Inspired by aviation, pilot watches besides being handy are home to impressive functions from world time to Super-LumiNova hands and markers. Reason enough for every man to dream of owning one. Hiren Kumar Bose on the outstanding pilot watches
BREITLING Avenger Hurricane Military
The superlative-charged Avenger Hurricane Military asserts its character in an imposing 50 mm case made of Breitlight®, an exclusive high-tech material 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than steel, yet significantly harder. Endowed with qualities like exceptional resistance to scratching, traction, and corrosion, thermal stability, along with non-magnetic and non-allergenic properties, the 1,000-piece limited edition watch houses Manufacture Breitling Caliber B12, chronometer-certified by the COSC and displaying the time in an original 24-hour mode, as is used in the military and among pilots. The luminescent numerals and hands bear a vintage yellow-beige colour, a nod to the instruments produced by the brand for the aeronautical and military fields from the 1940s to the 1960s.
LONGINES Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch 90th Anniversary
In celebration of the 90th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s historic non-stop transatlantic flight in the “Spirit of St. Louis, the brand is offering a new version of its Lindbergh Hour Angle watch — a watch designed for Longines by Lindbergh himself — in a 90-piece limited edition. Longines re-introduced the Lindbergh Hour Angle to its Heritage collection several years ago. This year, it introduces in a titanium case. It measures a hefty 47.5 mm in diameter, the idea being that a larger size would enable a pilot wearing the watch to more easily read and operate it in the dark. The rotating bezel, made of black PVD steel, allows the wearer to adjust for the daily variations in the equation of time, while a galvanic black disk in the center of dial rotates to synchronize the seconds with a radio time signal. The brushed silver dial displays the time on a rail track minute circle with painted black Roman numerals and features an 180° scale for calculating the longitude. The watch can thus be used to indicate the hour angle in degrees and in minutes of arc, as well displaying the current time in hours, minutes and seconds. Longines has equipped the Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch 90th Anniversary with a modern, self-winding movement, Caliber L699. The large, steel crown allows for easy winding of this movement, even while wearing gloves, a feature important to the aviators of yore.
OMEGA Speedmaster Skywalker X-33
If you’re after a pilot watch with a lot of features here is a one with skeletonized hands, iPad application, lightweight design and onboard reliability. Apart from the awesome Star Wars reference in its name, the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 should be noted for the fact that it was the result of a collaboration between the Omega brand and the Solar Impulse Project. The Project has an ambitious aim to circle the globe in an airplane powered only by the sun.
ZENITH Pilot Extra Special Chronograph
The watch features a ratcheted easy-to-adjust crown and pushers, as well as large luminescent numerals that are actually made from blocks of white (with green emission) Super-LumiNova SLN C1. The Pilot Extra Special Chronograph features a sandblasted black dial and is finished with a khaki green nubuck leather strap. The 45mm bronze case will garner its own patina over time as it touches the skin and makes contact with the air and other elements. The watch features a railway minute track and offers two chronograph counters on the dial. Beating at the heart of the automatic watch is the El Primero chronograph high-beat Caliber 4069. The column-wheel chronograph caliber beats at 5Hz and enables 1/10th of a second display.
PERRELET Turbine Pilot
The Turbine Pilot is equipped with essential instruments for flight: the circular slide rule on the bi-directional inner rotating ring, adjustable thanks to the crown at 3 o’clock. It conserves all the features of professional aviation instruments, skillfully adding a new element: the turbine, independent of the movement, composed of 12 black anodized aluminum blades that rotate incredibly quickly at the slightest movement of the wrist, thanks to the tungsten counterweights under the blades. In tribute to the blue of the sky, the hour, minute and second hands, as well as the raised indexes and the Arabic numerals 3,6,9,12 on the sapphire glass – take on an intense luminescent electric blue (Turbine Pilot A1095/2) and “tone on tone” luminescent grey ((the Turbine Pilot A1095/1). The Turbine Pilot is equipped with a Perrelet P-331 automatic calibre, made in-house at the brand’s workshops. It has a power reserve of 42 hours and is waterproof to 5ATM. The movement, with its open-worked oscillating weight decorated with the Perrelet logo, is visible thanks to the transparent case back.