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Breitling Navitimer Fighters Chronograph -Serie Speciale...
Breitling Navitimer Fighters Chronograph -Serie Speciale...
£4,110
Free shipping
Seller
Dreamwatch - fine used watches
104
DE
IWC PILOT'S WATCH AUTOMATIC 36 Ref. IW324002
IWC PILOT'S WATCH AUTOMATIC 36 Ref. IW324002
£3,556
Seller
WINGOO WATCHES
160
IT
Breitling Chronomat, men's model, 1992.
Breitling Chronomat, men's model, 1992.
£1,201
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Bell & Ross BR 02
Bell & Ross BR 02
£1,650
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
£6,900
Seller
WatchTraderUK
 
UK
Breitling Chronomat Evolution Mens 44mm 18K Gold Watch
Breitling Chronomat Evolution Mens 44mm 18K Gold Watch
£9,995
Free shipping
Seller
WT Time Pieces
21
UK
Rolex | GMT Master ii Yellow Gold Ceramic Bezel | 116718LN
Rolex | GMT Master ii Yellow Gold Ceramic Bezel | 116718LN
£19,400
Free shipping
Seller
Freddie Keeble Watches & Diamonds
UK
Breitling Navitimer Super Constellation
Breitling Navitimer Super Constellation
£6,000
Seller
JFD, Vintage & Prestige Watches
6
UK
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph Antoine de Saint Exupéry Edition
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph Antoine de Saint Exupéry Edition
£6,995
Seller
JPA Watch Company Ltd
5
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Custom Batman Watch 116710LN
Rolex GMT-Master II Custom Batman Watch 116710LN
£8,500
Seller
Time 4 Diamonds DMCC Ltd
11
UK
Bell & Ross BR 01-92
Bell & Ross BR 01-92
£1,292
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Center London
291
UK
Rolex Limited edition Rolex GMT Master II - Men's watch -...
Rolex Limited edition Rolex GMT Master II - Men's watch -...
£20,827
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Breitling Blackbird Edition Spéciale
Breitling Blackbird Edition Spéciale
£2,250
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 2017
Rolex GMT-Master II 2017
£19,950
Seller
WatchTraderUK
 
UK
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph 43mm Mens Steel Watch Full Set
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph 43mm Mens Steel Watch Full Set
£5,795
Free shipping
Seller
WT Time Pieces
21
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 18ct Yellow Gold "Full Set"
Rolex GMT-Master II 18ct Yellow Gold "Full Set"
£16,895
Seller
Watch Club
9
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
£7,650
Free shipping
Seller
Watchdealers UK
 
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
£5,850
Seller
Maunder Watch Co
 
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Black PVD Coating 116710LN
Rolex GMT-Master II Black PVD Coating 116710LN
£7,995
Seller
Time 4 Diamonds DMCC Ltd
11
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Hercules Custom BLNR Batman Black DLC...
Rolex GMT-Master II Hercules Custom BLNR Batman Black DLC...
£11,950
Free shipping
Seller
Xupes.com
44
UK
Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute, men's chronograph, 1977,...
Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute, men's chronograph, 1977,...
£3,233
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Breitling Navitimer
Breitling Navitimer
£3,200
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Rolex 18k Y/G O/P Black Dial Ceramic Bezel GMT-Master II 116718LN
Rolex 18k Y/G O/P Black Dial Ceramic Bezel GMT-Master II 116718LN
£16,500
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
54
UK
Bell & Ross Aviation 18K Rose Gold MENS Watch BR01-92
Bell & Ross Aviation 18K Rose Gold MENS Watch BR01-92
£3,499
Free shipping
Seller
WT Time Pieces
21
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Ceramic Bezel - Green Hand
Rolex GMT-Master II Ceramic Bezel - Green Hand
£5,895
Seller
Watch Club
9
UK
Rolex GMT Master ii Black and Blue Stainless Steel | 116710...
Rolex GMT Master ii Black and Blue Stainless Steel | 116710...
£7,700
Free shipping
Seller
Freddie Keeble Watches & Diamonds
UK
IWC Mark XI 6B/346 RAF British military steel
IWC Mark XI 6B/346 RAF British military steel
£6,400
Seller
A Collected Man
5
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II "Batman" Stainless Steel Watch...
Rolex GMT-Master II "Batman" Stainless Steel Watch...
£7,250
Seller
Time 4 Diamonds DMCC Ltd
11
UK
Breitling Navitimer Chronograph Black Dial Ref. A23322...
Breitling Navitimer Chronograph Black Dial Ref. A23322...
£3,232
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Center London
291
UK
Rolex GMT Master II - Men's - 1993
Rolex GMT Master II - Men's - 1993
£5,726
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Top Gun
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Top Gun
£19,550
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Rolex S/Steel Black Dial Pepsi Bezel GMT-Master II B&P 16710
Rolex S/Steel Black Dial Pepsi Bezel GMT-Master II B&P 16710
£6,950
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
54
UK
Bell & Ross WW1 Edición Limitada 42mm 18K Rose Gold Mens...
Bell & Ross WW1 Edición Limitada 42mm 18K Rose Gold Mens...
£7,500
Free shipping
Seller
WT Time Pieces
21
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710LN
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710LN
£6,700
Free shipping
Seller
Global Watch Shop
 
