Best Watches for Pilots: What are the Top Rated Options in 2019?

In a hurry? If you want to know the best pilot watch for the money RIGHT NOW, I highly recommend this Citizen JY8035-04E! It will definitely won’t let you down.

Best Aviation Watches for Pilots – Top 10 Choices From Great Brands

Product imageProduct nameEditor's ratingPrice
citizen JY8035-04ECitizen JY8035-04E4.9 out of 5 starscta button
seiko SNA411Seiko SNA4114.8 out of 5 starscta button
bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph WatchBulova Lunar Pilot Watch4.8 out of 5 starscta button
Citizen AT8020-03LCitizen AT8020-03L4.8 out of 5 starscta button
Timex Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chronograph WatchSeiko SND255P14.7 out of 5 starscta button
Seiko SND255P1Timex TN7004.7 out of 5 starscta button
hamilton H64715535Hamilton H647155354.7 out of 5 starscta button
hamilto H77616533Hamilton H776165334.6 out of 5 starscta button
alpina AL-372B4FBS6Alpina AL-372B4FBS64.6 out of 5 starscta button
Breitling Transocean Unitime4.6 out of 5 starscta button

When looking for the best wristwatches for pilots, an individual wants a timepiece that will make the flying experience easier.

It should have the necessary features, be very accurate, and will handle the high pressure well.

In addition, the watches should have good visibility even in low-light conditions.

And the following ones are the best pilot watches chosen by customers that you should know about.

Citizen JY8035-04E

citizen JY8035-04E

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This watch doesn’t feel too heavy on the hand.

It, however, is very solid and durable thanks to the stainless steel case.

It’s very suitable for both commercial airline pilots and military pilots alike.

It fits nicely on most wrists and doesn’t look too bulky or too small.

Besides, the 48mm case has a smooth finish that doesn’t dig into the skin or make the section sweaty or stuffy.

The digital display is clear for easy viewing.

In fact, many consumers say it’s more user-friendly in comparison to the analog type.

To improve visibility in the dark or low-light situations, the hands have good luminosity.

It’s very flexible and feels nice on the skin courtesy of the polyurethane band.

Pros:

  • Well designed and durable
  • Accurate and easy to use
  • Good quality and clear display

Con:

  • No magnetic compass

Seiko SNA411 Flight Alarm

seiko SNA411

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The Seiko SNA411 features a range of functions to make the pilots’ life easier.

They are all well-placed on the dial and don’t look too cluttered.

The silver tone-hands stand out from the black dial and viewing time is much easier.

In the dark or dim lighting, the hands and markers illuminate thanks to the lume.

It feels sturdy and handles vibrations, impact, regular movements, abrasion, falls and other things relatively well.

The stainless steel case and the Hardlex dial are some of the reasons that give it longevity and reliability.

For a man’s watch, it has a nice diameter of 42mm.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive chronograph
  • Fits nicely on the wrist
  • Versatile and clear views

Con:

  • The bezel may be a little hard to read

Bulova Lunar Pilot Watch

bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph Watch

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This timepiece gets a nod for its sturdy construction and high performance.

The stainless steel case should handle everyday use, exposure to moisture, high pressure, and other things.

And being stainless steel, it doesn’t rust, fade, tarnish, or corrode.

The 43mm diameter fits perfectly in a man’s wrist and doesn’t look too slim or bulky.

The good experience is enhanced by the smooth finish which also doesn’t leave marks or make the skin sticky or sweaty.

Thanks to the sapphire glass, the possibility of the face cracking, shattering, getting scratches, or losing clarity is very minimal.

Also, it is less affected by glare but still has decent visibility in low light.

Pros:

  • It feels very solid and datable
  • High performance and reliable
  • The Accuracy is quite good

Con:

  • The lume is not super bright

Citizen AT-8020-03L

Citizen AT8020-03L

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Pilots are all around, and that’s their job.

