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Breitling Blackbird
Breitling Blackbird
NZ$ 3,913
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Rolex GMT Master II Yellow Gold Black dial
Rolex GMT Master II Yellow Gold Black dial
NZ$ 39,875
Seller
Watch & Bullion
 
GI
IWC Fiegerchronograph
IWC Fiegerchronograph
NZ$ 4,232
Seller
Plinio Gioielli S.R.L.
 
IT
Bell & Ross - Bell & Ross Vintage 120 - 120-A-S15467
Bell & Ross - Bell & Ross Vintage 120 - 120-A-S15467
NZ$ 2,197
Seller
New Watches Barcelona, S.L.
 
ES
IWC Fliegeruhr Chronograph limited Edition  IW387805
IWC Fliegeruhr Chronograph limited Edition IW387805
NZ$ 25,227
Seller
Spliedt & Cie GmbH
 
DE
Rolex GMT-MASTER II  Tritium
Rolex GMT-MASTER II Tritium
NZ$ 21,809
Seller
Uhren Schöfer GmbH
DE
Rolex GMT Master II - Gent's - 2008
Rolex GMT Master II - Gent's - 2008
NZ$ 9,440
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Breitling Navitimer Heritage
Breitling Navitimer Heritage
NZ$ 4,671
Seller
Private seller
 
RO
IWC Pilots Mark XVIII 18 Edition "le Petit Prince"stai...
IWC Pilots Mark XVIII 18 Edition "le Petit Prince"stai...
NZ$ 4,119
Seller
VIP WATCH & JEWELLERY
16
HK
Bell & Ross BR 02
Bell & Ross BR 02
NZ$ 11,739
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
Rolex GMT-Master II Custom Emerald & Diamond set
Rolex GMT-Master II Custom Emerald & Diamond set
NZ$ 26,683
Free shipping
Seller
Cagau
AE
Rolex GMT-Master II 40mm
Rolex GMT-Master II 40mm
NZ$ 10,813
Seller
Lombard Perspectiva
RU
Bell & Ross BRWW1-MONO-HER/SCA
Bell & Ross BRWW1-MONO-HER/SCA
NZ$ 5,299
Seller
Deluxe ( Asia ) Ltd
 
HK
IWC FLIEGERUHR MARK XVI
IWC FLIEGERUHR MARK XVI
NZ$ 5,696
Seller
Spliedt & Cie GmbH
 
DE
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun
NZ$ 15,950
Seller
Uhren Schöfer GmbH
DE
Rolex 2001 ROLEX GMT MASTER 2 16710 PEPSI RED/BLUE BEZEL SEL
Rolex 2001 ROLEX GMT MASTER 2 16710 PEPSI RED/BLUE BEZEL SEL
NZ$ 10,905
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Breitling Navitimer QP, Ewiger Kalender, Ref. L29020, Limited...
Breitling Navitimer QP, Ewiger Kalender, Ref. L29020, Limited...
NZ$ 97,637
Seller
Private seller
 
DE
Rolex GMT-Master II Custom Batman Watch 116710LN
Rolex GMT-Master II Custom Batman Watch 116710LN
NZ$ 15,171
Seller
Time 4 Diamonds DMCC Ltd
11
UK
IWC Pilot UTC
IWC Pilot UTC
NZ$ 3,913
Seller
Jewelwatch Ltd
NZ
IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
NZ$ 6,200
Seller
2GTime
 
CH
Rolex GMT II Ceramica Ref. 116710 02/2011 art. Rg823
Rolex GMT II Ceramica Ref. 116710 02/2011 art. Rg823
NZ$ 10,660
Seller
Stroppiana SRL
200
IT
Breitling Chronomat 41 Rosegold/Steel Full Set Unworn
Breitling Chronomat 41 Rosegold/Steel Full Set Unworn
NZ$ 9,684
Seller
Private seller
 
BE
Bell & Ross WW1-92 MILITARY
Bell & Ross WW1-92 MILITARY
NZ$ 2,279
Seller
Private seller
 
ES
Breitling Navitimer 01 Edelstahl / Stab-Indizes / Kalbslederba...
Breitling Navitimer 01 Edelstahl / Stab-Indizes / Kalbslederba...
NZ$ 7,796
Seller
Private seller
 
DE
Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute
Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute
NZ$ 4,386
Seller
Private seller
 
NL
IWC Big Pilot white gold
IWC Big Pilot white gold
NZ$ 26,855
Seller
Private seller
 
