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15 Best Pilot Watches for Every Budget


Since their innovative beginnings, the best pilot’s watches have delivered the top tier of legibility, durability, and accuracy to both the military and commercial spheres. In the time since, aviation watches have only improved, adopting a range of new features, functions, and designs. As a result, pilot’s watches remain useful, distinctive, stylish and resilient, even if they’re commonly playing upon watchmaking traditions and codes established decades ago.

Best Pilot Watches at a Glance

Our list of the best pilot watches goes like this.

To put it another way, if you love a quality vintage aesthetic, copious functionality, and steadfast precision, then any of the best pilot watches chosen by our editors below will be right up your alley. Names like IWC, Longines, and OMEGA have long been leaders in this segment, however, we’ve gone the extra step in finding great options for any budget.

Best pilot watches longines avigation bigeye
Longines Avigation BigEye ref. L2.816.4.53.2 | Image: Longines

1. Longines Avigation BigEye

Longines is well known for combining the original beauty of its former products with cutting-edge watchmaking technology. The Heritage models pose a tribute to the pioneering spirit that has inspired Longines designers since the company’s early days. Among the pieces in the Heritage range lies the Aviation BigEye a quintessential piece for every man’s wrist, this is one of the best pilot watches you can buy. This watch features calibre L688 movement and a self-winding mechanical movement that vibrates at an impressive 28’800 vibrations per hour, providing 54 hours of power reserve.

Reference no.: L2.816.4.53.2

Dimension: Ø 41.00 mm
Movement: Automatic calibre L688
Case material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 3 bar
Price: from $4,475 AUD

Shop at Longines Shop at Gregory Jewellers Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches iwc pilots watch chronograph 41 top gun ceratanium
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Ceratanium ref. IW388106 | Image: IWC

2. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Ceratanium

IWC engineered a proprietary material called Ceratanium to generate the unique character and matte black colour of this superlative pilot watch. As the name would suggest, Ceratanium combines the lightweight sturdiness of titanium with the hardness and scratch resistance of ceramic. The piece imparts supersonic jet-like properties as a direct result, with supreme and sturdy performance to match. It’s but one amongst a number of streamlined knockouts from the brand’s ultra-popular TOP GUN line, which takes its name from the same Navy Fighter Weapons School program that inspired the hit movie franchise.

Reference no.: IW388106

Dimension: Ø 41.00 mm
Movement: IWC-manufactured automatic calibre 69385
Case material: Ceratanium
Water resistance: 10 bar
Price: from $18,800 AUD

Shop at IWC Shop at Kennedy Watches Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches omega speedmaster moonwatch professional co axial master chronometer
OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer ref. 310.30.42.50.01.001 | Image: Omega

3. OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer

Who needs a premium pilot watch when you can score an astronaut watch instead? For that, look no further than the mighty OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch, previous generations of which played a role in all six moon landings (hence the name). The Swiss masters at Omega present this particular iteration in signature style, with an asymmetrical dial layout, central chronograph function, anodised aluminium bezel, tachymeter scale, and other robust details.

Reference no.: 310.30.42.50.01.001

Dimension: Ø 42.00 mm
Movement: OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861
Case material: Steel
Water resistance: 5 bar
Price: from $10,400 AUD

Shop at OMEGA Shop at Watches of Mayfair Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches breitling navitimer b01 chronograph 46
Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 ref. AB0137211B1P1 | Image: Breitling

4. Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46

True to its name, the Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph indeed looks like something straight out of an airline cockpit. This aviation watch offers more functionality than you could probably ever ask for, with the busy dial display to show for it. Measuring in at 46mm in diameter and 16.45mm thick, the watch definitely makes its presence known. A portmanteau of the words ‘navigation’ and ‘timer’, the Bo1 is made in Switzerland from polished steel and engineered with a chronometer-certified mechanical calibre built entirely in-house. It has handy sub-dials and a bidirectional rotating bezel for precise time-keeping and features a sapphire crystal case back so you can take in all that impressive movement.

Reference no.: AB0137211B1P1

Dimension: Ø 46.00 mm
Movement: Breitling 01 automatic
Case material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 3 bar
Price: from $12,490 AUD

Shop at Breitling Shop at Gregory Jewellers Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches bremont alt1 p2
Bremont ALT1-P2 | Image: Bremont

5. Bremont ALT1-P2

The Bremont ALT1-P range was first launched in 2007, and it’s been flying high ever since. Every watch in the range balances dependable functionality and vintage design to absolute perfection. The attention to detail is first class, each 43mm case is made of hardened (and patented) Bremont Trip-Tick stainless steel, ensuring the utmost tier of durability. Under the skin is a modified calibre BE-53AE automatic chronometer with a 42 power reserve. This is one of the best pilot-style watches on the market.

Reference no.: ALT1-P2

Dimension: Ø 43.00 mm
Movement: Modified calibre 13 ¼”’ BE-53AE automatic chronometer
Case material: Hardened stainless steel Bremont Trip-Tick construction with scratch-resistant DLC-treated case barrel.
Water resistance: 10 ATM, 100 metres.
Price: from $6,600 AUD

Shop at Bremont Shop at Gregory Jewellers Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches zenith pilot big date flyback
Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback ref. 03.4000.3652/21.I001 | Image: Zenith

6. Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback

Zenith’s enduring Pilot collection receives a modern upgrade in the form of this automatic chronograph in either ceramic or stainless steel. It runs on the latest version of the El Primero 3600 calibre and features a big date window and a new flyback function, amongst other things. Highly legible, ultra-precise, and effortlessly efficient, this is an ideal timepiece for fearless aviators and everyday wearers alike.

Reference no.: 03.4000.3652/21.I001

Dimension: Ø 42.50 mm
Movement: El Primero 3652 automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre
Case material: Steel
Water resistance: 10 ATM, 100 metres.
Price: from $17,300 AUD

Shop at Zenith Shop at The Hour Glass

Best pilot watches patek philippe calatrava pilot travel time 5524g
Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 5524G | Image: Patek Philippe

7. Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524G

Swiss masters Patek Phillippe make some of the finest watches that money can buy, and their Calatrava Pilot Travel Time collection is no exception. Each piece in the range combines aviation-based functionality with a minimalist style to top-shelf perfection. This pilot watch features a dual time zone mechanism with adjoining apertures on the dial, a local date hand, gold numerals with luminescent coating, and a white gold 42mm case. Powering the watch is a mechanical self-winding movement with 294 parts, 29 jewels, a central rotor in 21-karat gold, and all sorts of accuracy-guaranteeing mechanisms. If you can afford one, buy one, and then invite us over to check it out. We’ll do our best not to drool over it.

Reference no.: 5524G

Dimension: Ø 42.00 mm
Movement: Self-winding mechanical movement calibre 26‑330 S C FUS
Case material: White gold
Water resistance: 60 metres
Price: from $83,850.00 AUD

Shop at Patek Philippe Shop at The Hour Glass Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches rolex air king
Rolex Air King ref. 126900 | Image: Rolex

8. Rolex Air King

Whilst arguably best known for their dive and sports watches, Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex is also no stranger to the friendly skies. Their mighty Air King comes dressed in proprietary Oystersteel and boasts a proud history dating back to the 1930s. It’s nothing if not a masterwork of legibility, with large numerals—including a supersized 3, 6, and 9—gracing the black dial. Of course, you knew it was one of the best pilot watches as soon as you saw the name Rolex.

Reference no.: 126900

Dimension: Ø 40.00 mm
Movement: Rolex mechanical self-winding calibre 3230
Case material: Oystersteel
Water resistance: 10 ATM, 100 metres.
Price: from $10,500 AUD

Shop at Rolex Shop at Vintage Watch Co. Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches bell ross br 03 92 heritage
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Heritage | Image: Bell & Ross

9. Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Heritage

French watch company Bell & Ross launched in 1992 but their square cases and retro designs impart a sense of pure timelessness. They began supplying the French Air Force with exemplary pilot watches as early as their founding and have retained a thriving heritage ever since. Speaking of heritage, check out this quintessential model of that very name, which combines the best of the past with the best of the present to create a wearable work of art (and a highly functional one at that).

Reference no.: BR 03-92

Dimension: Ø 42.00 mm
Movement: Automatic mechanical BR-CAL.302.
Case material: Matte black ceramic.
Water resistance: 10 ATM, 100 metres.
Price: from $5,900 AUD

Shop at Bell & Ross Shop at Hardy Brothers Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches oris big crown propilot timer gmt
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Timer GMT ref. 01 748 7756 4064-07 5 22 07LC | Image: Oris

10. Oris Big Crown ProPilot Timer GMT

Big in name and size alike, this Swiss stunner has a lineage dating all the way back to Oris‘ first pilot watch from 1938. It squeezes various functions—including GMT—into a perfectly round case of 44mm, delivering plenty of bang for your buck. For an extra touch of aviation-themed detail, the bezel’s signature coin edge pattern was directly inspired by jet engine design.

Reference no.: 01 748 7756 4064-07 5 22 07LC

Dimension: Ø 44.00 mm
Movement: Automatic winding GMT calibre Oris 748, base SW 220-1
Case material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 10 bar
Price: from $4,000 AUD

Shop at Oris Shop at Starbuy Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches alpina startimer pilot automatic
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic ref. AL-525G3TS6 | Image: Alpina

11. Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic

A lesser know name in the aviation watch game is Alpina, which prides itself on pairing quality with affordability. That brings us to the brand’s range of Startimer Pilot Automatic watches. These pilot-style watches offer striking designs and steadfast builds at a highly competitive price point. Cases measure 44mm in diameter and are manufactured in materials such as titanium, steel, or rose gold. Find the variant that speaks to you, and don’t hesitate to take the plunge. Our pick of the bunch is ref. AL-525G3TS6 in dark grey.

