Pilots watches are wrist watches, that have been developed especially for pilots since the beginning of the 20th century.
Cartier developed the very first designated pilots watch fort the Brazilian air pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont in 1906, which was carried on the wrist. The Idea was quickly taken over by other manufacturers for those magnificent men in their flying machines…
Pilots watches have always been built with special care taken on the precision of the time piece, since originally lives actually depended on them. They are also tools of pilots, so they are commonly built like tools: sturdy, robust and very shock resistant. These aviator’s watches usually are made with contrasting face and dials (often white before a black background) and always display minutes and seconds exactly. You will be able to spot a pilots watch at the first glance, because of the triangle most aviator’s watches have above or instead of the number twelve. Numbers, the triangle and the dials are traditionally coated with a luminescent paint to allow the pilot to read the watch at night without having to put a light on and ruin his night-vision. Most pilots’ watches still have a big winding crown. This comes from the days, where the watches still had to be wound up by hand regularly, and the crowns we’re made extra big so that a pilot could operate them with their flying gloves on.
Later on some aviators’ watches were fitted with a gyrating face, to allow astronomical navigation. As it often happens, military requirements pushed the development further. Anti magnetic pilots’ watches we’re developed, as well as watches resistant to extreme climatic and kinetic influences. These watches we’re so well made, that they stayed superior to modern quartz watches for a very long time.
You will find a wide variety of impressive pilots’ watches on watches.uhrzeit.org