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Coke Stainless Steel Gents 16710
Rolex GMT-Master II Coke Stainless Steel Gents 16710
£6,895
Free shipping
Seller
Xupes.com
44
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Green Hand Box & Papers
Rolex GMT-Master II Green Hand Box & Papers
£6,190
Seller
Watch Club
9
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Steel Diamond Set with Donald Duck Dial...
Rolex GMT-Master II Steel Diamond Set with Donald Duck Dial...
£13,495
Seller
Time 4 Diamonds DMCC Ltd
11
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Ref. 16710 (Only Box)
Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Ref. 16710 (Only Box)
£5,818
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Center London
291
UK
Bell & Ross Bell&Ross BR01-92 Gaucher" (Left-Hande...
Bell & Ross Bell&Ross BR01-92 Gaucher" (Left-Hande...
£3,233
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
£7,500
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar St Exupery edition box &...
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar St Exupery edition box &...
£29,093
Seller
TempoInverso.com / Gift and Communication LTD
UK
IWC Pilot's Top Gun
IWC Pilot's Top Gun
£9,042
Free shipping
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
169
UK
Rolex S/Steel Black Dial Coke Bezel GMT-Master II Gents 16710
Rolex S/Steel Black Dial Coke Bezel GMT-Master II Gents 16710
£6,100
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
54
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II 18k Yellow Gold Gents 16718
Rolex GMT-Master II 18k Yellow Gold Gents 16718
£15,295
Free shipping
Seller
Xupes.com
44
UK
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph Ltd Edition “Le Petit Prince"
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph Ltd Edition “Le Petit Prince"
£7,495
Free shipping
Seller
ChronoEdge
57
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Black PVD Custom Batman Watch 116710LN
Rolex GMT-Master II Black PVD Custom Batman Watch 116710LN
£9,995
Seller
Time 4 Diamonds DMCC Ltd
11
UK
Breitling Chronomat 18k Yellow Gold Automatic Ref. K13352
Breitling Chronomat 18k Yellow Gold Automatic Ref. K13352
£5,957
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Center London
291
UK
Breitling Navitimer Heritage A35350
Breitling Navitimer Heritage A35350
£3,325
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Breitling Chronomat P.A.N Frecce Tricolori
Breitling Chronomat P.A.N Frecce Tricolori
£2,150
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Rolex GMT MASTER II SARU Brillanten Rubine Safire Hörner
Rolex GMT MASTER II SARU Brillanten Rubine Safire Hörner
£10,132
Seller
LUXUS RITTER GmbH & Co. KG
45
DE
Bell & Ross Br V2-92 Black Steel
Bell & Ross Br V2-92 Black Steel
£1,783
Free shipping
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
169
UK
Rolex Stainless Steel Black Dial GMT-Master II Gents  16710
Rolex Stainless Steel Black Dial GMT-Master II Gents 16710
£6,400
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
54
UK
IWC Pilot's Double Chronograph Limited Edition
IWC Pilot's Double Chronograph Limited Edition
£8,500
Seller
Private seller
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Stainless Steel & 18k Yellow Gold...
Rolex GMT-Master II Stainless Steel & 18k Yellow Gold...
£5,995
Free shipping
Seller
Xupes.com
44
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II Black PVD with Black Pavé Diamond Dial...
Rolex GMT-Master II Black PVD with Black Pavé Diamond Dial...
£9,500
Seller
Time 4 Diamonds DMCC Ltd
11
UK
IWC Flieger Chronograph Day Date Pilot
IWC Flieger Chronograph Day Date Pilot
£3,416
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Center London
291
UK
Bell & Ross Vintage Commando – Men´s wristwatch
Bell & Ross Vintage Commando – Men´s wristwatch
£1,385
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master II BLRO White Gold NEW
Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master II BLRO White Gold NEW
£24,475
Seller
Filipucci Juweliers
249
NL
IWC Big Pilot ‘Vintage 1936’ Re-Edition
IWC Big Pilot ‘Vintage 1936’ Re-Edition
£5,200
Seller
Maunder Watch Co
 