NL
Breitling Chronograaf Navitimer – Men's Wristwatch –...
Breitling Chronograaf Navitimer – Men's Wristwatch –...
NZ$ 5,941
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
IWC Fliegeruhr Chronograph Antoine de Saint Exupéry
IWC Fliegeruhr Chronograph Antoine de Saint Exupéry
NZ$ 14,322
Seller
Spliedt & Cie GmbH
 
DE
Bell & Ross BR03-92
Bell & Ross BR03-92
NZ$ 2,637
Seller
Private seller
 
FR
IWC Fliegeruhr UTC Platin
IWC Fliegeruhr UTC Platin
NZ$ 22,623
Seller
Uhren Schöfer GmbH
DE
Breitling Chronomat 44 Airborne
Breitling Chronomat 44 Airborne
NZ$ 6,103
Seller
Private seller
 
DE
Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 116710 BLNR / Batman  / Fullset  / LC EU
Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 116710 BLNR / Batman / Fullset / LC EU
NZ$ 14,078
Free shipping
Seller
DIAMANDO
 
DE
Rolex GMT Master II 16710 Stick Dial Z2
Rolex GMT Master II 16710 Stick Dial Z2
NZ$ 11,702
Seller
Bonanno Gioielleria
59
IT
Rolex GMT-MASTER 2 116710LN Stainless Steel Ceramic Bezel Full...
Rolex GMT-MASTER 2 116710LN Stainless Steel Ceramic Bezel Full...
NZ$ 10,328
Seller
Alex Pig Timepieces
24
HK
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
NZ$ 15,862
Seller
2GTime
 
CH
IWC — Pilot WorldTimer — 2017
IWC — Pilot WorldTimer — 2017
NZ$ 8,789
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Rolex GMT Master II  Watch  16710
Rolex GMT Master II Watch 16710
NZ$ 10,335
Seller
della Rocca gioielli - Carol Exclusive
70
IT
Breitling Chronomat Serie Speciale
Breitling Chronomat Serie Speciale
NZ$ 4,116
Seller
Private seller
 
FI
Bell & Ross BR 02
Bell & Ross BR 02
NZ$ 2,945
Seller
Private seller
 
UK
Bell & Ross Vintage
Bell & Ross Vintage
NZ$ 2,930
Seller
Private seller
 
FR
IWC Pilot's Watches Double Chronograph Edition TOP GUN
IWC Pilot's Watches Double Chronograph Edition TOP GUN
NZ$ 7,902
Seller
Lombard Perspectiva
RU
Rolex GMT Master II 16713 Occhio di Tigre
Rolex GMT Master II 16713 Occhio di Tigre
NZ$ 10,742
Seller
Bonanno Gioielleria
59
IT
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Chronographe Full Set 6/2009
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Chronographe Full Set 6/2009
NZ$ 3,898
Seller
Private seller
 
DE
Breitling Chronomat 44
Breitling Chronomat 44
NZ$ 5,973
Seller
Private seller
 
SE
Bell & Ross 126 XL Limited edition vintage chrono - mens...
Bell & Ross 126 XL Limited edition vintage chrono - mens...
NZ$ 12,207
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
Rolex GMT-Master II Black PVD Coating 116710LN
Rolex GMT-Master II Black PVD Coating 116710LN
NZ$ 14,270
Seller
Time 4 Diamonds DMCC Ltd
11
UK
IWC - Pilot's Chronograph : IW377704
IWC - Pilot's Chronograph : IW377704
NZ$ 5,199
Seller
BernardWatch.com
94
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince
IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince
NZ$ 6,754
Seller
Private seller
 
DE
IWC Mark XVI
IWC Mark XVI
NZ$ 4,150
Seller
Private seller
 
FR
IWC Mark XVI Fliegeruhr
IWC Mark XVI Fliegeruhr
NZ$ 4,053
Seller
Private seller
 
DE
Breitling Aerospace Repetition Minutes
Breitling Aerospace Repetition Minutes
NZ$ 1,418
Seller
Private seller
 
RO
Bell & Ross BR03-92 Phantom Ceramic
Bell & Ross BR03-92 Phantom Ceramic
NZ$ 3,092
Seller
Private seller
 
NL
IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
NZ$ 6,509
Seller
Private seller
 
NL
Breitling Chronomat
Breitling Chronomat
NZ$ 2,930
Seller
Private seller
 
NL
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
NZ$ 10,660
Seller
Private seller
 
DE
IWC Pilot's Top Gun Chronograph – Full Set – 2017 – IW389001
IWC Pilot's Top Gun Chronograph – Full Set – 2017 – IW389001
NZ$ 14,241
Estimated price
Seller
Catawiki BV
 
