Aviator watches or Pilot Watches are very similar to dive watches in that they are often worn by people who have no connection whatsoever to flying or being a pilot. Most of these watches are sold to people who simply like the way they look. While I have no problem with this, actually Iit since it earns me money; this article is geared more on what to look for in a functional aviator watch.
There are several different types of pilot watches so let's take a look at some of them. The first are those issued or designed to be issued to actual pilots and their crews mainly from WWII through War. Some of these watchmakers include IWC, Benrus, and . Most of these pilot watches were just basic 12/24 military timekeepers and did not feature the chronograph function. These watches are really not true pilot watches as a chronographic feature is really a necessity especially when flying a plane with only basic instrumentation.
Some of the current aviator watches on today such as those made by Blancpain, Breuget, , Longines and others do have an actual aviation heritage and utilize some basic design components in the dial, movement, or case that to the watches made specifically for aviators. Most still fall into the category and do not really function well as true pilot watches.
Now that we have covered a little of the history of aviator watches and talked about the pilot watches that are really not suitable for flying, let's take a look at some of the watches that are actually chosen and used by pilots and others in the aviation industry.
Among these we will list vintage aviator watches and then current aviator watches.
Among the pilot watches considered to be vintage are the Longines Lindberg Hour Angle, named for Charles Lindberg, the Breitling Navitimer, BreitlingCosmonaute, and the Rolex GMT. The current versions of the Cosmonaute and the Rolex GMT are essentially the same as the vintage models. Some of the better makers of true aviation watches include Torgoen, Breitling, Omega, , and Seiko. Seiko is one of the most prolific of these watchmakers with a huge range of different models available.
Modern technology and increased instrumentation in aircraft has all but eliminated the need for a pilot to wear a watch but any good aviator will always have a good pilot's watch as a backup.
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