Along with diving watches, pilot watches are some of the most coveted tool timepieces that were built for a specific purpose. While pilots today rely on cutting-edge computers to navigate and calculate, that doesn’t take away from the appeal of a fine aviation-inspired watch. Ranging from less than $1,000 to just under $9,000, here are some of our favorite mechanical pilot watches to sport right now.
Cartier Santos Dumont
When discussing pilot watches, it’s only fair to open with the one that started it all—the Cartier Santos. At the request of aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, Louis Cartier set out to design a timepiece that would allow the pilot to simultaneously keep his hands on the controls while also tracking flight times. Built to be worn on the wrist rather than in one’s pocket as was traditional during the era, the Cartier Santos wristwatch was born in 1904 as the world’s first pilot’s watch.
Over a century later, Cartier continues to manufacture the highly popular Santos timepieces in a range of styles, materials, and sizes. This 18k white gold Cartier Santos Dumont watch is as classic as it gets with its manual-wind movement, iconic square dial and bezel, Roman numerals, sword-shaped hands, and black leather strap.
Retail Price:$18,300 | Your Price:$8,900 | Savings: 51%
Making its debut in 1952, the Breitling Navitimer featured a slide rule bezel to permit pilots to execute complex navigational calculations when flying. Throughout its long history, there have been many different versions of the Navitimer, including manual, automatic, and even quartz models, yet they all retained the characteristic slide rule bezel.
To mark the 125th anniversary of Breitling in 2009, the company launched the special limited edition Breitling Navitimer 125 Anniversary Chronograph with a 43mm case, the Air Racer bracelet, and the automatic Caliber B26 movement. Available in either steel or rose gold, the steel version seen here is limited to only 2009 pieces.
Retail Price: $7,900 | Your Price: $4,495 | Savings: 43%
Bell & Ross Turn Coordinator
Adhering to four design principles—legibility, functionality, reliability, and precision—Bell & Ross watches rely heavily on vintage and modern aviation instrument aesthetics. It’s safe to say that most Bell & Ross watches would look completely at home sitting on an airplane dashboard.
Case in point is the Bell & Ross BR 01-92 Turn Coordinator timepiece, which clearly draws inspiration from the turn coordinator found in aircraft cockpits. The time on the BR 01-92 is indicated via three concentric discs where the outer disc displays the hours, the middle disc indicates the minutes, and the center dial disc has the running seconds. Housing the distinct dial is a 46mm stainless steel square case with a matte black PVD finish and the model is limited to only 999 units.
Retail Price: $6,000 | Your Price: $3,000 | Savings: 50%
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic
With a history that dates back to 1883, Alpina has had plenty of experience building pilot watches. In fact, in the 1920s, Alpina began supplying time instruments to military pilots. And it’s precisely these vintage Alpina military aviation timepieces that serve as inspiration for the contemporary Alpina Startimer Pilot collection.
This particular Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic—limited to 8888 pieces—sports a 44mm stainless steel case, an oversized crown, and a black dial with large Arabic numerals, as well as a date subdial at 6 o’clock. Especially appealing is the in-house Caliber AL-710 powering the watch, which can be admired via the transparent caseback.
Retail Price: $2,950 | Your Price: $1,095 | Savings: 63%
Whether you decide on a dressier version like the Santos, a technical model like the Navitimer, or a vintage tribute like the Startimer, there’s an abundant choice of pilot watch styles to suit a range of tastes and budgets.
In honor of Oktoberfest, we say cheers to German watchmaking! While Swiss-made luxury watches are typically the most popular and coveted, high-end German timepieces are fantastic too. Case in point is German watch brand, Glashütte Original. Hailing from the town of Glashütte—the heart of German watchmaking—Glashütte Original not only makes some of the most beautiful timepieces, but they’re all powered by in-house movements too. Let’s have a closer look at some of the company’s signature luxury watches.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Regulator
The Senator collection is where Glashütte Original honors traditional watchmaking design and techniques. Take for example this Senator Chronometer Regulator timepiece, which is a modern tribute to the classic regulator watches of yesteryear.
