Specialist Picks • 07 Dec 2015

5 Famous Fliegers

by Ariel Adams


Watches inspired by aircraft history or made for pilots are some of the most popular and beautiful timepieces available – especially when it comes to casual wearing and stylistic versatility. One of the major reasons that pilot watches are so successful is that the best examples are designed as functional tools first and a fashion items second.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch
Large and bold, IWC’s “core” pilot watch sums up almost everything people like about vintage-inspired luxury aviation timepieces. With an in-house automatic movement that contains over a week of power reserve, IWC’s true claim to fame for the Big Pilot’s watch is its durable fashion sense which allows it to look good anywhere large watches are preferred.

The IWC Big Pilot watch has an in-house automatic movement that contains over a week of power reserve.
The IWC Big Pilot watch has an in-house automatic movement that contains over a week of power reserve.

Rolex GMT-Master II
A classic from the start, the GMT-Master II from Rolex was originally designed for pilots who wanted to keep track of various time zones at once that are to its added GM 24 hour forma. When Rolex worked with PAN-AM airlines the famous red and blue “Pepsi-Dial” was born which returns to market each few years. The stylistic versatility, comfort, and ability to track multiple time zones has made the GMT-Master II a regular choice for pilots and time zone-hopping travelers.

The ability to track multiple time zones has made the Rolex GMT-Master II a regular choice for pilots and time zone-hopping travelers.
The ability to track multiple time zones has made the Rolex GMT-Master II a regular choice for pilots and time zone-hopping travellers.

Breitling Navitimer 01
A few years ago Breilting debuted a new version of its iconic Navitimer complete with an in-house movement. One of Breitling’s best sellers still today, the Navitimer debuted in the mid-1950’s as the first wrist watch with slide rule calculator (which at the time was quite useful). Really a vintage-style instrument, the appeal of the Navitimer is in its purely analog functionality which is more easy to relate to as a human in comparison to digital and other modern instruments. At Breitling analog is still a winner (even though they do produce some analog/digital timepieces as well).

The appeal of the Breitling Navitimer 01 is in its purely analog functionality which is easier to relate to as a human in comparison to digital and other modern instruments.
The appeal of the Breitling Navitimer 01 is in its purely analog functionality which is easier to relate to as a human in comparison to digital and other modern instruments.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524
Controversial among dedicated Patek Philippe enthusiasts for its alternative design direction, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time is a new type of casual sports watch from Switzerland’s noteworthy luxury watchmaker that pulls from their own history. Rendered in an 18k white gold case that is 42mm wide the true value of this useful yet under-the-radar timepiece is that it will serve its wearer well and few people will know its true value.

The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 has a dual time zone mechanism indicating local and home time.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524 has a dual time zone mechanism indicating local and home time.

Omega Speedmaster Solar Impulse HB-SIA
For those who love the classic Omega Speedmaster but want a more unique piece with some modern twists then the Speedmaster Solar Impulse HB-SIA offers an interesting combination of features. Using the classic Speedmaster Moonwatch case but slightly larger and in titanium (not steel), the Speedmaster Solar Impulse also has a carbon fiber dial. Produced for the Solar Impulse, an aircraft powered by sunlight, the watch contains a movement most people have never seen in a Speedmaster which contains both a chronograph as well as a GMT complication.

The Omega Speedmaster Solar Impulse HB-SIA has a titanium case, carbon fiber dial, chronograph function as well as a 24 hour GMT hand.
The Omega Speedmaster Solar Impulse HB-SIA has a titanium case, carbon fiber dial, chronograph function as well as a 24 hour GMT hand.

Ariel Adams

Ariel Adams started writing about watches in 2007, almost immediately after finishing law school. Since then he’s never looked back - combining his business skills with an enduring passion for timepieces and all things "well-made" on http://aBlogToWatch.com. In addition to running the world's highest-traffic online watch magazine, Adams also wrote a book, The World's Most Expensive Watches, and also lends his voice to leading watch and thought publications around the world.


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