Secret Deals
Close
Sign up for email alerts.

Want first access to
our secret deals?

By signing up, you agree to receive emails from Ethos Watches. Read our privacy policy for more details.

416f03b054

Round-UpFly High With 10 Of The Best Aviation-Inspired And Pilot Watches

Take a look at our picks of pilot watches and aviation-inspired timepieces that are versatile, durable and highly functional in all kinds of conditions

May We Recommend

Humankind’s obsession with flight is spread across the books of history like a Jackson Pollock painting. Even our mythological stories are filled with contraptions that soar miles above the earth. Our obsession became a reality when the Wright brothers finally took to the skies in 1903. When, in 1904, Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont challenged Louis Cartier to design a watch specifically for his aviation needs in 1904, Cartier came out with a wristwatch that featured bold numbers, a large dial, and a simple design. The finished product was exactly what Alberto was looking for, and the timepiece eventually became a predecessor of the now ubiquitous aviation watch.

Soon after, the World Wars pushed countries to create better and faster flying machines. Decades later, our fascination for planes has only grown, and so has our keenness for functional and thematic instruments that pay homage to how we’ve conquered the azure skies—pilot watches.

Bremont-MBII
Ever since its inception, the pilot watch has evolved, incorporating a sleek, stylish, and dressy aesthetic. However, the fundamental traits that made a pilot watch a pilot watch still very much remain. Here is the Bremont MBII-WH, made in collaboration with Martin-Baker—the manufacturer of ejection seats found in 70 percent of the world’s fighter planes

Simplicity is pivotal when you’re 30,000ft up in the air. Every second, every moment is extremely crucial, and the one thing you do not want to be is confused. Ever since its inception, the pilot watch has evolved, incorporating a sleek, stylish, and dressy aesthetic. However, the fundamental traits that made a pilot watch a pilot watch still very much remain. These include a large and highly legible dial with big numeral hour markers, an oversized crown for easy handling even while wearing heavy pilot’s gloves, an anti-magnetic seal, and quite often a dual time or GMT function.  Celebrating the longstanding popularity of this genre of timepieces, we present a selection of 10 exceptional aviation-inspired and pilot watches.

Breitling Aviator 8 B01 Curtiss Warhawk

Not including a Breitling in an article about pilot watches would be a sin considering the brand’s long stint with the world of aviation. Paying tribute to ace airplane manufacturer, Curtiss-Wright, and its famed fighter, the P-40 Warhawk, these chronographs by Breitling exemplifies everything that the watchmaker stands for. Sporting a rugged military look, these timepiece features a matt green dial with red and white accents, but at the same time, the design is very neat, ensuring that legibility is key. The version with three sub-dials in white, in an inverse-panda layout is powered by the famed in-house COSC-certified B01 movement, and is seen here with a steel bracelet. The other chronograph includes a day indication as well, in addition to the date, and it comes fitted with a military green strap that complements the dial. 

  • The Watch Guide

    This chronograph by Breitling pays tribute to ace airplane manufacturer, Curtiss-Wright, and its famed fighter, the P-40 Warhawk

  • The Watch Guide

    Available in two different variations, the timepiece comes attached to either a green military strap or stainless steel bracelet

  • The Watch Guide

    Sporting a rugged military look, this timepiece features a matt green dial with red and white accents

  • The Watch Guide

    Despite featuring three sub-dials and the date and day windows, the dial is very neat, ensuring that legibility is key

  • The Watch Guide

    These watches come in 43mm steel cases

Breitling Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 Curtiss Warhawk
Breitling Navitimer

IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Top Gun

With their mantra of manufacturing clean, refined, no-nonsense pilot’s watches, it comes as no surprise that IWC is usually the pick of the lot when it comes to a pilot watch. Purists tend to appreciate watches designed for rather specific purposes, and the 41mm IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Top Gun checks all the right boxes. With a clean dial that features oversized Arabic numeral markers, and sharp hands coated with Super-LumiNova, this timepiece makes it clear that its primary function is to tell the time, regardless of circumstance. Powering this watch is the IWC calibre 32110, which offers a significant power reserve of 72 hours. IWC is no stranger to the world of pilot’s watches, having provided aviation timekeeping instruments during both World Wars. This lineage has trickled down to their Pilot’s Watch Automatic Top Gun timepiece as well.