So they’ll be constantly dealing with multiple timezones, and we all know how much a hassle it can be to manually reset your watch every time you land.

That’s why this Citizen model is a great watch for pilots.

At the push of a button, you can change the timezone of your watch, and you can choose a timezone from over 26 different cities.

Making things just a bit more convenient.

Aside from that the watch also receives radio signals with atomic time.

So with the Atomic Timekeeping feature on, the watch will adjust itself based on the world’s most accurate time.

Powering all of this is the light-powered Eco-Drive movement, which gets its energy from a solar panel on the dial.

A truly convenient watch, made for people on the go.

Pros:

  • 26 different timezones available
  • 200m of water resistance
  • Atomic timekeeping
  • Solar-powered movement

Cons:

  • The design might be too loud for some

Seiko SND255P1

Seiko SND255P1

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This is another piece that has a more classic pilot’s watch look.

It has a deep blue dial, which contrasts the silver-toned stainless steel case and bracelet, while also serving as a great background to the white details.

The watch has a slide-rule bezel and a compass scale, which can be very useful when doing calculations, as well as a three-dial chronograph.

The watch runs on Japanese quartz, so accuracy should really be no question.

On top of that, the watch has a date window and a hundred meters of water resistance.

So all your timekeeping needs are covered with this watch.

For those who need a great pilot’s piece, you can wear every day, Seiko has you covered with this model.

Pros:

  • Japanese quartz movement
  • Slide rule bezel with compass scale
  • Three dial chronograph
  • 100m of water resistance

Cons:

  • Only has a Hardlex crystal

Timex TN700

Timex Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chronograph Watch

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Sometimes, pilot’s watches tend to be overloaded with sub-dials that make reading the watch very difficult.

Timex recognizes that and simplified the dial on this awesome-looking pilot watch.

Instead of complex dial and sub-dial layouts, the watch uses curved semi-circles on the dial that either display the chronograph or a second timezone.

It uses the classic fly-back chronograph that was designed for easy use and inspired by aviators.

The chronograph is incredibly easy to use, and when you aren’t using it, one of the “sub-dials” displays the hours from a second timezone.

So if you’re flying out for a couple of days, you can display your “home time” right on your watch.

Or if you’re a student pilot and still in your training, I highly recommend this user-friendly model.

Oh, and it’s pretty cheap compared to other options here, also.

Pros:

  • Easy to read dial
  • Simple and minimalist design
  • Displays two timezones
  • Fly-back chronograph

Cons:

  • Only has a mineral crystal

Hamilton H64715535

hamilton H64715535

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With all the technology available to us today, sometimes all those complications associated with a pilot watch aren’t necessary.

Sometimes all you need is a simple and stylish piece to wear while on the job.

That’s exactly what this Hamilton timepiece is.

It doesn’t even have a chronograph, so if you’re looking for a function packed watch, you’re barking at the wrong tree.

It has a very simple gray on black dial design with a date window.

It has a nice vintage look, and reading the time is a breeze.

It also has a Swiss Automatic movement, so you can expect the watch to keep ticking as long as you wear it regularly.

Aside from that, there isn’t much more to discuss with this watch.

So for those who want a minimalist and straight-to-the-point watch to wear on flights, you might have just found it with this Hamilton piece.

Pros:

  • Simple, laid back design
  • Swiss-made automatic movement
  • Date window
  • 200m water resistance

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a lot of complications

Hamilton H77616533

hamilto H77616533

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While the last Hamilton model was a toned-down simplistic timepiece, this one is more faithful to the classic pilot watch.

It has a three-sub dial chronograph, a unidirectional bezel, and a bunch of conversion numbers on the outer dial to make calculations much easier.

While some of these calculations may be easier to do on more modern technologies, it’s still a nice addition that gives the watch a professional look.

It also has a Swiss automatic movement, so you don’t really have to worry about manual rewinding as long as you wear the watch regularly.

On top of that is has a strong synthetic sapphire crystal and a brown leather strap that matches the black dial very well.