UK
IWC Big Pilot's Watch Edition Le Petit Prince
IWC Big Pilot's Watch Edition Le Petit Prince
£10,326
Free shipping
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
169
UK
Rolex GMT-Master II "Batman" Full Set
Rolex GMT-Master II "Batman" Full Set
£7,850
Seller
Watch Club
9
UK
Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute
Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute
£4,250
Seller
Private seller
 
UK

Pilot's Watches: Functionality for the Highest Demands

Pilot's watches are precise instruments as well as stylish accessories. Originally designed for pilots, they have developed into one of the most beloved types of watches. Breitling and IWC are two of the most well-known producers of pilot's watches.

Highlights

  • Famous brands: IWC, Breitling, Tutima, Fortis
  • IWC Mark XI features a typical pilot's watch design
  • Affordable pilot's watches available for less than 1,000 euros
  • Breitling Navitimer with a chronograph function and slide rule
  • Cartier Santos considered the first pilot's wristwatch

In the Cockpit with a Pilot's Watch

Pilot's watches are closely linked to aviation; the industry has strongly influenced the history and functionality of these special watches. For example, many pilot's watches are chronographs, meaning they also function as stopwatches. The term "pilot's watch" does not, however, have one standard definition. For some, it means a timepiece with a certain design: Watches with a black dial and white indices or numerals as well as large hands are enough to qualify as pilot's watches in some peoples' books. Another definition emphasizes other characteristics, such as legibility during the day and at night or a certain level of impact and shock resistance.
In the past, there wasn't a uniform standard for pilot's watches like the international ISO 6425 standard (DIN 8306) for diving watches. In 2016, however, the DIN 8330 standard was introduced, based on the Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches (Technischen Standard Fliegeruhren, TESTAF). According to DIN 8330, a certified pilot's watch is capable of replacing a plane's precise time measurement systems. Furthermore, the wearer is able to plan and execute vital, time-sensitive flight maneuvers with the watch. The German company Sinn was the first watch manufacturer to produce watches according to the DIN 8330 standard.
Two of the most famous manufacturers of pilot's watches are the Swiss brands Breitling and IWC. The design of the IWC Mark XI is particularly well known around the world and is often replicated. The watch is simple with its black dial, large numerals and indices, and triangular marker at the 12 o'clock position. IWC has sent the hand-winding model to numerous air forces.
One of Breitling's most famous timepieces is the Navitimer. Aside from its chronograph function, it has a rotatable bezel with a slide rule. With the help of this mechanism, you can calculate speeds, distances, and fuel consumption, as well as convert units of measurement.

Buying Advice

If you're interested in buying a pilot's watch, you have a large choice between many models from different brands. With such an expansive collection, there's certain to be the perfect watch for every budget. More affordable watches under 1,000 euros are available from Breitling. The Breitling Aerospace has the brand's characteristic bezel rider tabs at three, six, nine, and twelve o'clock. Inside its case, it's powered by an incredibly precise quartz movement. It's available for around 800 euros pre-owned. A used Breitling Chronomat is also available for less than 1,000 euros.
You can find numerous pre-owned Breitling watches for between 1,000 and 2,500 euros. Pilot's watches from the French manufacturer Bell & Ross are also available in this price range. Pre-owned pilot's chronographs from IWC cost around 2,000 euros. Three-hand models are available for less than 2,000 euros. IWC chronographs in good condition cost around 2,500 euros.
The 857 UTC watch from Sinn is available with or without TESTAF certification. Both versions cost about the same. You should plan on spending about 1,900 euros on a new model. A new chronograph Sinn 103 Ti TESTAF costs around 2,300 euros. New models with a chronograph and GMT function cost around 2,800 euros.
You can find Rolex's GMT-Master for under 10,000 euros. The Genevan manufacturer developed the GMT watch in the mid-1950s based on the demands of commercial pilots. The American airline Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) used the GMT-Master as their official watch.