The Watch Guide

IWC is no stranger to the world of pilot’s watches, having provided aviation timekeeping instruments during both World Wars, this lineage has trickled down to their Pilot’s Watch Automatic Top Gun timepiece as well

The Watch Guide

The 41mm IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Top Gun checks all the right boxes, with a clean dial that features oversized Arabic numeral markers, and sharp hands coated with Super-LumiNova

IWC Schaffhausen Pilot's Watches
IWC Pilot’s Watches

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special

An aviation-inspired watch, the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special is housed in a large 45mm pilot’s case, equipped with an oversized crown. Yet, despite its considerable case size, the largeness of the crown does not overpower the look of the timepiece. A standout feature is the titanium caseback, etched with the Zenith flying instruments logo. The timepiece is powered by the Elite 679 automatic movement, which offers a power reserve of 50 hours. The grey dial has a minimalist appeal, and features numerals made from Super-LumiNova, ensuring clear legibility even when flying in the dark. By trademarking the term ‘Pilot’ for its timepieces, Zenith is the only brand allowed to use those words on the dials of its watches. The timepiece is mounted on a brown leather strap, enhancing its antiquated look.

The Watch Guide
The grey dial has a minimalist appeal, and features numerals made from Super-LumiNova, ensuring clear legibility even when flying in the dark

Longines Spirit

The Longines Spirit is a no-fuss, highly legible, and nicely fitted timepiece that pays tribute to the glory days of aviation, and yet features contemporary technology and aesthetics. Thanks to its 42mm case, the Spirit Automatic sits well on the wrist and strikes a nice balance between comfort and elegance. Nothing seems like an afterthought when it comes to the execution of this timepiece. Along with a screw-down crown and water resistance of up to 100m, its stainless steel case features a stepped, polished bezel, and lugs that are long enough to drape the entire surface area of the wrist. The dial of the timepiece consists of two parts separated by a metal ring. Within the ring are the Arabic numerals, a date window, Longines’ emblem, and central timekeeping hands. The outer area features a minute track, adding a sense of depth to the dial. Running this watch is the Longines calibre L888.4, which features a silicon balance spring, and offers 64 hours of power reserve. However, the cherry on the cake is that the movement is a COSC-certified chronometer calibre. Last but not the least, the Spirit is fashioned with a brown leather strap, which gives the timepiece its vintage charm.

The Watch Guide

The Longines Spirit is a no-fuss, highly legible, and nicely fitted timepiece that pays tribute to the glory days of aviation, and yet features contemporary technology and aesthetics

The Watch Guide

The dial of the timepiece consists of two parts separated by a metal ring—Within the ring are the Arabic numerals, a date window, Longines’ emblem, and central timekeeping hands

Longines Spirit
Longines Longines Spirit

Breitling Avenger Chronograph 43

First introduced in 2001, the Breitling Avenger collection is known for offering rugged, bold yet handsome pilot timepieces. In 2019, in order to meet the needs and requirements of the modern era of aviation, the Swiss manufacturer relaunched the Avenger collection with various updates, making it one of the most daring lines in the market today. Part of the new edition is this Avenger Chronograph 43, which offers versatility and resilience coupled with unparalleled safety and reliability to aviation aficionados. Housed in a 43mm stainless steel case, the timepiece comes with a unidirectional bezel, in addition to the crown and chronograph pushers that feature a special-grip pattern, making them easy to use even while wearing gloves. The black dial looks well-balanced and uncluttered with three sub-dials at 12, nine, and six o’clock, the date window at three, along with the brand’s name and logo adjacent to it. At the heart of this exquisite timepiece is the self-winding chronograph movement, Breitling 13, which is based on the well-known ETA Valjoux 7750 movement. The COSC-certified calibre beats at 28,800vph and offers a power reserve of a minimum of 48 hours. 