Reference no.: AL-525G3TS6

Dimension: Ø 40.00 mm
Movement: Automatic calibre Alpina AL-525
Case material: Polished titanium and PVD-coated stainless steel in 2 parts.
Water resistance: 10 ATM, 100 metres.
Price: from $1,600 AUD

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Best pilot watches hamilton khaki aviation pioneer mechanical chrono
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pioneer Mechanical Chrono ref. H76409530 | Image: Hamilton

12. Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pioneer Mechanical Chrono

The military vibes are both strong and purposeful on Hamilton’s Pioneer, which carries the torch from 1970s chronographs worn by British Royal Air Force pilots. Hailing from the Khaki Aviation collection, it features a distinctive case design and makes clever use of dots on the streamlined display.

Reference no.: H76409530

Dimension: Ø 40.00 mm
Movement: Automatic calibre H-51-Si
Case material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 10 ATM, 100 metres
Price: from $3,275 AUD

Shop at Hamilton Shop at Time Piece Store Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches blancpain air command
Blancpain Air Command ref. AC01 1130 63A | Image: Blancpain

13. Blancpain Air Command

Blancpain’s modern Air Command resurrected an ultra-rare predecessor and sold out more or less immediately. One look and it’s not hard to see why, as this coveted timepiece delivers a true symphony of function and form. What else would one expect from the legendary watchmaker, which has roots going as far back as 1735?

Reference no.: AC01 1130 63A

Dimension: Ø 42.50 mm
Movement: Automatic calibre F388B
Case material: Steel
Water resistance: 3 bar
Price: from $28,900 AUD

Shop at Blancpain Shop at Watches of Mayfair Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches bulova lunar pilot special edition
Bulova Lunar Pilot Special Edition ref. 96B258 | Image: BULOVA

14. Bulova Lunar Pilot Special Edition

Looking for a great pilot watch at a great price? Bulova has you covered with their Lunar Pilot Special Edition, which is about as classic as they come. It performs a deft balancing act between various features, including three subdials, a stainless steel bezel, and a tachymeter scale. The piece is water-resistant to 50 meters and available with an interchangeable bracelet or straps.

Reference no.: 96B258

Dimension: Ø 45.00 mm
Movement: Quartz
Case material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 5 bar
Price: from $1,100 AUD

Shop at Bulova Shop at Starbuy Shop at Chrono24

Best pilot watches garmin d2 delta px
Garmin D2 Delta PX ref. 010-01989-32 | Image: Garmin

15. Garmin D2 Delta PX

While the best pilot’s watches are usually analog or analog/digital from a style perspective, they aren’t exactly brimming with contemporary functionality. That’s not to say that top aviation watches aren’t tremendously accurate or sturdy, just that they’re quickly outpaced by a quality digital watch when it comes to strict utility. That’s why we’re adding the Garmin D2 Delta PX Watch, it hosts a copious range of intelligent features, such as GPS navigation, smart notifications, flight planning, an altimeter, automatic flight logging and more. Meanwhile, it retains something of an analog aesthetic, which suggests that Garmin is all too aware of the built-in legacy behind any given aviation watch. That makes it one of the best pilot watches in our book.

Reference no.: 010-01989-32

Dimension: Ø 42.00 mm, 47.00 mm, 51.00 mm
Movement: Digital with dynamic colour mapping, NEXRAD weather, airport data, automatic flight logging, etc
Case material: Fibre-reinforced polymer with metal rear cover
Water resistance: 10 ATM, 100 metres
Price: from $1,199 AUD

Shop at Garmin Shop at Flight Store Shop at Cashaway

Alternatives to Pilot Watches

If you are looking for a style unlike the pilot’s watch, there are a number of great options for you to check out. Take a look at all of our guides for watch styles, types and brands below.

How We Chose the Best Pilot Watches

When it comes to choosing our list of the best pilot watches money can buy, we turned to our watch expert Lee Smith and our list of editors to choose their favourites. Man of Many has had the chance to get hands-on with every watch on this list (often thanks to their friends in the industry, but one look at our coverage from Watches & Wonders could tell you that). Man of Many’s lists takes into account three major perspectives to determine the overall rating, quality, price point, and availability. As one of the best watch blogs on the internet they have the knowledge to determine what makes a good pilots watch, but in addition to their own opinions, we’ve also taken into account reviews via industry leaders such as Time and TideHODINKEE, and Worn and Wound.

Pilot Watch FAQs

What watches do pilots wear?

Professional pilots wear watches such as the Garmin D2 Delta. Traditionally, fighter pilots will wear Casio or Longines watches. The more contemporary luxury watches from the likes of IWC and Rolex are usually just for aesthetics today, but they can still serve a purpose if needed.

What is a Pilot's Watch?

A pilot watch is exactly as the name suggests. They are watches designed to be worn by pilots. Sometimes referred to as an aviator style watch, they feature large faces, typically 40m+ that include highly legible, even oversized indices. These watches can also withstand dramatic changes in temperatures and pressure. The back of a pilot's watch is designed to be protected from magnetic fields.

What's the difference between a pilot and dive watch?

Pilot watches are watches for aeronautical use, they typically feature a larger bezel with larger indices. Traditional Diver watches have a higher level of water resistance of at least 10 ATM.

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