Today’s modern pilot’s watches boast a level of quality that manufacturers of the very first aviation timepieces could only have dreamt about. They embody sharp, clean aesthetics, encompassing highly legible dials, and multiple features that enable the pilot to carry out all necessary calculations required while thousands of feet in the air.
Are you looking for the top Swiss pilot’s watches? Look no further; this guide to 5 of our favorite sky-worthy wristwatches will provide you with all you need before parting with your money.
View The Best Swiss-Made Pilot’s Watches Below
1. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King
It would make sense that the manufacturer of the world’s first waterproof automatic watch would also have a natural affinity to the aeronautical industry. The Oyster Perpetual Air-King is our best overall pilot’s watch. Its 40mm Oystersteel case is robust and durable enough to withstand the most challenging of conditions, thanks to its 904L stainless steel bodywork – a corrosion-resistant material used in the aerospace and chemical industries for its strength.
It does a fine job of protecting the in-house developed 3131 caliber, while on the dial side, the Air-King is as legible as ever. Navigational time reading is made effortless because of its luminous markers against a stealth-like black dial. If you could pick a pilot’s watch to go anywhere with, then the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King should be it!
+ Screw down crown with Twinlock double waterproofness system
+ 100-meter water-resistant
+ 48-hour power reserve
+ Scratch-resistant sapphire glass lens
+ 904L stainless steel bracelet with Folding Oysterclasp and Easylink extension facility
Why We Like It – The 3, 6, and 9 numerals on the hour track of this pilot’s watch are combined with a large minute scale for easy navigational timekeeping.
2. IWC Pilot’s Top Gun Automatic Chronograph
With all the functions and gadgets you could ever need in a pilot’s watch, this IWC Top Gun chronograph is our premium choice. Its price tag reflects craftsmanship of the very highest level, combined with sleek black aesthetics that resume a sporty, youthful and dynamic look on the wrist.
The watch was named “Top Gun” for a very good reason. Not only is this IWC pilot’s watch a flyback chronograph, meaning that you only have to press the push-piece once to stop, reset and start a new timing, but the top of the dial features a dial-within-a-dial format, indicating the chronograph hours and minutes.
The feature is balanced beautifully by a second sub-counter at 6 o’clock. If your broad wrist can take the watch’s confident 44.5mm diameter, this black ceramic watch will look completely at home on your arm, whether your flying aircraft or traveling to an important destination.
+ Powered by the in-house designed 89361 Calibre
+ 68-hour power reserve
+ Smooth black calfskin strap
+ Date and small hacking seconds
+ Flyback chronograph
Why We Like It – The 60-meter water-resistant case of this Swiss pilot’s watch provides optimum protection for its internally fitted movement, with a soft-iron inner case for anti-magnetic protection.
3. Hamilton Khaki X-Wind Watch
The Hamilton Khaki X-Wind watch should make it on your “to buy” list, whether you’re into your aviation-inspired timepieces or not. It’s a top value-for-money wristwatch powered by a Swiss-made quartz movement. It’s also got a military-inspired aesthetic with bundles of vintage appeal.
Hamilton has done a great job bringing their aviation heritage into the 21st century with this modern timekeeping tool, which provides you with several features to play about with. Aside from its chronograph dial, which will come in handy if you’re a sporty individual, it also provides a crosswind calculator and a second time zone, wrapped inside this supersized 46mm steel case.
It won’t matter whether you’re on board an aircraft as a passenger or navigating your way to a tropical location, this Hamilton Khaki X-Wind watch, complete on a supple black rubber strap, is a universally appealing timepiece, bursting with character and charm.
+ Quartz powered
+ Anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass lens
+ Legible Arabic numeral hour track
+ Date window at 3 o’clock
+ 100-meter water resistance
Why We Like It – You can enjoy Hamilton’s state-of-the-art features inside this beastly pilot’s watch while still looking professional.
4. Omega Speedmaster Skywalker
Omega collaborated with the Solar Impulse Project to create this modern, lightweight titanium design. It features a digital screen on a blue and green dial with luminous coated transferred indexes and hands for telling the main time.