  • The Watch Guide

    In 2019, in order to meet the needs and requirements of the modern era of aviation, the Swiss manufacturer relaunched the Avenger collection with various updates

  • The Watch Guide

    Here is the Avenger Chronograph 43, which offers versatility and resilience coupled with unparalleled safety and reliability to aviation aficionados

  • The Watch Guide

    Housed in a 43mm stainless steel case, the timepiece comes with a unidirectional bezel, in addition to the crown and chronograph pushers that feature a special-grip pattern

  • The Watch Guide

    Seen here wearing this Avenger watch is Rocío González Torres, a supersonic jet pilot, who is a part of Breitling's 'aviation pioneers squad' of ambassadors

  • The Watch Guide

    At the heart of this exquisite timepiece is the self-winding chronograph movement, Breitling 13, which is based on the well-known ETA Valjoux 7750 movement

Breitling Avenger
Breitling Avenger

Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400

Given that Oris came out with their first aviation-inspired wristwatch back in 1917, it would be fair to say that they have substantial experience in this genre of watchmaking. Based in the Swiss village of Hölstein, the luxury watchmakers have, over the years, specialised in building durable and robust timepieces that become instant hits as soon as they hit the market. Here is the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 400. Presented in a stainless steel case, it comes in variations of grey, blue or salmon. It has a standard size of 39mm, an oversized crown for better grip, and a coin-edged bezel inspired by the turbine of a jet engine. The most captivating attribute of the timepiece has to be its perfectly legible and sensible dial, which features the central, three-hand timekeeping system, and the date display at six. The timepiece utilises the Oris calibre 400, which beats at 28,800vph, delivering a stunning power reserve of up to 120 hours.

The Watch Guide

The Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 400 is presented in a stainless steel case and comes in variations of grey, blue or salmon

The Watch Guide

The timepiece fits well on the wrist with a standard size of 39mm, an oversized crown for better grip, and a coin-edged bezel inspired by the turbine of a jet engine

The Watch Guide

The most captivating attribute of the timepiece is its perfectly legible and sensible dial, which features the central, three-hand timekeeping system, and the date display at six

H. Moser & Cie Heritage Centre Seconds

The Heritage Centre Seconds by Moser is unlike any of their quintessential watches. The retro-styled timepiece features a round steel case with thin wired lugs, an onion-shaped crown, oversized Arabic numerals, sword-shaped timekeeping hands, along with a traditionally-styled railway minute track. However, what adds a touch of modernity to the timepiece is the use of Globolight—an innovative ceramic-based material infused with Super-LumiNova—to design the hour markers. The fumé dial of the watch comes in the ‘funky blue’ colour that instantly grabs the attention of the beholder but exudes calm and soothing vibes. The timepiece is equipped with the in-house HMC 200 movement, which features an open-worked rotor and is finished with the well-known Moser double stripes. Visible through an exhibition caseback, the calibre beats at a frequency of 21,600vph and offers a power reserve of at least three days. 

  • The Watch Guide

    The Heritage Centre Seconds by Moser is unlike any of their quintessential watches

  • The Watch Guide

    The timepiece features a round steel case with thin wired lugs, an onion-shaped crown, oversized Arabic numerals, and sword-shaped timekeeping hands

  • The Watch Guide

    What adds a touch of modernity to the timepiece is the use of Globolight—an innovative ceramic-based material infused with Super-LumiNova—to design the hour markers

  • The Watch Guide

    The fumé dial of the watch comes in the 'funky blue' colour that instantly grabs the attention of the beholder but exudes calm and soothing vibes

  • The Watch Guide

    The timepiece is equipped with the in-house HMC 200 movement, which features an open-worked rotor and is finished with the well-known Moser double stripes

