Number 1 on the runway

Want This, Get This: IWC Pilot Chronograph or Alpina Startimer Chronograph

Buying Guides By Photo by IWC/Alpina

If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. The watch companies maintain a continuous flow of tantalizing images of their new creations, the Web is rife with chronic watch flippers offering good deals on minty timepieces, and suddenly that watch you’re wearing is starting to look a little rough around the edges. Time for an upgrade. But reality steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your watch love remains unrequited. What’s a guy to do? Want This, Get This presents a lustworthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch.

Want This: IWC Fliegerchronograph

If there’s one family of timepieces that best defines the International Watch Company, it’s their pilot’s watches. After all, the Schaffhausen company has been building them since the 1930s for pilots flying everything from Stukkas and Spitfires to La-Z-Boys. Oversized and overengineered, one could argue that the IWC Fliegerchronograph ($5,900 on strap) is the archetype for the modern pilot’s watch. Last year’s refresh of the watch increased the size by a millimeter (to 43mm) and added an altimeter-inspired date window. With a crystal secured against sudden pressure drops, an anti-magnetic iron movement cage and an IWC-modified self-winding chronograph caliber, the watch is revered and coveted by watch collectors everywhere.

Get This: Alpina Startimer Chronograph

Alpina is a name that’s been around for a long time in various iterations, but has only recently popped up on our radar, thanks to some handsome designs and a handful of in-house movements developed in partnership with its dressier cousin, Frederique Constant. The Startimer Chronograph ($2,995 on strap) bears more than a passing resemblance to the IWC without being a full-on copycat with its bi-compax dial layout, pump pushers and unique crown. At less than half the price of the IWC, the Startimer lacks some of the name recognition and finishing quality of the Schaffhausen-bred Flieger, but they both share the same base chronograph movement (shhh…). In short, the Alpina should still pass a pre-flight inspection with ease.