The liquid crystal display presents three different time zones, a chronograph, timer, MET (Mission Elapsed Time), PET (Phase Elapsed Time), three alarms, and a perpetual calendar, among other features. Powered by a multi-functional quartz chronograph movement, this Omega Speedmaster Skywalker watch is tested by the European Space Agency.
It features a grade 2 titanium outer case back, engraved with the “Around the World” lettering. If you like bold and unique wristwatches, this Swiss pilot’s watch promises both values, enrobed in a confident 45mm diameter case width.
+ 30-meter water-resistant
+ Liquid crystal display
+ Super-LumiNova coated hands and indexes
+ Limited-edition watch
+ Dark blue and green NATO style strap
Why We Like It – The two-color material strap of this Omega Speedmaster watch brings zesty, sporty undertones to casual and smart attire alike.
5. Longines Avigation Bigeye
This pilot’s watch from Longines oozes vintage appeal. It features the archetypal black pilot’s dial with highly legible Arabic numerals, combined with a trio of chronograph counters – the minutes of which are enlarged in contrast to the other two sub-counters.
Through a sapphire-backed case, you can enjoy the peerless performance of one of Longines’ in-house movements, the self-winding L688 caliber, which provides an impressive 54-hour power reserve and beats at a total of 28,800 vibrations per hour.
Demonstrating continuity, reliability, and high-tech performance, this versatile Longines Avigation Big Eye watch is easy-to-wear on the wrist, securing with a stylish smooth brown calfskin strap with a steel folding buckle.
+ 41mm steel case
+ Sapphire exhibition case back
+ Powered by an in-house movement
+ 30-meter water resistance
+ Chronograph minutes, seconds and hours with central second hands
Why We Like It – This Swiss pilot’s watch doesn’t just look stylish on the wrist. Its legible dial will also come in handy at the cockpit while looking sophisticated with a professional uniform
Swiss-Made Pilot’s Watches Buyer’s Guide
The history of the pilot’s watch
1904 was an iconic year for Cartier, the prestigious Swiss watchmaker. It marked the year that a relationship was forged between expert timekeeping and aviation. The Santos De Cartier watch, with a simple dial for easy readability, would go on to set a benchmark for all luxury pilot’s watches that followed.
The wristwatch was named after Brazilian pilot, Alberto Santos-Dumont, who requested Louis Cartier made him a timekeeping tool that would keep accurate time on an easily readable dial that could be worn on the wrist. The Cartier De Santos watch paved the way for elegant and classic looking pilots watches from that year onwards.
It granted professional and amateur pilots with a watch that not only proved itself as an indispensable piece of apparatus for flying with but one that looked incredibly stylish on the wrist. There’s now a vast array of luxury watches for pilots to choose from on the market today – each one with something unique to offer the connoisseur.
What features should I look for in a Swiss pilot’s watch?
The best pilot’s watches today boast a simple dial format that’s easy to reference in dark conditions and a design that is also easy to operate under pilot gloves. The oversized crown is a distinct characteristic of a good quality pilot’s watch, along with luminous coated appliques.
These simple features are all that a pilot needs while mid-flight. Despite that, you don’t have to be a professional or amateur flyer to enjoy the sleekness and sophistication of a high-quality aviation watch. The charismatic charm and classic style of a pilot’s watch can elevate smart attire and add a touch of elegance to a suit for the office.
So, there’s our guide to the top 5 best pilots watches. You can opt for something packed full to the brim with functional features, or go as simple as possible with a professional pilot’s watch. Guaranteed in each timepiece on this list, however, are the same three values: durability, accuracy, and legibility.
Look for a timepiece that displays bold and easy-to-reference numerals around the hour track when going in search of the best pilots watches, as well as a high-performance movement – preferably one that has been engineered from start to finish in-house by a reputable manufacturer.
Lastly, take into consideration the material used to craft the timepiece. Stainless steel is the most common material incorporated into a quality pilot’s watch. Still, there’s also plenty of titanium, ceramic, or gold versions on the market, as well as cases finished with a sleek black PVD coating to exude a slightly sportier, more youthful aesthetic.
Companies like IWC, Oris, Bremont, and Breitling have strong ties to the aviation industry. In contrast, other manufacturers demonstrate how their varied and innovative approach to watchmaking enables them to transfer skills across a broad spectrum of different watch categories to create something off the wall and equally as interesting.