IWC IW377714 Pilot Watch Le Petit Prince Blue Automatic [NEW]
IWC IW377714 Pilot Watch Le Petit Prince Blue Automatic [NEW]
NZ$ 5,636
Seller
moibotime.com
 
HK
Breitling Chronomat 18 Karat Geldgold mit Diamantbesatz
Breitling Chronomat 18 Karat Geldgold mit Diamantbesatz
NZ$ 13,019
Seller
Private seller
 
DE
Breitling Navitimer AOPA Limited Edition
Breitling Navitimer AOPA Limited Edition
NZ$ 7,812
Seller
Private seller
 
NL
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Black/Leather 2016 - IW377709
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Black/Leather 2016 - IW377709
NZ$ 5,036
Seller
The Watch Company
JP

Pilot's Watches: Functionality for the Highest Demands

Pilot's watches are precise instruments as well as stylish accessories. Originally designed for pilots, they have developed into one of the most beloved types of watches. Breitling and IWC are two of the most well-known producers of pilot's watches.

Highlights

  • Famous brands: IWC, Breitling, Tutima, Fortis
  • IWC Mark XI features a typical pilot's watch design
  • Affordable pilot's watches available for less than 1,000 euros
  • Breitling Navitimer with a chronograph function and slide rule
  • Cartier Santos considered the first pilot's wristwatch

In the Cockpit with a Pilot's Watch

Pilot's watches are closely linked to aviation; the industry has strongly influenced the history and functionality of these special watches. For example, many pilot's watches are chronographs, meaning they also function as stopwatches. The term "pilot's watch" does not, however, have one standard definition. For some, it means a timepiece with a certain design: Watches with a black dial and white indices or numerals as well as large hands are enough to qualify as pilot's watches in some peoples' books. Another definition emphasizes other characteristics, such as legibility during the day and at night or a certain level of impact and shock resistance.
In the past, there wasn't a uniform standard for pilot's watches like the international ISO 6425 standard (DIN 8306) for diving watches. In 2016, however, the DIN 8330 standard was introduced, based on the Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches (Technischen Standard Fliegeruhren, TESTAF). According to DIN 8330, a certified pilot's watch is capable of replacing a plane's precise time measurement systems. Furthermore, the wearer is able to plan and execute vital, time-sensitive flight maneuvers with the watch. The German company Sinn was the first watch manufacturer to produce watches according to the DIN 8330 standard.
Two of the most famous manufacturers of pilot's watches are the Swiss brands Breitling and IWC. The design of the IWC Mark XI is particularly well known around the world and is often replicated. The watch is simple with its black dial, large numerals and indices, and triangular marker at the 12 o'clock position. IWC has sent the hand-winding model to numerous air forces.
One of Breitling's most famous timepieces is the Navitimer. Aside from its chronograph function, it has a rotatable bezel with a slide rule. With the help of this mechanism, you can calculate speeds, distances, and fuel consumption, as well as convert units of measurement.

Buying Advice

If you're interested in buying a pilot's watch, you have a large choice between many models from different brands. With such an expansive collection, there's certain to be the perfect watch for every budget. More affordable watches under 1,000 euros are available from Breitling. The Breitling Aerospace has the brand's characteristic bezel rider tabs at three, six, nine, and twelve o'clock. Inside its case, it's powered by an incredibly precise quartz movement. It's available for around 800 euros pre-owned. A used Breitling Chronomat is also available for less than 1,000 euros.
You can find numerous pre-owned Breitling watches for between 1,000 and 2,500 euros. Pilot's watches from the French manufacturer Bell & Ross are also available in this price range. Pre-owned pilot's chronographs from IWC cost around 2,000 euros. Three-hand models are available for less than 2,000 euros. IWC chronographs in good condition cost around 2,500 euros.
The 857 UTC watch from Sinn is available with or without TESTAF certification. Both versions cost about the same. You should plan on spending about 1,900 euros on a new model. A new chronograph Sinn 103 Ti TESTAF costs around 2,300 euros. New models with a chronograph and GMT function cost around 2,800 euros.
You can find Rolex's GMT-Master for under 10,000 euros. The Genevan manufacturer developed the GMT watch in the mid-1950s based on the demands of commercial pilots. The American airline Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) used the GMT-Master as their official watch.