H. Moser & Cie. Heritage Centre Seconds
H. Moser & Cie. Heritage

Bremont MBII-WH/Orange

What makes Bremont a truly special watchmaking brand is the manufacturer’s ability to craft timepieces that are not merely time-telling accessories, but are also exceptional tool watches that can endure extreme conditions, such as being ejected from an aircraft. Martin-Baker—the manufacturer of ejection seats found in 70 percent of the world’s fighter planes—approached Bremont in 2007 to build a timepiece that withstands the extreme forces experienced during an ejection. After two years of research and development, the British watch manufacturer came out with the limited edition MBI that remains solely for pilots who may need to use the ejection feature of a Martin-Baker seat. However, for the rest of the general public, the brand issued the MBII. An epitome of toughness and durability, the 43mm watch comes with innovative shock protection to bear the incredible stress of a fighter plane’s seat ejection. It also comes with a soft iron Faraday cage—an enclosure to protect it from the high-intensity magnetic fields of a cockpit. The most distinctive feature of the timepiece is its steel case, built with Bremont’s unique Trip-Tick construction, which incorporates three pieces: the bezel, the caseback, and a separate middle barrel. Powered by the calibre BE-36AE, a COSC-certified chronometer movement with 38 hours of power reserve, the MBII is presented with a black leather strap featuring orange stitching on the sides. 

The Watch Guide

What makes Bremont a truly special watchmaking brand is their ability to craft timepieces that are not merely time-telling accessories, but are also exceptional tool watches

The Watch Guide

Here is the MBII made in collaboration with Martin-Baker—the manufacturer of ejection seats found in 70 percent of the world’s fighter planes

The Watch Guide

An epitome of toughness and durability, the 43mm watch comes with innovative shock protection to bear the incredible stress of a fighter plane’s seat ejection

The Watch Guide

Powered by the calibre BE-36AE, a COSC-certified chronometer movement with 38 hours of power reserve, the MBII is presented with a black leather strap

Graham Chronofighter

An intriguing watch from a brand whose name is borrowed from the father of chronographs, George Graham, the Chronofighter’s iconic crown protector was inspired by an instrument that measured time lapses between bomb drops during World War II. This makes the watch, which was first launched in the year 2000, appear as though there is a ‘trigger’ attached—which also triggers the chronograph counters. Inside is the G1747 automatic chronograph movement, which beats at 28,800vph, and offers a power reserve of 48 hours. Its 44mm stainless steel case has an exhibition caseback that lets you appreciate the durable movement. This is one aviation-inspired timepiece that also appeals to World War aficionados, a true tribute to a time that changed the course of our history.

The Watch Guide

The design of the Graham Chronofighter Vintage is Inspired by a World War II-era instrument that measured time lapses between bomb drops

The Watch Guide

The 'trigger' of the watch not only protects the crown but also triggers the chronograph counters

The Watch Guide

The black grainy texture of the dial contrasts brilliantly against the beige-coloured numeral and baton markers

The Watch Guide

The clear caseback lets you appreciate the G1747 automatic chronograph movement, which beats at 28,800vph

The Watch Guide

This aviation-inspired timepiece appeals to World War aficionados—a true tribute to a time that changed the course of our history

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Chronograph

If you’re a budding pilot or aviation enthusiast who’s on the look-out for your first pilot’s watch, this one needs serious consideration. With legibility on the forefront, the matte military green dial of this watch plays host to sharp leaf-shaped hands and clean Arabic numerals, all coated with SuperLuminova. The chronograph display is placed in a bi-compax format, balancing the rest of the dial. Under its 44mm stainless steel case beats the AL-725 automatic chronograph movement that gives the Startimer an impressive power reserve of 46 hours.

The Watch Guide
If you're on the lookout for an entry-level pilot watch, the Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Chronograph checks all the right boxes

Shop The Story

2 comments
  • Sanjeev sareen January 18, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    Looking for Men cartier watches

    • Ranvijaysinh Jhala January 20, 2021 at 4:32 pm

      Hi Sanjeev,

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, Ethos do not stock Cartier. However, if you are interested in pre-owned Cartiers, you might want to check out the Cartiers in the catalogue of Second Time Zone, Ethos’ pre-owned watch division. Click here: https://www.secondtimezone.com/all-watches/cartier-pre-owned. You can also call Second Time Zone directly on these numbers, +91 9319095796, 9319095796, in order to ask them any questions you may have about pre-owned Cartier watches, their availability and prices.

      Thank you for reading!
      The Watch Guide

  • Leave a comment:

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *