Big Face Watches For Men

Is A Bigger Watch Better?

big pilot watch

Is a bigger watch really a better watch?  Well, of course its not, but in some cases it may look better, and it is “fashionable” at the moment to wear a big face watch.

The whole idea of oversized watches really comes from pilots.  Ok, maybe divers too, but for us, its all about being able to see the watch in poor lighting conditions (a cockpit at night, or 150′ under the surface of the water).  For these applications, having alot of real estate to look at on the face can help tremendously. Continue reading

Cockpit Design

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As I have been flying helicopters for over 20 years, I have spent a great deal of time in cockpits.  I often think about cockpit design, who creates the design, and why.  It is similar to the design of a great pilot watch, in that when it is done right, it is usually simple, easy to read, functional, and all the parts continue to work in the worst conditions (when you need it most). Continue reading

Invicta Aviator Series Men’s Watches

With 32 styles to choose from in the Invicta Aviator Series of Watches, you should be able to find something that suits your taste and style.  Although they do not fit the complete profile of a pilot watch (E6-B Flight computer, multiple time zones, etc..), the Aviator Series is more of a “tribute” to the design.

Invicta is a Hollywood, Florida based watch maker.  After its origins in the mid-1800′s in Switzerland, the mechanical time-piece maker was faced with the crystal movement watch explosion of the 1970′s and was eventually purchased by a U.S. investment group in 1991.

Something of interest to note about Invicta is their charitable work including shipments of free watches to American Soldiers overseas, Childrens hospital and Red Cross donations.

Out of the 32 styles in this series, I have picked 3 that I think best reflect the true aviator style: Continue reading

G-Shock – Advanced features in an affordable watch.

G-Shock Toughness

Casio is a world- renowned watch producing company which entered into wristwatch market in 1974. For the first time Casio introduced digital version of conventional mechanical watch including second, minute, hour, day, month, and digital automatic calendar. As a predominant watch company it launched the shock resistant g-shock watch in 1983. Engineers of this company took a challenge to produce world toughest watch. And they became successful in their campaign to make a radical new type of watch using triple protection design for the parts, model, and case and that is the g-shock watch. Great looking and wonderful functioning of the g-shock watch results in explosive sales in the early 1990’s. Continue reading

Smartwatch for Pilots

Although they have not been designed specifically for pilots, the smartwatch appears to have serious potential for the pilot!

In the same way the ipad has become indespensible for many aviators, the smart watch can offer many similar features, in a much smaller and compact format.  I’m not suggesting you will be reading the Jeppesen map database from your watch, but while acting as a time-piece, the smart-watch could display a wide array of information from your smart phone.

The biggest advantage of the smart watch, and what makes it smart, is its ability to connect to your phone.  Currently only available for Android phones via the Sony MN2SW , this feature can allow apps to display information on your watch.  The possibilities are endless!  Imagine your watch alerting you to an airspace restriction, a new NOTAM, or severe weather along your route.  Very cool.

sony smartwatch

Word is that Apple is not far behind.  Apparently the iwatch is on short final, and will bring us the ability to connect our smart watches to our iphone.  I am looking forward to that.  Media is also reporting that Google, Samsung and LG are also producing Smartwatches, so the race is on to see who can come up with the best gadget.  With all this competition, this is a good thing for the pilot, who hopefully will end up with something useful in the cockpit.

Here’s a cool video that show’s you how car manufacturer’s are getting into the smartwatch race by creating a watch that interfaces with your automobile.  Imagine if aircraft manufacturers started doing this for pilots..

 

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Pulsar Tech-Gear Aviator Watch

Pulsar is aiming directly at the pilot with the Tech-Gear Aviator watch.
With an aviation slide rule bezel, this watch becomes a handy watch for a pilot who would like all the extras found on a watch that is three times the price.

With its sale price on Amazon currently sitting at $119.00, this is a great deal considering it is normally retails at $299.00.  Either way, it is alot of watch for a reasonable price.

This aviators watch comes with several band options, but the rubber band seems to be the only one that is worthwhile.  The slide rule bezel seems readable, and with stainless steel case, and bezel it is also durable.

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Breitling Navitimer

Breitling NavitimerYou can’t really have a website about aviation watches without including Breitling.  Brietling not only manufacture the finest pilots chronographs in the world, they practically invented them.

