With origins steeped in aviation lore, the pilot watch has since transcended the cockpit to become a timeless style component, noted as much for its elegance as its durability.
The first pilot watch can be attributed to none other than the iconic Louis Cartier:
Inspired by a friend’s complaint concerning the difficulty in reading one’s pocket watch while piloting a plane, Cartier designed a watch of his own that could be worn on the wrist and read in a glimpse — and the rest, as they say, is history.
The pilot watch has changed very little since Cartier’s initial design, and for good reason. Noted for its wide, comfortable wristband and generous display, the pilot watch is not only ideal for motorists, aviation enthusiasts, and sailors, but the man who moves from the office to higher altitudes at momentary intervals.
Built to stand up against gravitational as well as extreme climate changes, the pilot watch is also resistant to vibrations and centrifugal force, keeping time no matter the height, destination, or circumstances. If ever there was a watch for the gentleman explorer at heart, this pilot timepiece is it.
The pilot watch is a testament to the universal truth that style need not come at the sacrifice of quality and reliability. Cartier certainly knew it, and the modern man who upholds this sentiment would surely make him proud.
Why not indulge your own inner Charles Lindbergh or gift a man of similar stature with a timepiece designed for the true gravity-defying spirit?
Best Aviation Watches for Men
1. Seiko Sna411 Flight Alarm Chronograph
You will be ready for some serious travel expeditions with the Seiko Flight Alarm aviation watch. A coin-edge bezel offers a standout style, and multiple dials and alarms let you set the course for timely arrivals through many time zones. The brushed steel look has a more subtle and polished aesthetic, making an excellent day-into-night watch.
2. Avi 8 Lancaster Bomber
Sporty, streamlined and stylish is how you will feel wearing the masculine AVI-8 Lancaster Bomber men’s aviation watch. The intriguing cockpit design puts you in the pilot’s seat when you wear this timepiece, and the watch is water resistant to 165 feet; it will take you from air to sea in one fell swoop.
3. Citizen Jy8035 04e Navihawk
If superior time accuracy is a requirement in your daily life, the Citizen Navihawk aviation watch is the perfect choice. A hidden push-button closure provides extra security. It is also loaded with additional features to keep you organized and on time as you travel through many time zones.
4. Victorinox Airboss Mach 9
Chic and sophisticated in style, Victorinox Airboss Mach 9 men’s aviation watches are modernized sword-shape hands and an elite exhibition case for a handsome look that is unparalleled in aviation-style timepieces. Not only is is fashionable, it also offers an analog display, Swiss movement, a deployment clasp and an anti-reflective dial making it both functional and stylish.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and you can pay homage to Jack Mason’s roots with the Aviation Chrono GM men’s watch from the collection. With an easy-to-read dial and versatile interchangeable straps, this will quickly become a go-to staple in your watch collection and will work with all of your favorite outfits.
6. Marathon Ww194014 Csar
Divers, military personnel and professional pilots gravitate towards the Marathon Tritium Chronograph watch. It is built to government specifications and designed for extended underwater use with MaraGlo paint, Swiss movement and Tritium tubes. This men’s Marathon aviation watch sets the standard for top-tier timepieces and is often referred to as the CSAR (chronograph search and rescue) watch among industry professionals.
7. Hamilton H76755735 Khaki Aviation
Lovers of classic analog watches will appreciate the clean look of the men’s Hamilton Aviation watch with leather band. Its unique countdown system and traditional calfskin band make it a smart and sophisticated choice for daily use.
8. Hamilton Khaki Aviation X Wind Automatic Chronograph
Perfect for the seasoned pilot who also loves to look good, the Hamilton X-Wind aviation men’s watch is the perfect blend of function and fashion. Its tri-color metallic tones blend with other jewelry pieces, and this timepiece is the first watch to ever feature a drift-angle calculator to record crosswinds.
