Best Pilot Watches of 2018

Best Pilot Watches of 2018

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GPS may have taken over navigational tasks nowadays but modern pilot’s watches remain convincing thanks to their functional characteristics. Hiren Kumar Bose lists five airborne newcomers that combine heritage with present-day technology

PATEK PHILIPPE Calatrava Pilot Travel Time
With second time zone and date in the local time zone, the Reference 5524 lifts off this year in a rose gold version with a brown dial. The inspiration of aviation is clearly evident in the outstanding legibility of the spacious dial with its applied rose gold numerals and broad baton-shaped hands. This 42mm model is powered by Calibre 324 S C FUS, which assures that the user can readily change the displayed time zone with its day/night indicator. In addition, the Calatrava Pilot Travel time is now available for the first time in a ladies’ version as Reference 7234R-001.

ZENITH Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph
Ticking inside the 45mm bronze-cased watch is a mechanical on-board computer is El Primero Caliber 4069 operating at 5Hz (36,000b VpH), a high-frequency column-wheel chronograph movement with a 50-hour power reserve. The iconic style of this famous pilot’s watch in a neo-retro chronograph look with a new matte-blue dial comes with a nubuck leather strap.

BREITLING Navitimer 8 B01 Chronograph
Known for its accurate chronographs and its close affiliation with aviation, the brand introduced a new collection of pilot’s watches this year: the Navitimer Super 8. The line’s flagship, the 43mm cased Navitimer 8 B01 Chronograph, is powered by Breitling’s own manufacture Calibre 01. This column-wheel chronograph with vertical coupling and a power reserve of more than 70 hours’ duration has earned a COSC certificate and ticks behind a pane of sapphire crystal in the back of the stainless steel or red gold case.

ORIS Big Crown ProPilot Alarm Limited Edition
Oris integrates the complication of a mechanical alarm into the popular 44mm Big Crown ProPilot. The alarm can be set to the nearest 10 minutes against a scale that runs around the outside of an aperture in the middle of the dial. This aperture houses the watch’s second key feature, a circular date display. The watch is water-resistant to 100 m.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Edition “150 Years”
With a date display featuring large numerals beneath the triangular index at “12 o’clock”, the two limited-edition models in 46.2mm case size are available, each restricted to 100 watches. Both models feature a new movement, the calibre 59235. This is basically an upgraded, big date version of the hand wound caliber 59210 that has an eight-day power reserve indicator on the caseback side.


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