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May 11th, 2023

The Best Pilot’s Watches

We all rely on our phones to tell the time in this digital world, but nothing can replace the timeless look of a pilot’s watch. Here at Banks Lyon, we’re proud to offer an extensive range of pilot’s watches. For example, both Breitling and IWC collections boast timeless and stunning timepieces with precision-made designs specifically tailored for the aviation industry.

Within the current market, Breitling and IWC watches are perfectly placed to fit into this niche area. Both collections are perfect for anyone looking to enter the world of luxury watches, as they offer high-end watches at great prices.

Whether you’re a ‘frequent flyer’ traveller, aviation enthusiast, a member of the all-important ground crew, or you’re breaking the sound barrier in a state-of-the-art fighter jet, there’s no denying the variety of benefits that come with a pilot watch. So, let’s delve into some of the best pilot’s watches available at Banks Lyons and what makes these pieces so special.

What Makes a Pilot’s Watch?

Pilot watches are an indispensable tool for pilots. In the past, there have been strict standards and specific requirements applied to the pilot watches issued to members of the air force.

The complexity of a pilot watch has developed in tandem with the advances in aviation technology. While modern aircraft are equipped with the latest in cutting-edge navigation and communication, pilot watches are still an indispensable piece of kit for any pilot, both professional and recreational.

Today, we can reach the highest altitudes at supersonic speeds, but a pilot’s watch is a timeless classic that brings that nostalgic element and an aspirational connection to our endless quest for innovation.

Blue IWC pilot's watch

Pilot’s Watch: Design Features

Pilot’s watches are extremely popular and are appreciated for their utilitarian aesthetics and crystal-clear legibility. Positioned more as statement pieces today, rather than the vital tool they were originally intended to be, pilot’s watches were born from necessity. That necessity influences how the pieces are designed.

Pilot’s watches are much different than standard watches; the main differences are the large, dark dials with contrasting numbers. It is essential for a pilot to easily and instantly tell the time, whether it is night or day, and in all forms of weather conditions as they are flying. Here are some of the design features of pilot’s watches:

  • The long-riveted strap. A strong riveted calf leather strap is used so that a pilot can wear the timepiece on the sleeve of his jacket.
  • GMT indication. Used as a guide when crossing different time zones. This a modern inclusion, demonstrated with an additional hour hand rotating on a 24-hour scale.

Close-up of an IWC Pilots watch

Pilot’s Watch: Functional Features

IWC understand that readability is crucial for pilots, so they designed their watches in such a way that a simple glance tells you everything you need to know. Here are some of the functional features that the IWC pilot’s watches provide:

  • Orientation triangle. There is a triangular index in the 12 O’clock position, allowing the pilot to immediately identify the upright orientation from a mere glance.
  • Flyback chronograph. This is a mechanism that allows for better functionality. Pressing one button to reset instead of 3.
  • Fluted bezel with red marker. This is a small red mark placed on the outer rim of the clockface used to monitor navigation and quick reads of elapsed times.
  • The Onion or Concial Crown. This feature is used to easily adjust or operate the watch.
  • Soft iron cage. A protective case used to eliminate the risk of magnetic fields influencing the timepiece.
  • Slide rule bezel. This feature acts as a mechanical calculator for pilots, allowing them to calculate all types of inflight calculations, including fuel consumption, speed, distance, flight time and unit conversions.
  • Hour angle. Used to aid the aviator in determining the geographical position.

The Best Brands for Pilot’s Watches

One of the most popular collections is the IWC Pilot’s watch, and it’s plain to see. The entire collection is inspired by aviation; it combines high performance and technology with style and precision. All the timepieces that IWC creates have undergone rigorous testing, so you can trust that they’re made to last a generation and more.

Additionally, there is the Breitling Navitimer model of pilot watch. The Breitling collection has a stunning range of contemporary styles that withstand even the most challenging conditions.

Products in the Spotlight

IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XXIf you are looking for a stylish and timeless watch with a design that feels fresh and modern while retaining that vintage appeal, then the IWC pilot’s watches are your perfect match.

IWC has been at the forefront of watchmaking for over 150 years and, during this time, has shaped itself as an industry leader, creating iconic collections of watches time and timeIWC Big Pilots Watch 43 again. IWC watches are built with precision and attention to detail at every stage, meaning you are guaranteed a quality timepiece that has been engineered to complete perfection.

For example, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX (pictured to the left) is available from Banks Lyon for £5,050 or just £42.08 per month on 0% finance. It is a tribute to the legendary Mark 11. The Mark XX reduces the design and technical functionality of a pilot’s watch to its pure essence.

Alternatively, there is the IWC Big Pilots Watch 43 (pictured to the right), available from Banks Lyon for £7,500 or just £62.50 per month on 0% finance. It is a purely functional cockpit instrument design, and the oversized conical crown was inspired by a military observation watch from the 1940s.

Banks Lyon stocks a vast collection of IWC pilot’s watches in a stunning range of contemporary styles that can withstand even the most challenging conditions. The very nature of aviation means that these watches have been designed to be precise, highly technical, and unshakably reliable.

Discover our full collection on our website, or visit our showrooms in Lancaster and Kendal to view our watches in person.

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