Still Flying High

Why We Still Love the Pilot’s Watch

September 8, 2016 Watches By Photo by Henry Phillips
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For almost as long as mankind has told gravity to suck it with the invention of the airplane, we’ve needed timepieces that can a) be read at a glance, b) put up with the pressure and temperatures changes, c) work in close proximity to magnetic fields produced by electric flight instruments and, eventually, with the advent of more complex flight chronographs, d) allow for various flight calculations to be done on the fly.

Except modern pilots don’t even rely on watches anymore because modern flight cockpits have all the information they’d ever need right there, on the dash, with zero fuss. Yet pilot’s watches endure. Why? Well, the inherent qualities that made pilot’s watches useful in the cockpit translate to everyday life, too. They can handle daily wear and tear, they’re legible, and, perhaps most importantly, they look wicked badass. With that in mind, we compiled our favorite pilot’s watches from the last year all in one place.

IWC’s Iconic Mark XVIII Is the Perfect Casual Watch


For SIHH 2016, IWC refreshed its iconic Mark pilot’s watch, and it meets the needs of the modern man as well as it did 20th-century pilots.

Want This Watch? Eject from an Airplane


Lifelong pilot William Mnich tells the harrowing story of how he got his limited-edition Bremont MBI.

The GMT, Explained


The GMT watch was created by Rolex at the request of Pan Am, for pilots flying across multiple time zones at the beginning of the glorious jet age. Here’s how it works. Read the Story

7 Watches That Get Aviator Style Right


From Citizen to Rolex, these pilot’s watches are utilitarian, easy to read and sizable, but their timeless looks are the real draw.

Bremont’s New Pilot’s Watch Is Mid-Century Minimal, with a Texas Twist


If Bremont had made watches for mid-century pilots, they would have looked like the U2/T, a new limited-edition collaboration with a Texas retailer.

Andrew Connor

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