC Mark collection can be traced back to the 1930’s, following the outbreak of WW2. Essential in wars like The Battle of Britain and Normandy, it soon became critical in helping pilot’s determine fuel levels. 


Source - Brand’s Site

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The Mark XX is the latest addition to the lauded Mark collection. Coming in at the same 40mm case size and crafted from steel, there are a few variations from its past which come into play. 

The IWC Mark XX is decidedly more elegant with its polished accents and iconic triangular index at 12 o’clock. If you happen to find yourself overcome with vintage nostalgia and want to cast your eyes on something pertinent, flip the piece over to boast the aircraft engraving that boasts the rustic appeal of the piece. The dial is snow white with hints of silver, promoting highly legible black Arabic numerals and tapered hands that are filled with lume. The quarter indices are white and filled with lume, allowing for optimum legibility at all times.

With the option for a casual calfskin leather strap or a 5-link steel bracelet, the EasX-CHANGE system means you will never feel confined to one look! Water resistant to 100 metres, don’t try to sniff at the calibre 32111 movement that lays within. 

Running at 4Hz, the whopping 120 hour power reserve means this could easily be considered one of the best pilots watches of 2023. Double breasted suits or black bomber jackets are perfect for this piece, making this timepiece as versatile as your weekend plans!

You can buy an IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX at retail for £5,050 at the time of writing. 


Longines Majetek


Longines and pilots have been ticking along together ever since they supplied the Czechoslovakian Air Force in the 1930’s with The Longines Czech Pilot. 

 Source - Longines

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Featuring a rotating bezel, it utilises a triangular marker to allow for simple timing functions to be calculated. Given a 41mm case size in a cushion shaped stainless steel construction, what’s changed in the modern edition?

Coming in at a larger 43mm, the Longines Majetek features a steel case that is more curved and adopted rounded lugs for a refined look. After all, the modern consumer wants a universal watch. The fluted bezel is capable of being turned both ways and has a lumed up start indicator to effectively work out calculations. 

Water resistant to 100 metres, it is given a small “1935” engraving on the side of the case as an ode to the first year of the Majetek. The date is matte black and enhanced with white Arabic numerals and a railroad minute track. 

The functional sub dial at 6 o’clock references small seconds and the digits are given a vintage coloured Super-Luminova to pertain to the old days of radium lume. Paying homage to the past, this piece is rustic dynamite for any old school grail collector

Powered by the L893 movement, the watches run at around 25,200VpH and have a power reserve of 72 hours. Secured with either a NATO strap or a brown/British Racing Green leather band, you are spoilt for choice in terms of feel and vibe. Keep things easy, guys! Wear this with a hand stitched brown overcoat for you old school lovers, or wear a simple white suit shirt when hitting deadline day in the office. 

You can buy a Longines Majetek at retail for £3,350 at the time of writing. 




Well, well…time has got the best of us again! 

We’ve run through the best pilot watches in all their horological glory, incredible histories, case sizes and materials behind each piece. It's enough to make a grown man sprout wings and fly, right?

We appreciate that all you office execs and debonair gents are very busy people. Therefore we have conconted an essential table of the best pilot watches outlining each model and their respective retail prices.


Retail Price - As Of October 2023

Rolex GMT-Master II 126718GRNR


Breitling Aviator 8 Curtiss Warhawk Automatic


Cartier Santos Dumont Micro Rotor


Longines Spirit Zulu Time


IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe


Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback


Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Boeing 747


IWC Pilot’s Le Petit Prince Chronograph

Discontinued - Secondary market £4,200

Bell & Ross BR 03 Phantom


Longines Avigation Big Eye


Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph 42.5 mm 

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Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days


Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 




Longines Majetek



Look, each of these luxury watches have been incredibly significant to the world of watchmaking. From the precious metal beauty of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, inspiring history of the war born Longines Majetek and The IWC Mark XX, we simply cannot decide on our favourite. 

You may find that The Breitling Emergency and its impactful life saving frequency complication is for you. How about the awe inspiring Rolex Air-King that keeps things simple with a basic dial and high functioning movement? You may find that time is your enemy when you are 10,000 feet in the sky. 

Why not save a bit and try sourcing one of these fabulous beauties from Chrono Hunter?

Can't wait to buy a Rolex GMT-Master? Struggling to find the best possible prices and the greatest customer service? Do yourself a favour and have a chat with Chrono Hunter here. Check out our phenomenal reviews on Trustpilot and discover why we are the essential place to buy a watch or sell a watch

Benefit from multiple offers from our established network of luxury retailers and accept the offer that suits you. Whether purchase or sale, our dedicated team have extensive brand expertise like no other and want to deliver the most seamless buying and selling experience. Simply enter the details via our form or download our dedicated app, available on both Apple and Android platforms. 


Further Reading: 

The Ultimate Watch Collection For Under £60,000 - Tudor Black Bay, Rolex Daytona

A Collection Of The Very Best Luxury Watches From Wimbledon 2023


Buy Or Sell A Luxury Watch The Smart Way With Chrono Hunter

If you are considering your new purchase or perhaps the sale of a beloved timepiece, Chrono Hunter is the smart way to buy or sell a luxury watch.

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