Best Pilot Watches For Men

The 20 Best Pilot Watches

Posted in GEAR GUIDES, WATCHES By

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures — or at least, an extraordinary watch. Our list of the best pilot watches captures that sentiment perfectly, with picks that are versatile, durable and highly functional in all kinds of conditions. With the right specifications, your new favorite pilot watch — or watches, plural — can go anywhere you need to go.

The pilot watch — in all of it’s glory — dates back to nearly 1904 when Brazilian-born pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont — a major contributor to aircraft design at the time — commissioned Louis Cartier to design an easy-to-read aviation watch with a large dial, large numbers, and a clean design.

Companies like Bell & Ross take an approach that’s military-inspired and yet global, and plenty of other brands have done up their take on the pilot’s watch in ways that range from simple and effective to durable and hard-wearing to sleek and refined. In short, the best pilot watch for you will capture the versatility and spirit of adventure that today’s guy needs — and that’s why we think you’d do well.

Breitling Chronospace Evo Night Mission

Breitling Chronospace Evo Night Mission

For the sleek and supercharged Chronospace Evo Night Mission, Breitling threw everything it could into one functionally packed, highly durable watch. Sized at a just-right 43mm, the Chronospace Evo Night Mission features the brand’s diver strap for versatility and durability. It also features the advanced SuperQuartz movement, a thermocompensated quartz electronic, fast-action timezone change — a mouthful that means this watch can keep up with speed and ease as you travel from continent to continent (or just across the U.S.). You should expect nothing less than stellar performance from this handsome watch. – Buy It

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military Watch

Bell & Ross WW1-92 Military Watch

With Bell & Ross, you should expect to pay a high price — and expect great quality in return. The WWI-92 Military Watch checks both of those boxes, to say the least; it’s a remarkably handsome and stylish watch that could feasibly never leave your rest in terms of casual style. In fact, it’s got a story to go along with it, too — the design is based off the watches worn by pilots in the 1920s, with large (45mm) case size to boot. The distinctive, crisp dial markings and distressed leather strap offer a study in contrasts — it’s one heck of a visually pleasing watch. – Buy It

IWC Big Pilots Top Gun Watch

IWC Big Pilots Top Gun Watch

IWC fittingly named its Pilot’s Watch “Top Gun” for a reason — it just might be the best of the best (with the investment-level price tag to match). The textured black calfskin strap and tough ceramic case help underscore the utility of this 445.mm diameter watch — just the right amount of rugged and refined for all kinds of travels, whether you find yourself in the cockpit or not. It’s equally sporty and ready for a gourmet dinner the second you set foot in your destination — and you’re definitely going to want to go all kinds of places with this handsome watch. – Buy It

AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II

AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II

AVI-8 offers yet another pleasing alternative to pricier pilot’s watches with its Hawker Harrier II. Featuring a striking dial combination and tough, durable construction, the Hawker Harrier II fittingly draws inspiration from real military timepieces and exploits — that means it’s a suitably rugged option for an overseas excursion or a (much) shorter day trip. AVI-8 also offers up the Hawker Harrier II for an agreeable price point, and you get plenty of combinations to choose from in terms of case color and design. Wear the Hawker Harrier II now with a denim shirt and chinos, and wear it later with a rugged henley and leather boots. – Buy It

Garmin D2 Pilot Watch

Garmin D2 Pilot Watch

Garmin does much more than just make your car’s GPS system — it actually makes perfect sense that the functionally minded tech maker could channel resources into a fully loaded pilot’s watch with a customizable. The D2 Bravo really is something else — it boasts the ability to show aviation weather, plus an adjustable altimeter and connectivity to a worldwide airport database. Add in other bells and whistles — like a heart rate monitor — and you’ve got a watch you can wear without slowing down for 24 hours … and then some. Plus, it doesn’t look half- bad, what with a striking dial design and your choice of three watch straps. – Buy It

Breitling Colt Chronograph Automatic

Breitling Colt Chronograph Automatic

Breitling, to put it succinctly, has done it again. The Colt Chronograph Automatic checks nearly every box one can think of when it comes to a reliable, functional and travel-ready pilot’s watch. The brand says the Colt Chronograph Automatic was “born for action, feats and thrills,” and we’d be hard-pressed to argue that. It’s striking in design, featuring a polished stainless steel case that features a 44mm diameter and 200 meters of water resistance. You can even customize it with your choice of cases and straps — there’s no detail that’s not considered. – Buy It