For those who want a more “classic” pilot’s watch should definitely check out this watch.

Pros:

  • Dial packed with functions
  • The large case looks great on any wrist
  • Synthetic sapphire crystal
  • Chronograph and day/date window

Cons:

  • Only has 50m of water resistance

Alpina AL-372B4FBS6

alpina AL-372B4FBS6

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For those who want a modern and minimalist look for their watch, this Alpina piece is worth your attention.

It has a very minimalist look, with a simple black and white dial with three sub-dials for the chronograph.

The dial has large markers to make reading the time easier for you, and the chronograph is easily controlled by the two buttons above the crown.

The watch also has a nylon strap that’s very comfortable, especially when worn for extended periods of time.

It’s also water-resistant up to a hundred meters, so it can handle multiple environments with no issues.

Powering the watch is a Japanese quartz movement that only loses or gains a couple of seconds a month.

So as long as your battery’s working fine, this watch will be a great tool for day-to-day use.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to read dial
  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Chronograph
  • Japanese quartz movement

Cons:

  • The strap takes some getting used to

Breitling Transocean Unitime

breitling AB0510U6-BC26-152A

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If you’re looking for a quality luxury pilot’s watch with a luxurious look, you may have just found it.

This might probably be the best Breitling watch for pilots out there.

It features a large, silver-toned stainless steel case and a mesh bracelet.

This looks very classy on its own and is supplemented even more by the black dial.

On the watch are all the timezones available at the press of the button, a function very useful for people who need to fly around a lot.

The watch also has a chronograph and is powered by a Swiss Automatic movement.

So as long as you wear this watch regularly it’ll keep ticking, which is especially important in a job where time is of the essence.

It also has 100m of water resistance to add to its durability.

A highly functional watch in a very stylish package.

Pros:

  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Swiss-made automatic movement
  • Classy design
  • Chronograph

Cons:

  • Only has 100m of water resistance

What to Consider When Buying Pilot Watches

best watches for pilots

Weight

Flying can be strenuous at times.

The last thing a pilot wants is to deal with a watch that seems to bog/ weigh him down.

A good timepiece will be relatively large for easier viewing of the many functions.

However, it will be moderately light.

To achieve this, manufacturers try it use lightweight material.

Another approach is to make it thinner.

For instance, you will find most men watches having a diameter of between 40-44mm.

However, they will feel lighter than normal watches.

Visibility

Lighting in a cockpit is normally not as bright as in a normal setting.

The darker settings allow the aviator to see the controls and consoles better just like in a car.

In such a situation, it is essential for the watch to be readable even in a low-light situation.

A good choice will have shiny or bright hands, and markers while the background or dial will be dark.

The higher the contrast the more visible the functions.

A good example is white or silver-tone hands against a matte black dial/ background.

Incorporating glowing lume on the sticks and markers is also a step in the right direction.

Durability

The pressure inside a cockpit or the airplane, in general, is higher than normal.

This due to the pressurized nature.

A weak watch is likely to develop leaks, crumble under pressure, and lose its effectiveness.

A good watch for pilots will handle extreme pressure well.

The case will be made of tough materials such as stainless steel.

The crystal will comprise hardwearing and shatterproof material such as sapphire.

The seams around the crystal will be airtight to prevent entries of moisture.

Just like the case and mineral, the strap/band, bracelet and buckle are also made of tough materials.

Accuracy and Precision

A pilot needs to have accurate information about the position, time, flight path, changing time zones, and other things.

It’s essential for a watch to be highly accurate to prevent the chances of miscalculation.

Top watches have fine clocks that lose only a few seconds in a month.

The frequency will be high and this improves precision.

Japanese and Swiss movements are the most common.

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About

My name is Rob, and I'm a watch enthusiast by heart. I love writing about impressive watches that could make people stand out. And I'm also an amateur collector who loves to share his collection with everyone. Feel free to connect with me whenever you want.