Characteristic of a regulator watch, the 42mm 18k white gold Senator Chronometer Regulator houses the hour hand and the minute hand separate from each other. The hour hand sits on a subdial at 12 o’clock along with a day/night indicator, while the minutes are read via the center hand. Furthermore, there’s the small seconds register at 6 o’clock, oversized date at 3 o’clock, and power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock.
The Senator Chronometer Regulator runs on the in-house Caliber 58-04 automatic movement with just under 45 hours of power reserve. Like all Glashütte Original movements, the Caliber 58-04 features the beautifully decorated Glashütte three-quarter plate, which can be admired through the transparent caseback.
Glashütte Original PanoMaticLuna
The Glashütte Original Pano line of watches celebrates contemporary German watchmaking typified by asymmetrical dials and modern technical executions. And the 40mm Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar in 18k rose gold is a glorious interpretation of that philosophy.
To the left of the dial we see a pair of overlapping subsidiary dials where the top indicates the hours and minutes while the bottom has the running seconds. Moving to the top right corner of the dial, the aperture mimicking the shape of the moon displays the moon phase against a starry night. Finally, on the bottom left lies the oversized date window. Although everything sits off-centered, the face of the Glashütte Original PanoMaticLuna maintains balance and is a joy to look at.
Driving the PanoMaticLuna timepiece is the in-house Caliber 90-02 self-winding movement with about 42 hours of power reserve. Again, the intricately finished movement equipped with 58 jewels is on display thanks to the exhibition caseback.
Glashütte Original Sixties Square Chronograph
Along with their fine dress watches, Glashütte Original also boasts some funkier watches within their Vintage collection inspired by the design trends of the sixties and seventies. For instance, the Glashütte Original Sixties Square Chronograph is a great retro take on a chronograph.
As an era that enjoyed geometric forms, squared cushion shaped cases were very popular in the 1960s. The modern 42mm stainless steel Sixties Square Chronograph from Glashütte Original takes that vintage inspired silhouette and equips it with a chronograph function. The pair of pushers flanking the winding crown is used to start, stop, and reset the chronograph function.
On the dial, we see a duo of registers at 3 and 9 o’clock, indicating the running seconds and 30-minute counter, respectively. Also on the dial are unique styled numerals at 6 and 12 along with skeletonized center hands.
Flip the watch around for a view of the Caliber 39-34 automatic chronograph movement beating within, complete with the gold double-G logo on the rotor.
Whether this is your first foray into Germany watchmaking or you’re well versed in the field, Glashütte Original timepieces are a great example of precise German engineering coupled with well-balanced and attractive aesthetics.
Known for their recognizable designs, topnotch timekeeping, and rich heritage, it’s no surprise that Omega is one of the top luxury watch brands in the world. Since the 19th century, this Swiss watchmaking powerhouse has produced some of the most iconic timepieces in horological history. Let’s delve into Omega’s four main collections and highlight some key watches.
Unveiled in 1948 to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary, the Seamaster is Omega’s oldest collection still in production today. The Seamaster is Omega’s line of water-ready watches, from elegant Aqua Terra models suited for cruising on a yacht to robust Planet Ocean diving instruments able to plunge down to incredible depths and plenty in between.
Take for example the Seamaster 300 Omega Master Co-Axial 41MM watch. Although it’s a thoroughly modern dive watch, it takes its design cues from the original 1957 Seamaster 300. With its 41mm watertight case, famous broad-arrow hands, unidirectional rotating bezel, and patina style Super-LumiNova, it’s an Omega that beautifully blends vintage appeal with modern practicality.
On the other end of the spectrum is the completely contemporary Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial GMT Chronograph 44MM watch. An instrument for land, air, and sea, this practical Seamaster offers a ton of functionality. There’s the unidirectional rotating bezel and helium escape valve for diving. Additionally, there’s the chronograph function to time events such as motorsport racing. Finally, there’s the GMT function to keep track of multiple time zones, which is especially useful when traveling.