9. Rolex GMT Master II
Arguably the Rolls Royce of the watch world is the classic Rolex GMT-Master II steel men’s aviation watch. The bidirectional and rotatable bezel put it on the map, and the Cerachrom insert and Oyster three-piece design makes it highly sought after by travelers and businessmen alike.
10. Trintec Aviation Zulu 07 Pro Navigator
Closely resembling the original aircraft clocks, the Trintec ZULU-07 men’s aviation watch is updated with modern features and a lightweight design. The matte black finish and ribbed band offer a sporty look, and the 42-hour power reserve will back you up on long trips.
11. Casio G Shock Gwa 1100 1a3 G Aviation Series
If you love feature-loaded gadgets, you will fall in love with the Casio G-Shock, GWA-1100 Aviation watch. Solar-powered and shock-resistant, this G-Shock men’s watch aids you in your quest to climb mountains and achieve all kinds of new feats with accuracy and precision. With world-time functions, a built-in calendar and a digital compass, this is the only timepiece you will need for your next big adventure.
12. Garmin D2 Charlie Aviator Titanium Edition
An absolute must-have for the flight enthusiast or pilot, the D2 Charlie Aviator men’s aviation watch is loaded with maps and features. Airport frequencies, runway information, weather radar, fitness tracker information and an adjustable altimeter are all built into this unique watch.
13. Seiko Prospex Smoke Dial
If your adventures take you outdoors on sunny days, you will love the the convenience and style offered by the Seiko Prospex aviation watches for men. Multiple dials and compass options will keep you on the right course. The sun’s rays will charge up your timepiece while you navigate, offering you a handy alternative to battery power.
14. Omega 3570 50 00 Speedmaster Professional
From the board room to the cockpit, the men’s Omega Speedmaster Professional aviation watch will see you through the day with supreme style and sophistication. The back engraving on this timepiece pays homage to NASA’s first flight to the moon, and lovers of vintage timepieces will appreciate its manual winding.
15. Bell & Ross Aviation Flight Instruments Br0192 Airspeed
It is all-but-guaranteed to be full speed ahead with the Bell & Ross Aviation Flight Instruments Airspeed aviation watch. It features scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and automatic self-winding movement, which makes it ideal for all-day wear. The best part about this watch is its exclusivity; only 999 were produced making yours a true conversation piece.
16. Bell & Ross WW1 92 Heritage
Paying homage to the first pioneers of flight, the WW1-92 Heritage aviation watch from Bell & Ross offers a subtle sophistication and timeless silhouette. The wire lugs welded to the sides of the watch are eloquently offset by the genuine calfskin strap and domed dial with anti-reflective coating.
17. Breitling Transocean Chronograph Unitime
When only the best will do, the Breitling Transocean Unitime Pilot watch will be your go-to watch for a lifetime. It is a limited-edition timepiece with scratch and glare-resistant properties, and the deployment buckle adds an extra measure of security. The tonal design and matte features give this timeless piece an understated elegance.
18. Hamilton Khaki Aviation X Wind Automatic Chronograph Leather H77736733
The business-casual traveler will appreciate the comfort of the Hamilton H77736733 automatic-style aviation watch for men. Its leather band and small silhouette make it a more subtle, but still sporty, option for travelers. It is a stunning choice for a day-into-night watch.
19. IAWC Pilot Black Dial Automatic GMT Iw395001
Intoxicating and exotic both describe the sleek IWC Pilot GMT aviation watch for men. The steel case is accented by Arabic-number hour markers and handsome chronograph subdials. This is truly a luxurious-looking watch with a rugged and attractive style.
20. Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot Black Dial Olive Green Textile
Lovers of the utilitarian design aesthetic will appreciate the simplicity of the men’s Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot watch. It boasts an analog style with a 38-hour power reserve. The fixed steel and black accents work with the olive green canvas strap in a casual and complementary way.