In  1884, Leon Breitling saw a demand for precision chronographs and timers for industry, sports and scientific use.  By 1923, Breitling had perfected the wrist chronograph to the point that their timers were capable of separating resetting and stop/start functions.  At the time, this was a first, and allowed the user to add multiple times without having to reset the hands.  There were many benefits to this patented function.  One of them was, of course, flight calculations.

By the 1940′s,  Breitling’s reputation as a manufacturer of precision flight chronographs led them to be the choice of Royal Air Force pilots flying the Spitfire and other fighter aircraft.

Enter the Navitimer

In 1952, the Navitimer was introduced to the Breitling family of watches.  Aimed specifically at the aviator, the Navitimer featured a sliding calculating bezel, allowing pilots to make time/speed/distance, and other calculations on his own wristwatch.  Something we take for granted today, but at the time it was a real revelation for pilots. Continue reading

Top 3 Aviator Watch Features

Brietling Aviators WatchIf you are thinking about getting yourself a new aviators watch, there are some things you should consider.  There are many manufacturers that are designing and selling watches that they claim are for “pilots”, when in fact, they are just large face fashion watches.  Some people do buy pilots watches for the look, but at the end of the day, its functionality that we are looking for here.

Top 3 Aviator Watch Features

1. Readability

It sounds simple, but for me, this is the biggest single feature  that I cannot do without.  Some Aviator watches are crammed with so many bezels, digital fields, analog date functions, and time zones that its hard to actually read the time!  Although these other features are critical, they need to be displayed in a sensible way, that does not interfere with the simple task of timekeeping.

In the interests of fashion, or just poor design, some also include either a tiny LED screen to display the time, or very small analog hands.  Again, this should actually be the biggest thing on the watch.  A great example of a highly readable timepiece would be the Torgoen T7 with its large hands and highly contrasting face, or the inexpensive, but very readable Casio G-Shock Aviation.  With both of these, the designers have realized that there are times when all the pilot really needs out 0f his watch is to be able to see it in poor light, or high stress conditions.

2. Flight Computer

best pilot watchAs mentioned above, there are many features available now in so called pilot watches, but many of them just get in the way of it being a good watch.  If you are a flyer, or are thinking of becoming one, one of the most useable features is the flight computer.  Based on the famous E-6B Flight Computer that all pilots become familiar with in basic training, it is basically a sliding rule bezel attached to the outer body of the timepiece which will allow you to perform time/speed/distance calculations.  In addition, you can also use your flight computer to make quick fuel burn and conversion calculations.

This function is so useful to me, that I wouldnt buy a wristwatch without it.

When purchasing a pilots wristwatch with a flight computer, there are some things to look out for.  If it is constructed properly, and not just for fashionable purposes, the E-6B slide rule should work easily, and rotate with minimal force.  I have purchased watches in the past with rotating bezel’s that stop working after immersing it in water, or getting it dirty.

Also, ensure that the numbers on the outside face of the bezel are recessed into the surface.  With most cheaper pilots watches, the numbers are just painted on, and the first time you get a bit of jet fuel on it (which will happen eventually!), you will find the numbers have dissapeared, making your nice new flight computer useless.

Make sure its really a flight computer!  You may notice some watches with fancy numbers all over the sliding bezel.  If you see what looks like a compass rose on the outer bezel, this is not a flight computer!  A flight computer should have fuel, speed, time, and distance indicators on the bezel (inside and outside).

 

3. Time Zones

Time Zone watchAlthough there are other features that some would argue would be more critical (water resistance, titanium, luminecence hands, etc..), I believe the time zone funtion is one of the top 3.

The time zone feature is one that sets a pilots watch apart from other watches.  Most people just dont really have a need to be able to reference the time zone they are in on a daily basis.  Pilots need this.  As a helicopter pilot, I actually don’t use it that often, but an airline pilot would rely on it.

The Other Features

The other features that didnt make the list are important, but just not as critical to the pilot.  One of those that I have found highly useful is water resistance.  OK, most are these days, but if you want to be able to use your aviator watch for everything (swimming, boating, running, etc..), then it needs to be water resistant.  Even better if its rated for diving!

Another great feature is a backlit face, or luminecent hands.  In a dark cockpit, there is nothing worse than having to pull out your iphone to figure out what time it is because you cant read your watch!

What do you think makes the best pilots wristwatch?  Usually if you ask 10 pilots a question, you get 10 different opinions!  Lets hear it.