History of Pilot's Watches

The Cartier Santos is considered the first pilot's watch. Louis Cartier developed the square wristwatch in 1904 for the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont. Two years later, Dumont flew the first official flight in a motorized airplane. During the flight, he wore the Santos, allowing him to keep both hands on the controls while still keeping an eye on the time.
The roots of modern day pilot's watches go all the way back to pocket watches — or, more accurately, deck watches used in high-sea navigation. These watches were portable pocket watches that supplemented a ship's marine chronometer. The marine chronometer was anchored to the ship and mounted on three freely moving axles, keeping the dial face up even during heavy swells. The marine chronometer was regulated in this position. Sailors used these highly precise chronometers to determine their exact location. During long trips at sea, watches accurate to the second were indispensable for navigation.
The officers on board synchronized their deck watch with the marine chronometer and returned to deck to determine their position via sextant. A deck watch had a very precise movement, but due to the extreme deviations in temperature and different positions, it wasn't as precise as a marine chronometer.
At the beginning of the 20th century, pilots used these deck watches during flights. They soldered pieces to the watches and looped thick leather straps through them. When modified this way, they could wear the deck watches on their thighs or over a flight suit. These pilot's watches were easily identifiable by their large crowns, which also allowed the wearer to set the time with gloves on.
Later, deck watches received their characteristic pilot's watch design. A black dial with yellow numerals became a signifying feature of these timepieces. At the beginning of the 20th century, manufacturers started using the luminous, radioactive material radium. Today, they use the luminescent, non-radioactive material Superluminova. Black dials have some obvious advantages: There's no glare, and together with luminous indices and hands, they are easy to read at twilight and at night.
Most pilot's watches from the early 20th century also featured a stop-seconds mechanism. This allowed the wearer to set the watch to the exact second, which is necessary to navigate accurately. One of the most important German manufacturers of these types of watches was the Glashütte-based company A. Lange & Söhne. During the Second World War, they produced pilot's watches exclusively for the military; today, these watches are very rare. Just as rare are German pilot's chronographs, which were produced by manufacturers such as Tutima and Junghans. The movements powering these watches originally came from Glashütte. Altogether, there are only 300 to 400 watches remaining from the 1930s and 40s. These vintage watches cost upwards of 30,000 euros each.

Historical Highlights

  • Origins tracing back to deck watches used on ships
  • Deck watches with leather straps were the first pilot's watches
  • Cartier Santos: the first pilot's watch in the form of a wristwatch
  • A. Lange & Söhne was one of the most important manufacturers of German pilot's watches

IWC Mark XI: The Cult Pilot's Watch

The IWC Mark XI is a classic pilot's watch. The Swiss manufacturer IWC produced the watch starting at the end of the 1940s. The Mark XI was a smaller version of the Mark X. For around 30 years, IWC delivered the Mark XI to numerous air forces around the world. The simple, hand-winding watch featured no chronograph function. Therefore, it was comparably inexpensive at 350 Swiss francs. Now, it costs between 5,000 and 9,000 euros. The watch had a characteristic black dial with bright luminous numerals and a triangle at 12 o'clock. Still to this day, manufacturers such as Fortis produce pilot's watches with this simple, iconic design.

The Standard for Pilot's Watches: DIN 8330

An official standard for pilot's watches has existed since the beginning of 2016: the German DIN 8330. The watch manufacturer Sinn Spezialuhren initiated the process of developing this standard. The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) decided in the summer of 2013 to create a new standard for pilot's watches based on the Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches (TESTAF). This standard is oriented to meet the challenges of modern aviation. The aerospace engineering department at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences together with Sinn Spezialuhren developed the TESTAF in 2012. According to DIN 8330, pilot's wristwatches must be compatible with other on-board instruments, pose no risk to the aircraft and crew, and must be able to withstand the physical stressors of flight.
DIN 8330 differentiates between visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR). Watches certified according to IFR rules require a stopwatch function and are thus chronographs. Watches certified to VFR have a 12-hour as well as a 60-minute display. The central second hand must feature a mechanism so it can be stopped to the exact second. Furthermore, the standard requires the watch to have a bi-directional rotatable bezel with minute markers and ratcheting. The dial and scale background must be matte black, and the diameter of the dial must not be smaller than 27 mm. The watch has to be easily legible, and thus the hour indices, triangular marker on the bezel, and the hour, minute, and second hands must be filled with luminous material and glow for at least three hours.
The DIN 8330 also requires pilot's watches and their functions to work properly between -15 °C and +55 °C (5 to 131 °F). They have to pass an impact test by surviving a drop from a 1-meter height onto a hardwood floor. They are also tested for waterproofness according to DIN 8310. The watches undergo further tests for precision, strap fittings, and magnetic field resistance, among other things. At the end of the tests, the watch must still function properly and have no signs of external damage.