In another article we looked at the new wave of pilot’s watches by high-end brands. In this article we list the finest pilot’s watches costing less than €2,000. They are listed in increasing price order.
Hamilton Pilot Pioneer
Hamilton are launching a reinterpretation of a watch manufactured for the Royal Air Force in 1973. The Pilot Pioneer is a classic pilot’s watch, with a brushed stainless steel tonneau-shaped case, 38 mm in width, a vintage black textured dial, white numerals, and vintage-style caramel SuperLumiNova on hands and hour markers. The Hamilton Pilot Pioneer is powered by the H-50 manually-wound movement providing 80 hours power reserve. The watch has a solid caseback, and it is supplied with a leather or NATO strap. The watch is reference H76419931 and it will cost from €745, $845. Read more here.
Archimede Automatic Pilot 36
A classic pilot’s watch, in midsize 36mm midsize format ideal for both male and female wrists, 9,8 mm thick, supplied with a strap offered in two length options according to wrist size. The steel case has a display caseback and a 5-bar water resistance rating. Inside is the Swiss-made self-winding calibre ETA 2824-2. Price €820. Read more on the Archimede website.
Hamilton Khaki Field Murph Auto
Is this a pilot’s watch? It celebrates the watch made specially for the character Murph in the film Interstellar, and it has the black dial with white markings typical of pilot’s watches. Distinctive features include the cathedral hands, and the absence of a date window. The seconds hand has an extra detail with respect to the movie original: the word Eureka in Morse code. The H-10 self-winding movement can be seen through the caseback, with its personalized oscillating weight. It is Hamilton’s version of the ETA C07.111, which provides 80 hours power reserve. The watch costs €895. It is not a limited edition, but the lovely presentation box designed by Nathan Crowley, production designer for Interstellar, is limited to 2,555 units. Read more here.
Christopher Ward C65 Cranwell Series 1
The C65 Cranwell Series 1 is inspired by the 6B/346 watches, the so-called Mark 11 watches made by Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC for the RAF. The Cranwell has a chronometer-certified automatic movement, the Sellita SW200-1 providing a 38-hour power reserve. The watch is 41 mm in diameter, supplied with a leather strap or a steel bracelet, and a solid caseback. Dial markings are coated in white and “old radium” SuperLumiNova. Price from €995. Read more on the Christopher Ward website.
Aerowatch Renaissance Grande Mécanique Aviateur
This watch is 43 mm in diameter, and the narrow bezel enhances the look of the matt black dial with hands and numerals coated in luminescent paint. The dial arrangement, with subdial for continuous seconds at 6 o’clock, reflects the traditional hand-wound movement, Unitas 6498-1, which runs at 18,000 vibrations per hour, 2.5 Hertz. The watch has a solid caseback and a strap in brown calfskin with exposed stitching. The Swiss-made Grande Mécanique Aviateur costs €960. Read more here.
Laco Frankfurt GMT
Laco’s new GMT pilot’s watch is based on the ETA 2893-2 calibre, which provides a 24-hour GMT hand that can be set independently using the crown. Unscrewed and pulled out to the second position, the crown adjusts the date when rotated counter-clockwise, and the GMT hand when rotated clockwise. You can decide whether to adjust the GMT hand for the second time zone, or whether to use the internal rotating bezel with the 24-hour markings and day-night shading, controlled by the second crown. The movement is self-winding with a 50-hour power reserve. The watch is 43 mm in diameter, supplied with water-resistant leather strap and an attractive NATO strap, along with a strap-changing tool. The two crowns are screw-down and the watch has a 20 bar, 200-metre water resistance. Reference 862120, price €1,650. Read more on the Laco website.
Archimede Pilot Chronograph AZ . LS
This Pilot Chronograph was already part of Archimede’s collection, but it is now available in this version with anthracite PVD coating. The watch is fairly large at 42mm diameter and 13.6 mm thickness, water resistance 5 bar. The dial provides classic pilot’s watch looks, and the watch has a conical pilot’s crown. Inside, the movement is the self-winding ETA 7750 in its “Elaboré” version. It can be seen through the mineral glass caseback. Price €1,780. Read more on the Archimede website.
Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th anniversary edition
This watch is the 80th anniversary edition of the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date watch that first appeared in 1938. Though intended for pilots, it has a classical dial, with the unusual pointer date feature. In the 2018 edition, the 40mm case is in bronze, with a fixed fluted bezel. Numerals, hour markers and hands are coated in SuperLumiNova. The watch is powered by the Oris 754 movement, based on the Sellita SW 200-1, personalized with a red oscillating weight and visible through a mineral glass window in the stainless steel caseback. Power reserve is 38 hours. The date function is instantaneous, and the watch provides quick date correction. The strap is in leather with a bronze buckle. The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 80th anniversary edition is reference 01 754 7741 3167-07 5 20 58BR. It costs €1,800. Read more here.
Longines Heritage Military 2019
The Heritage Military is a good example of Longines’ skill in creating convincing new editions of memorable timepieces. It is based on a watch that Longines supplied to the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, the 6B/159 Ref. 4830. The original was very small at just 32 mm, while the 2019 edition is 38.5 mm in diameter and 11.7 mm thick, a moderate size that will suit just about all wrists. The crown is large, a throwback to when aviators needed to set the time or wind the watch while wearing gloves. The dial is cream-coloured with a very convincing faux patina creating an authentic antique look. Its absolute simplicity is enhanced by the absence of a date window – as per the original – and the solid caseback. Inside, the self-winding ETA A31.L01 runs at 25,200 vibrations per hour, 7 beats per second, 3.5 Hertz, and provides a power reserve of 64 hours. The Longines Heritage Military is reference L2.818.104.22.168, and it costs €1,830 inclusive of tax. Read more here.
Guinand Starfighter Pilot Chronograph
In the 1950s and 60s the reformed German air force Bundesluftwaffe developed a commission for a chronograph watch for its pilots, and the resulting Bundeswehr watches supplied by a number of brands can be considered as an iconic pilot’s watch pattern. The The Guinand Starfighter Pilot Chronograph is close in looks to the Bundeswehr watches, and the dial is very similar, right down to the design of the numerals with their bright SuperLuminova paint. The case is fairly large at 42.6 mm and 15.6 mm thick, in bead-blasted or satin-finish stainless steel, with a pressure resistance of 20 bar, corresponding to 200 metres water resistance. The bidirectional rotating bezel adds extra functionality, for timing countdowns. The display caseback reveals the Valjoux 7753 movement by ETA, a development of the 7750, self-winding, with the stop seconds function, power reserve about 40 hours .The watch has a black calfskin strap with textured surface and contrasting stitching. The Guinand Starfighter Pilot Chronograph costs €1,879 including VAT. Read more here.