FLYING HIGH WITH THESE CLASSIC AVIATION TIMEPIECES. NO. 1 ON OUR IS THE BREITLING NAITIMER By Ryan Carafa
Breitling Navitimer 01
When it comes to aviation watches, Breitling is one brand that stands head and shoulders above the pack and the Breitling Navitimer 01 is the ‘Cadillac’ of aviation timepieces. The Navitimer is rich in aviation history with its first inception being introduced in 1952 and endorsed as the official timekeeping instrument of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA). Since then the legendary design has changed very little. The latest version is very recognizable to watch lovers. Most notable is the bidirectional ratcheted rotating bezel of the famous circular aviation slide rule. Now sitting comfortably on the wrist in a 43mm case, this watch looks great for many occasions. This chronograph is powered by a new in-house caliber, which brings more prestige to an established icon. The Navitimer was and still is the aviation watch to own. The version shown: Rose Gold Case, Black Dial, Black Leather Strap.
Breguet Type XX Aéronavale
The Breguet Type XX Aéronavale is a sure winner on any wrist. This version of a pilot watch has been aesthetically refined for the modern man to wear at work but has stayed true to its pilot roots, so you can wear it with confidence at play. During the 1950’s Breguet was one of the companies that built aviation watches for the French Army, and the Type XX is the modern civilian version. The case measures at 39mm in stainless steel with a beautiful black dial. This watch is equipped with a flyback chronograph automatic movement that is made to withstand the harsh conditions of a cockpit while maintaining its accuracy. The bi-directional bezel is polished nicely, and will add just enough flash to this tool watch. The owner of this watch can enjoy wearing a practical, no-fuss pilot watch made by one of the most prestigious brands in the industry.
Rolex GMT – Master II
Rolex makes a very distinctive aviation watch that looks beautiful but the design is more than skin deep. In the 1950’s Rolex worked with Pan American airline pilots and developed a watch to meet their needs. The purpose of the bezel being two toned is so pilots can distinguish AM/PM. The latest version is the first commercially available watch with red ceramic bezel (two toned red and blue) and is absolutely stunning, measuring at 40mm. It is only available in white gold and is powered by the very reliable Rolex in-house movement. The GMT function – independently adjustable 12-hour hand – is ideal for travelling, so one does not have to be a pilot to make use of this watch. The most popular brand in the world still continues to push the boundaries and has produced a standout aviation watch.
Patek Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Reference 5524
At Basel World 2015, Patek Philippe shocked the watch- making industry and unconventionally entered into the world of aviation watches. The waves this made throughout the watch lovers community have been felt strong enough for the Patek Calatrava Pilot Travel Time to make it on to our TOP 7 list months after its release. This brand is no stranger to excellence, but moving in this direction is no easy task. Available in limited production, exclusively with an 18-karat white gold case measuring at 42mm, this will stand out as a novelty piece on any lucky wrist. The automatic in-house movement can be admired through the sapphire crystal case back. Equipped with a jump hour dual time complication and home/local indicator on an easy-to-read clean dial. This introduction has added excitement to the industry and is a bold move by the most celebrated brand.
IWC Big Pilot
One of the most recognizable models in the IWC’s lineup, the Big Pilot watch is masculine and assertive. Its bold, handsome aesthetics makes it an easy choice for men with a strong enough personality to wear it, yet simple enough to not be audacious. This watch is a classic. Measuring at 46mm, it is hard to be missed on the wrist. The well-designed and distinctive screw-in crown gives it even more personality. A clean black dial, muscular hands, and a seven-day power reserve indicator adorn the attractive face, but underneath is a solid automatic in-house IWC caliber. The watch also has a soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic forces. Whether in the cockpit or on land, the IWC Big Pilot is sure to make a strong statement.
Bremont ALT1-P Pilot
Founded by two brothers in 2002, Bremont, a British watch company, has achieved the almost impossible in a short period of time: generate recognition and respect in the watch-making community. The roots of the brand are entrenched in aviation and they produce some of the most robust and esteemed pilot timepieces in the world. The Bremont ALT1-P Pilot is a muscular chronograph sitting on the wrist at 43mm with a hardened stainless steel case. The crown situated at 8 hour is for rotating the integrated inner bi-directional bezel, which measures the time of trips. The movement can be viewed through the sapphire crystal case back for the owner’s delight. The dial stays true to a basic theme for any pilot watch: clarity. The future looks bright for this new brand and it was an easy choice for our TOP 7 list.
Dodane Type 23 Flyback
Dodane 1857 is a small independent company that in the 1950’s started supplying watches to the French Air Force. Today, the company has been in the same family for five generations and they are still making true pilot watches for aviation fans and watch lovers. The Dodane Type 23 Flyback is a clean no-nonsense watch that has been built to perform in extreme conditions. This watch is a sensible choice for the man that wants craftsmanship and pedigree with the comfort of wearing a brand that fly’s under the radar. It sits comfortably on the wrist at 42.5mm. Other features: the bi-directional rotating bezel options, brushed or polished 12-hour counter-clockwise numbering, or our favourite, black with 60-minute numbering as seen in this photograph. Other options for this beauty include the solid case-back with the eagle – the sixteenth century symbol of the French city of Besancon and home of Dodane – engraved or sapphire crystal revealing the movement.