While the Speedmaster chronograph made its debut in 1957 as part of the Seamaster line, it quickly branched out as its own collection. One of the most sought-after luxury chronographs today, the Speedmaster shot to fame as the first watch to reach the moon as part of the historic lunar landing in 1969. Often referred to as the “Moonwatch,” there are in fact countless versions of the Speedmaster—both moon focused and otherwise.
The Speedmaster Moonwatch Omega Co-Axial Chronograph 44.25MM “Dark Side of the Moon” wholly embraces its historic link to the moon. As its name suggests, this Speedmaster is cloaked in darkness thanks to its black ceramic case, gray dial, and black leather strap. Flip the watch around and you’ll spot the automatic Caliber 9300 movement working away via the sapphire caseback.
Inspired by the original, the Speedmaster ’57 Omega Co-Axial Chronograph flaunts a slew of design details that made the Speedy popular. For instance, the broad arrow center hands, the tachymeter engraved metal bezel, the absence of crown-guards, and the black dial with luminescent details. Plus, perfectly matching the faux-patina is the tan leather strap.
Moving away from Omega’s sports watches, we now take a look at the elegant De Ville dress watch collection. Introduced in the 1960s, today’s De Ville lineup is a varied one for both men and women.
An exceptional De Ville timepiece for ladies is the Ladymatic Omega Co-Axial 34MM boasting an 18k rose gold, chocolate dial and strap, and plenty of diamonds to go around. The De Ville Ladymatic series is an important one for women as these are all fine mechanical timepieces rather than quartz calibers often powering ladies’ watches.
When Omega launched the Constellation in the 1950s, the watch fittingly adopted the Geneva Observatory with eight stars as its symbol. This mark represents Omega’s dominance at observatory trials, which tested chronometers for accuracy and precision. A distinct detail on early Constellation models includes a pie-pan dial with gold accents. In the 1980s, Omega presented a special edition of the Constellation with four claws securing the sapphire crystal—a trait that remains today.
Along with the claws, other hallmarks of current Constellation watches include Roman numerals on the bezel and integrated bracelets. All these elements are clearly present on the Constellation Omega Co-Axial Day-Date 38MM, along with the pair of calendar windows displaying the day and the date.
In terms of style and functionality, Omega offers a fantastic assortment with their four main collections. Whether you prefer the sporty Speedmaster and Seamaster watches or the dressier De Ville and Constellation timepieces, there’s an Omega to suit a range of tastes and budgets.
For many watch enthusiasts, a timepiece collection is not complete without at least one diver. While there’s a large variety of diving watch styles, there are some common details found across all of them. Let’s take a closer look at what features are must-haves on a diver’s watch and some of our favorite ones to sport right now.
The first requirement of a diving watch is a minimum water resistance of 100 meters. However, water resistance is usually much higher, particularly in professional dive pieces. In fact, extreme dive watches typically include a Helium Escape Valve to release built up gasses, therefore preventing the watch from bursting during diving decompression phases.
Also, diving watches must include a feature to track immersion times. The most common one is the unidirectional rotating bezel on the case exterior marked to 60 minutes. But inner bezels or digital displays are sometimes used as well.
The next requirement of a diver is strong legibility underwater provided by bold luminescent details. Finally, whether in rubber, nylon, or metal, the diver’s watch bracelet should be waterproof.
List Price: $1,795.00| Our Price: $645.00 | Savings: 64%
The Alpina Extreme Diver 300 offers up a slew of features at a price that won’t break the bank. Housed within the 44mm stainless steel case is a black dial with large luminescent hands, round lume plots, and an expanded date window.
Fashioned from highly polished aluminum, the unidirectional rotating bezel includes bright orange numerals. Water resistant to 300 meters, powering the Alpina Extreme Diver 300 is an automatic movement with 38 hours of power reserve. Finishing up the watch is a matching steel bracelet.