Hamilton Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono

Hamilton Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono

Hamilton has a heritage that stretches back decades — likely, to the watch your father or grandfather wore. And the Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono takes that heritage and brings it forward into the 21st century, to say the very least. This is a precise, technical and yet beastly watch that looks great and stands out in a crowd — there’s no telling where it’ll take you, because it can do just about anything. It’s probably best suited for adventures abroad, and triple chronograph functionality helps out with that. Start saving now — or else put this watch on your wish list for later. – Buy It

Fortis Cockpit One Chronograph

Fortis Cockpit One Chronograph

The Fortis Cockpit One Chronograph calls to mind one key phrase upon first glance: Precise. Yes indeed, it’s a remarkable watch in its design, with crisp numeral markings, a unique day-date design and updated chronograph placement that builds off last year’s versions of the Day-Date Chronograph from Fortis. If you want a watch that blends sleek looks with streamlined styling potential and travel-worthy functionality, you’ve found it in the Fortis Cockpit One Chronograph. Available with four strap options, there’s no wrong choice with the Cockpit One. Certainly, you can dress it up as easily as you can dress it down. – Buy It

Rolex Air King

Rolex Air King

Rolex is a brand that’s pioneered and perfected the art of watchmaking — the Rolex Air-King wraps that history and heritage into one sleek, timeless and nearly perfect watch. It starts with the 40mm case — sized just right for most wrists. And the rest of the specs on the Air-King are practically flawless, playing off what the brand calls the “aeronautical heritage” of the Rolex Oyster from the 1950s. The black dial and large numerals make for both striking design and easy readability on the road. And that’s another positive about the Rolex Air-King — you can go anywhere with just one watch. – Buy It

Archimede Pilot Chronograph

Archimede Pilot Chronograph

The Archimede Pilot Chronograph achieves what all great watches should set out to achieve — functionality merged with tasteful, striking looks and good design. The Swiss-made automatic movement on the Archimede Pilot Chronograph offers precision and reliability, while the black leather strap and black dial combination (but one offering from the brand) offers excellent style. Between three chronographs and a date window, it also offers at-a-glance updates to keep you on time. What’s more, the refined-yet-functional profile of the Archimede Pilot Chronograph offers you the ability to dress it up with a herringbone blazer this fall or winter, or dress it down with a rugged denim jacket and worn-in leather boots. – Buy It

Nixon Star Wars Imperial Pilot Watch

Nixon Star Wars Imperial Pilot Watch

What better way to channel the high-flying energy of a pilot’s watch than with a Star Wars-themed collaboration that harness distinct, futuristic and durable style? The Star Wars Imperial Pilot Watch is a beastly creation featuring custom caseback art, sleek all-black colorway options and the best complementary accessories possible. That is to say, you can complete your Imperial Pilot Collection with a slick belt and a durable wallet — the whole collection is adventure-ready. Well, not adventure-ready in the true Star Wars sense, but it can at least take on weekend hikes and a round of beers afterward. – Buy It

Jack Mason A102 Aviator Chronograph

Jack Mason A102 Aviator Chronograph

Jack Mason brings a distinctly American sensibility to its watch production. That is to say, the Texas-based brand makes timepieces that are bold, rugged, dashing and quite wearable with casual outfits day after day. The A102 Aviator Chronograph fits into that overlap neatly. With design inspiration drawn from cockpit instrument gauges, this chronograph is sleek and durable, boasting an all-black color scheme that still manages to stand out. It’s quite the steal for under $300, considering the versatility of the black nylon band. Wear it with black denim and a sunfaded pocket tee to a music festival — it can stand up to it. – Buy It

Timex Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chronograph

Timex Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chronograph

Timex has upped its game in a big way in recent years in terms of both handsome designs and the requisite tough quality for which the brand has long been known. The Quartz Fly-Back Chronograph marries the best of these touches quite handsomely, with both durable, rugged style, a functional design and terrific value for the price — at just $120, it’s a downright steal. Given those factors, it should never leave your wrist when you head out on adventures where great style is also called for — in short, every adventure you go on this coming fall. Jeans and an Oxford are your best bet, but it works perfectly. – Buy It

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Wallet

Oris Big Crown ProPilot

The Oris brand carries with it a bold, field-ready history — more than seven decades worth when it comes to the brand’s original pilot watch. It’s fitting, then, that the brand is updating that style in a big way, bringing the Oris story to life with the Big Crown ProPilot. The 47mm case diameter on this watch is downright beastly and certainly ready for plenty of long trips — and the stainless steel case should prove just as durable and rugged as you need. The Big Crown ProPilot does indeed feature large crowns, all the better for maintaining standout functionality in any condition. – Buy It

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane

AVI-8 is back to add another watch to your collection — and not just any watch. The Hawker Hurricane stands apart from other pilot’s watches on this list for a combination of bold, striking style, cool design and plenty of wearability. Even between the eye-catching green dial and green NATO strap, this is a watch that should pair ably with slim tan chinos, brown leather boots and a chambray shirt. What’s more, it should provide excellent value, as the Hawker Hurricane sits on the higher end of the AVI-8 line. If you want a distinctive pilot’s watch, this is absolutely the one to buy. – Buy It

Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk

Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk

Want a watch that gives you the look of a seasoned flyer — but with an entry-level price tag? The Citizen Eco-Drive NightHawk is the watch for you, and it certainly provides all kinds of value for the price breakdown. Clocking in (pun intended) at under $400, it’s got all the right functionality built in. The pilot’s slide rule dial ring is chief among those moving parts, and the stainless steel 42mm case offers heft, durability and unquestionably great style. Able to be worn with a field jacket or a navy blazer, the NightHawk absolutely goes the distance. – Buy It

Alpina Startimer Pilot Quartz

Alpina Startimer Pilot Quartz

Alpina is back to claim another spot in your watch collection, and with considerable style and toughness in mind at that. The grey nylon strap and the black case color team handsomely, calling to mind field watches of days past — and the crisp white numerals offer striking contrast to the rest of this timepiece. It’s an easygoing, simple watcy that, despite its flight-ready functionality, offers simple, subtle style. The Startimer Pilot Quartz is at ease with your favorite polo and dark denim, or a blazer-and-tee combo in the months ahead. – Buy It

Bremont ALT1-P2

Bremont ALT1-P2

If you’ve got money to burn — as in, a considerable amount of money — the Bremont ALT 1-P2 Chronograph is the watch you’re going to want to invest in. With all the hallmarks of a handsome, stylish and dependable luxury watch, the ALT 1-P2 Chronograph boasts a high price tag — but plenty of quality and spades. The hardened stainless steel case ensures maximum durability, while the calfskin leather strap is a premium touch on a very durable case. The functionality of three chronographs ensures you’re connected (the old-fashioned way) wherever you go — and you can absolutely go lots of places with this watch. – Buy It

Armogan Spirit Of St. Louis Watch

Armogan Spirit Of St. Louis Watch

Drawing on clean and classic vintage inspiration, the Spirit of St. Louis Armogan is a strikingly crisp, dressy watch made for those times when you want to channel flying in decades past. With a slim case and a clean white dial paired up with a handsome leather strap, it certainly adds a dressy edge to your adventures abroad or at home. The price is agreeable, the Miyota chronograph movement is exceptionally precise, and the overall package is one that makes for a standout watch for work or play, dressy situations or travel adventures. – Buy It

Orient Defender

Orient Defender

Perhaps known for its more minimally designed, classic dress watches, Orient can make a heck of a field watch, too. Trusted by stylish guys everywhere — including you — the Orient Defender blends the style of a casual leather watch with the reliability and toughness of a rugged field watch. With a 40-hour power reserve and a wearable 42mm case diameter, this watch everything covered, down to the brown leather strap that looks great with your favorite pair of broken-in boots. And between the day, date and 24-hour dial, we’d wager you certainly won’t come close to losing track of the time. – Buy It

Related

Editor's Picks



Get the Collection

Gear for Men. Straight to your inbox every Tuesday.

Black Everyday Carry

Everyday Carry

Your weekend EDC.


Audi Aicon Concept

Electric, autonomous, connected.


Shaving Essentials

Essentials: Shave

Be kind to your face.


Bata Tennis Sneaker

Understated fall footwear.




All Posts