The Sky’s The Limit! 5 Iconic Luxury Pilot Watches

Explore the most iconic luxury pilot watches that are available at affordable prices. 

 

Accuracy and precision are two qualities that can literally be the difference between life and death for a pilot.

Choosing the right watch for the job is absolutely essential and that’s why luxury watchmakers have had to rise to the challenge and push the boundaries of innovation.

The first pilot watch was invented by Louis Cartier, who designed it for the aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont in 1904. Advancements in aviation over the last century have simultaneously pushed watch brands to continue to innovate their own technology.

Nowadays, modern aircraft comes with all of the necessary tools to allow the pilot to make flight calculations. This has significantly reduced the need for reliance on pilot watches.

Still, pilot watches maintain the intrigue and the excitement of a pilot’s lifestyle. So, you could still argue that they remain the pilot’s most reliable companion to this day – in the sky and on the ground.

If you’re wondering what kind of watch do pilots wear and what makes a good pilot watch, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we have rounded up some of the most iconic luxury pilots watches that you can add to your collection. 

These timepieces are not just for telling the time. Designed specifically for the high-flyers, these watches tell a whole story on your wrist.

Breitling Navitimer 1959 Edition | 5 Iconic Luxury Pilot Watches

Breitling Navitimer 1959 Edition

It makes all the sense in the world to start our list off with a timepiece from Breitling’s most iconic collection – the Navitimer.

Originally designed in 1952 for pilots and aviation enthusiasts, these watches were intended to help with flight calculations – such as flight times and fuel requirements. Renowned for their reliability and precision, the Navitimer watches have achieved iconic status in the aviation circles.

The Navitimer 1959 edition was introduced by Breitling to celebrate the iconic watch collection, with only 159 pieces made. The watch itself has all of the iconic signature elements of the original Navitimer Ref. 806, including the Breitling inscription paired with an unsigned winged logo.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Manual Winding) 
Material
18ct Rose Gold
Water Resistance
30m
 
Calibre
Breitling B09 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
   
Power Reserve
70 hours
Case Diameter
41mm
   

 

Price
£16,950.00
or $22,850 USD

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch | 5 Iconic Luxury Pilot Watches

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch

If there is one thing that IWC watches are known for, it’s the effortless ability to bring together style and functionality.

It’s no wonder then that the IWC Big Pilot’s watch is such a hit amongst aviators from around the world. The Pilot’s family of watches was designed for precision – down to the exact second.

This watch embodies a cool, calm and collected spirit under any circumstances. It has a 7-day power reserve, adding an extra layer of reliability. Combine that with its soft-iron inner case that offers protection against the earth’s magnetic fields and you have a serious piece of hardware on your wrist.

No wonder it has remained one of the most iconic and popular luxury pilot watches of the last century.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Water Resistance
60m
Calibre
52110 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
 
Power Reserve
168 hours
Case Diameter
46mm
 

 

Price
£11,900.00
or $12,900 USD

Rolex GMT Master II | 5 Iconic Luxury Pilot Watches

Rolex GMT-Master II

The GMT-Master collection is one of Rolex’s finest creations – especially when it comes to luxury pilot watches.

It was initially designed to serve as a navigation instrument for explorers and pilots flying around the globe. The GMT-Master II can tell the time in two different time zones simultaneously, which as you can imagine would have been extremely useful for long-haul flights.

What stands out about this timepiece visually is the two-tone bezel, which serves as a distinction between 12-hour daytime and nighttime hours.

It’s an authentic, yet recognisable design that is guaranteed to attract looks from anyone who happens to catch a glimpse of it on your wrist.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Oystersteel
Water Resistance
100m
 
Calibre
3285 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
   
Power Reserve
70 hours
Case Diameter
40mm
   

 

Price
£7,750.00
or $9,850 USD

Bremont ALT1-ZT/51 | 5 Iconic Luxury Pilot Watches

Bremont ALT1-ZT/51

With its proud aviation history deeply rooted in military tradition – Bremont’s ALT1-ZT/51 is quite the hit amongst military squadrons.

This British-made timepiece is designed for the daring and the brave. The ZT in its name stands for “Zulu Time” – an aviation phrase used as an alternative name for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). It allows the wearer to tell the local time alongside universal time.

The clean watch face is protected by anti-reflective scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, with the hands and hour markers coated in Super-LumiNova. This enables the wearer to be able to tell the time, regardless of whether it’s day or night.

The functionality of the ALT1-ZT/51 is up there with the best and is crafted not only to meet the intended wearer’s expectations – but also to exceed them.

Technical specifications

 

Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel

Water Resistance
100m

Calibre
BE-54AE (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
 
Power Reserve
42 hours
Case Diameter
43mm
 

Price
£4,695.00
or $5,795 USD

IWC Pilot’s Mark XVIII | 5 Iconic Luxury Pilot Watches

IWC Pilot’s Mark XVIII

Through adversity to the stars” – this is the motto that has propelled countless pilots of the Royal Air Force (RAF) to win countless aerial battles.

And the watch that was there through it all with them? Well, that would be the IWC’s Mark XI. Made specifically for the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) it was designed to meet the rigorous standards for military use.

Those who enjoy a bit of aviation history will appreciate this re-imagined classic from a historic lineage of pilot watches – the IWC Pilot’s Mark XVIII.

It features a clean dial with nothing but the essentials. Nothing is unnecessary and everything is designed to be clean and to serve a specific purpose.

This timepiece is intended to match the character traits of its wearer – efficient, clean, precise and gets the job done every time.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Water Resistance
30m
Calibre
35111 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
 
Power Reserve
42 hours
Case Diameter
40mm
 

Price
£4,090.00
or $4,250 USD

Omega Speedmaster Professional | 5 Iconic Luxury Pilot Watches

Omega Speedmaster Professional

It would simply not be fair to write an article about the best luxury pilot watches and not include the ultimate flyers watches – the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch.

There are levels to everything in life and that includes flying. It was essential for a pilot to have a reliable, durable and precise watch to traverse the globe. Now imagine flying to the moon – a journey which took NASA’s Apollo 11 flight crew more than 50 consecutive hours to complete.

The 1969 mission was a success, so clearly NASA made the right decision to make the Omega Speedmaster it’s watch-of-choice. After a rigorous testing process that featured different chronograph watches, the Omega Speedmaster was the timepiece that made the cut. This was due to its impeccable precision and the ability to withstand a variety of atmospheric conditions.

After becoming the first watch on the moon, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch remained a part of all 6 of NASA’s lunar missions.

As far as iconic watches go, this timepiece has secured its place among the stars and has come to represent the spirit of pioneers and explorers.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Manual Winding) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Water Resistance
50m
Calibre
1861 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
 
Power Reserve
42 hours
Case Diameter
42mm
 

Price
£4,260.00
or $5,350 USD

Max Laird | Wristwatches360

Written by Max Laird

Founder of Wristwatches360 & keen watch enthusiast.