From the Battle of the Bulge to infinity and beyond, the pilot watch has been an integral tool in the history of aviation. Highly engineered, innovative watches traveled with trailblazing aviators Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, broke the sound barrier with test pilot Chuck Yeager, and even made it to the moon with Neil Armstrong. As aviation and space travel soar into a high-tech future, so does the precision pilot watch. Top brands offer timepieces with the latest advancements in timekeeping, luminescence, and durability.
In its Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon chronograph ($12,000), for instance, Omega celebrates tits legacy in space travel. The watch is crafted in ceramic with a sandblasted platinum dial, it features a Super-LuminNova tachymeter scale on the bezel and is powered by the Omega Co-Axial Caliber 9300 chronograph movement with silicon balance spring. Bremont builds on its pilot watch heritage with the Boeing Model 1 Ti-GMT watch ($6,450), made in partnership with the famous aerospace company. The grade Ti 6-4 titanium watch features an inner soft-iron, antimagnetic Faraday cage, Super-LumiNova on the dial and bezel, and anti-glare crystal. The automatic movement is a certified chronometer with GMT and 42 hours of power reserve.
Other notables include the Breguet Type XXII flyback chronograph ($20,100), made in stainless steel and housing a self-winding movement with Breguet balance wheel, balance spring, lever, and escape wheel—all made in silicon. The watch, which offers a 24-hour and second time zone indicator, is the perfect addition to the Breguet collection, considering that the company once made airplanes. The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar watch ($11,300) houses the brand’s legendary El Primero automatic caliber 4054 with 341 parts. The 5 Hz movement offers 50 hours of power reserve, as well as chronograph, day, date, and month indications. The caseback is engraved with the Zenith flying instruments logo. Even, German brand, Wempe offers its Aviator’s Chronograph XL watch ($3,580) — crafted in stainless steel with a 45mm case and a handmade Shell-Cordovan leather strap. The automatic watch features luminescent white markers and hands on a black dial for super-easy legibility. (This article by Roberta Naas was recently published in Gotham Magazine.)