History of Pilot's Watches

The Cartier Santos is considered the first pilot's watch. Louis Cartier developed the square wristwatch in 1904 for the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont. Two years later, Dumont flew the first official flight in a motorized airplane. During the flight, he wore the Santos, allowing him to keep both hands on the controls while still keeping an eye on the time.
The roots of modern day pilot's watches go all the way back to pocket watches — or, more accurately, deck watches used in high-sea navigation. These watches were portable pocket watches that supplemented a ship's marine chronometer. The marine chronometer was anchored to the ship and mounted on three freely moving axles, keeping the dial face up even during heavy swells. The marine chronometer was regulated in this position. Sailors used these highly precise chronometers to determine their exact location. During long trips at sea, watches accurate to the second were indispensable for navigation.
The officers on board synchronized their deck watch with the marine chronometer and returned to deck to determine their position via sextant. A deck watch had a very precise movement, but due to the extreme deviations in temperature and different positions, it wasn't as precise as a marine chronometer.
At the beginning of the 20th century, pilots used these deck watches during flights. They soldered pieces to the watches and looped thick leather straps through them. When modified this way, they could wear the deck watches on their thighs or over a flight suit. These pilot's watches were easily identifiable by their large crowns, which also allowed the wearer to set the time with gloves on.
Later, deck watches received their characteristic pilot's watch design. A black dial with yellow numerals became a signifying feature of these timepieces. At the beginning of the 20th century, manufacturers started using the luminous, radioactive material radium. Today, they use the luminescent, non-radioactive material Superluminova. Black dials have some obvious advantages: There's no glare, and together with luminous indices and hands, they are easy to read at twilight and at night.
Most pilot's watches from the early 20th century also featured a stop-seconds mechanism. This allowed the wearer to set the watch to the exact second, which is necessary to navigate accurately. One of the most important German manufacturers of these types of watches was the Glashütte-based company A. Lange & Söhne. During the Second World War, they produced pilot's watches exclusively for the military; today, these watches are very rare. Just as rare are German pilot's chronographs, which were produced by manufacturers such as Tutima and Junghans. The movements powering these watches originally came from Glashütte. Altogether, there are only 300 to 400 watches remaining from the 1930s and 40s. These vintage watches cost upwards of 30,000 euros each.

Historical Highlights

  • Origins tracing back to deck watches used on ships
  • Deck watches with leather straps were the first pilot's watches
  • Cartier Santos: the first pilot's watch in the form of a wristwatch
  • A. Lange & Söhne was one of the most important manufacturers of German pilot's watches

IWC Mark XI: The Cult Pilot's Watch

The IWC Mark XI is a classic pilot's watch. The Swiss manufacturer IWC produced the watch starting at the end of the 1940s. The Mark XI was a smaller version of the Mark X. For around 30 years, IWC delivered the Mark XI to numerous air forces around the world. The simple, hand-winding watch featured no chronograph function. Therefore, it was comparably inexpensive at 350 Swiss francs. Now, it costs between 5,000 and 9,000 euros. The watch had a characteristic black dial with bright luminous numerals and a triangle at 12 o'clock. Still to this day, manufacturers such as Fortis produce pilot's watches with this simple, iconic design.

The Standard for Pilot's Watches: DIN 8330

An official standard for pilot's watches has existed since the beginning of 2016: the German DIN 8330. The watch manufacturer Sinn Spezialuhren initiated the process of developing this standard. The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) decided in the summer of 2013 to create a new standard for pilot's watches based on the Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches (TESTAF). This standard is oriented to meet the challenges of modern aviation. The aerospace engineering department at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences together with Sinn Spezialuhren developed the TESTAF in 2012. According to DIN 8330, pilot's wristwatches must be compatible with other on-board instruments, pose no risk to the aircraft and crew, and must be able to withstand the physical stressors of flight.
DIN 8330 differentiates between visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR). Watches certified according to IFR rules require a stopwatch function and are thus chronographs. Watches certified to VFR have a 12-hour as well as a 60-minute display. The central second hand must feature a mechanism so it can be stopped to the exact second. Furthermore, the standard requires the watch to have a bi-directional rotatable bezel with minute markers and ratcheting. The dial and scale background must be matte black, and the diameter of the dial must not be smaller than 27 mm. The watch has to be easily legible, and thus the hour indices, triangular marker on the bezel, and the hour, minute, and second hands must be filled with luminous material and glow for at least three hours.
The DIN 8330 also requires pilot's watches and their functions to work properly between -15 °C and +55 °C (5 to 131 °F). They have to pass an impact test by surviving a drop from a 1-meter height onto a hardwood floor. They are also tested for waterproofness according to DIN 8310. The watches undergo further tests for precision, strap fittings, and magnetic field resistance, among other things. At the end of the tests, the watch must still function properly and have no signs of external damage.