21. Archimede Pilot 42B
Aviation-styled timepieces have evolved tremendously over time. Any lover of travel or avionics needs a watch that complements their jet-set lifestyle and need for adventure. Striking, sleek and sophisticated, the Pilot 42B watch features hand-wound, Swiss movement for precision. The brown leather strap on this men’s aviation watch adds a striking contrast to the brushed steel case and black center face. You will appreciate the anti-reflective coating on this watch as you make quick glances at the time throughout your day.
22. Avi 8 Aviation
You will be transported to a simpler time and be filled with nostalgia when you wear the AVI-8 men’s aviation watch. Its distinct vintage appeal, dark marine blue face and brushed accents are elegantly offset by chronograph subdials and a unique spinning 1/10-second subdial at 12 o’clock for maximum precision.
22. Bell & Ross Aviation R03 94 S
You have enough to worry about throughout the day; the automatic-self-winding Bell & Ross Aviation R03 94 S men’s aviation watch eliminates the need for batteries or scheduled winding. The round chronograph face adds a striking contrast to the square case, and the super-comfortable rubber strap feels virtually undetectable on your wrist as you run errands once arriving at your destination.
23. Bell & Ross Br01 97 Climb Flight Instruments
Get ready to jet across town sporting the Bell & Ross BR01-97CLIMB aviation pilot watch. It is a limited edition timepiece with genuine Swiss movement for accuracy, and the built-in power reserve indicator is a functional attribute that offers an added boost of style.
24. B Uhr Pilot 55
Reflect your unique minimalist and modern design aesthetic with the sleek look of the B-UHR Pilot 55 aviation watch for men. The oversized steel crown and face will invite many compliments from onlookers, and the silvertone rivets add a touch of a rocker-chic vibe which accentuates the matte black hue perfectly.
25. Citizen Bn5035 02f Altichron Titanium Eco Drive
If the high seas are calling your name, you will want to head out into open waters sporting the Citizen Altichron Eco-Drive Titanium aviation watch. The vivid orange and yellow contrasts are easy to see as you are scuba diving or flying in the cockpit, and the built-in compass will ensure you do not get too far away from dry land.
26. Citizen Jy0000 53e Skyhawk A T Eco Drive
If you need a watch that will act as your own personal assistant and provide you with a plethora of functions at the touch of a button, the Citizen Skyhawk A-T aviation men’s watch will quickly become your new best friend. Incandescent lights, countdown timers and world time are just a few of the standout features of this unique timepiece.
27. Hamilton Khaki Aviation Flight Timer Quartz H64554331
A sleek and modern style to suit the leisure traveler, the Hamilton Aviation Flight Timer men’s watch will accompany you in style to your next destination. Its sapphire crystal composition is the most scratch-resistant material on the market, and it boasts both analog and digital displays.
28. IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Automatic Self Wind
For the elite aviation expert with no budget, the guy’s IWC Big Pilot Calendar aviation watch is a one-of-a-kind treasure. A ceramic bezel, authenticity papers, automatic self-winding and a safety deployment clasp are just a few of the high points of this limited-edition piece.
29. IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Top Gun
Every Maverick will need the men’s IWC Big Pilot Top Gun aviation watch. Loaded with features like luminescent hands and markers, Swiss movement, and scratch-resistant sapphire, this titanium and ceramic timepiece will last a lifetime and invite compliments from all your fellow aviation buddies.
30. Luminox A 6402 F 117 Nighthawk
If you spend a lot of time in stealth mode during your nighttime adventures and excursions, the Luminox Black Ops aviation watch will help you stay incognito. It glows 100 times brighter than other watches, and its durable steel construction can take a tough beating.
31. Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot Chronograph Black Dial Black Textile
If architecture and texture excite you, look to the men’s Oris Big Crown Pro Pilot Chronograph watch to suit your fancy. Telemeter markings along the outer rim and multiple dials add a distinct structural look that adds a striking contrast to the textured strap.