List Price: $9,800| Our Price: $5,555.00 | Savings: 43%
While the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec is a robust diving instrument, it does also feature an 18k rose gold and ceramic bezel for a touch of luxury. Built with the ability to plunge down to 500 meters, the Patravi Scubatech includes an automatic helium valve. On the white dial sits the luminescent oversized indexes and sword-shaped hands, along with a date window.
The blue color of the first 15 minutes on the bezel matches the black and blue rubber strap perfectly. At the heart of the timepiece is the COSC-certified CFB 1950.1 caliber with a 38-hour power reserve.
List Price: $30,400| Our Price: $15,500.00 | Savings: 49%
For a high-impact luxury diver’s watch, there’s the unmistakable Hublot King Power Oceanographic. Resistant to an incredible 4,000 meters and measuring a gargantuan 48mm, this is a beast of a watch.
Encasing the blue dial is a black carbon fiber case with an oversized cap-protected crown, an additional crown to adjust the inner diver’s bezel, and a helium valve. Driving the watch is the Hublot Caliber HUB1401 with 48 hours of power reserve. Although this Hublot King Power Oceanographic comes with a blue alligator strap, there’s an additional fabric diving strap too.
As these three fine timepieces illustrate, the style of a dive watch can vary dramatically. But at the end of the day, a diver’s watch must stay true to its roots as a utilitarian tool timepiece for underwater exploration.
BOVET 1822 is a Swiss watchmaking House that has been crafting high luxury timepieces for over 195 years. The Bovet brothers designed and crafted extravagant hand-painted pocket watches, exporting these horological works of art to Chinese emperors and Chinese collectors. Their fame established the name BOVET as word that, to this day in China, remains synonymous with timepieces.
Today the brand’s traditional craftsmanship and spirit of true luxury remain BOVET 1822’s calling cards. BOVET 1822 artisans still hand-paint and engrave timepieces in an atelier within BOVET’s Swiss castle, the Château de Môtiers, just outside the famous watchmaking village of Fleurier. BOVET 1822 has demonstrated its role as a steward of historic watchmaking techniques, keeping alive the arts of guilloche enamelwork and hand engraving. The Amadeo® Fleurier 43 is one such example, showcasing BOVET’s exquisite fleurisanne engravings below a translucent layer of blue or black guilloche enamel. These timepieces are available on ShopWorn for 42% off.
BOVET 1822 timepieces are priced between $18,000 and $2.5 million.
Owner Pascal Raffy took over the heritage Swiss watchmaking Maison in the early 2000’s, and since then, he has led the verticalization of the brand’s manufacturing. From the flying tourbillons to the hairsprings of its intricate movements, all components of BOVET 1822’s intricate movements are crafted in-house.
Mr. Raffy also led the development of the House’s patented Amadeo® convertible case system, which allows the wearer to easily transform a BOVET 1822 Amadeo® timepiece from a traditional wristwatch to a pocket watch or table clock. This case’s design form, with its bow and crown at 12 o’clock, harkens back to the distinctive shape of 19th century BOVET 1822 pocket watches. The brand has also gained acclaim for its intricate, skeletonized movements and high complications, such as this BOVET 1822 Dimier Recital 7 Orbis Mundi timepiece in 18 karat rose gold, available on ShopWorn for 43% off.
In recent years, BOVET 1822 has partnered with renowned Italian design firm Pininfarina to design the BOVET by Pininfarina series of automotive-inspired timepieces that includes the BOVET Cambiano Big Date Chronograph and the BOVET Sergio Split Seconds Chronograph, available on ShopWorn for 40% off each.
Little more than 2,000 BOVET 1822 timepieces are produced each year worldwide, with many timepieces offered only in strictly limited editions or as unique pieces. This adherence to the spirit of true luxury, with all the exclusivity and quality that entails, defines BOVET 1822 as the timepiece of choice for discriminating collectors. Shop BOVET 1822 timepieces on ShopWorn, up to 43% off regular retail value.