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How to Become a Helicopter Pilot

As I designed this site to be about aviation watches, I thought some of you may be interested in actually becoming a pilot!

For myself, as a commercial helicopter pilot, I can relate my experiences to you.

I will start off by saying that if you want to know how to become a helicopter pilot, the easiest part is the training itself.  Not that it is easy, but by comparison to trying to get a job as one, its easy.  It took me almost 2 years from having my licence handed to me to getting my first job… Continue reading

SNDA65 Seiko Chronograph

If simplicity is what you’re after, the Seiko SNDA65 is something you should consider.  Although it is lacking the full range of options you would find on many of the best pilots watches on the market today (E6-B flight computer, multiple time zone’s, etc..), the SNDA65 offers a clean, easy to read face, with a large display set in a 40x40mm large, stainless steel case.

This Seiko chronograph is not sold specifically as an aviators watch, but with its black case (titanium carbon plated) and strap, large face, and analog display, it sure makes for a great aviators timepiece.  In fact, it’s primary feature, a 12 hour, 1/20th second chronograph, is one of the most useful.  After all, when all fails, the pilot navigates with his map, a good watch, and his eyeballs.

At 40×40 mm, it looks good on the wrist.  This size also provides alot of real estate for a simple analog display.  This fact is actually what makes this a great watch.  It’s big, and easy to read.  Something that some manufactures are losing sight of when they try to pack too many features in.  This watch isn’t pretending to be anything but a durable, easy to use utility watch, that happens to be a great time piece.

The best news about it is the price. Amazon has it on sale right now for $161.58. Great deal on a watch that is normally $295.00!

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Hamilton X-Copter

Hamilton X CopterBeing a Helicopter Pilot, I’m a bit biased, but I love this watch.  It’s not often that a manufacturer targets one directly at the rotary driver.

In this case, with the Hamilton X-Copter, they have done a beautiful job.  It also has some pretty cool features that not only make it fashionable, but also useful to the aviator. With the durability of a stainless steel case, this watch features a temperature converter, M.T.O.W. calculator, compass bevel, stopwatch, and of course, an analog style chronograph.

Although the X-Copter does provide some interesting functions for the helicopter pilot (mainly the MTOW calculator), the helicopter association lies more in its looks.  One can’t help but notice the large “H” on the face of the watch at the 6 o’clock position, and the cut out rotor shape on the back of the case giving you a clear view of the inner workings of the watch.

The only changes I would make to the Hamilton X-Copter would be to remove the compass bevel and replace it with a flight computer.  This is one of the most useful features any aviators watch could have.  Regardless, I will forgive Hamilton for this little omission and just enjoy the fact that they finally made something just for us Heli pilots!

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Best Pilot Watch Features

A Pilot Watch Should…Tell the Time!

What separates the best pilots watch from  most other watches is function.  In simple terms, it is a tool to help an aviator do a job.  The greatest similarity would be to a divers watch in that it requires certain functions to be useful. Anything else just gets in the way.

One thing we have to do very well is navigate.  Without an accurate time-piece, navigation (without additional instruments) is practically impossible.  For that reason alone, the most important feature of any aviators wristwatch, is its ability to accurately, and clearly display the time. Continue reading

Hamilton Khaki Black Dial Aviator Watch

To put it simply, if you want to know the kind of quality you get with a Hamilton pilot timepiece, just have a look at the Hamilton Khaki.   These are serious wristwatches.  With a stainless steel case and a stainless steel bracelet, this watch will outlast you, and your kids.

Everything you would expect of a Hamilton is here:

  • Durable sapphire crystal
  • Quartz movement
  • Water-resistant to 660 feet (200 M)
  • Luminescent hands and markers

This, however, is not what makes me like this wristwatch.  It has more to do with the simple, classy styling.  No, the Hamilton Khaki doesn’t have an E6-B slide rule, and no, it doesn’t have a digital, multi time zone display, but it looks really good on your wrist!  Fashion-wise, this is one of the best pilot watches for men.

This may not do it for you if you need modern pilot watch features in the cockpit, but it would be nice to have for those evenings when you wish you had a stylish watch to accompany a pretty woman on your arm.

 

 

 

 

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Pilot Watch: Titanium or Stainless Steel?

Most pilots watches are now manufactured with either stainless steel or titanium.  Which, you may ask, is best?

There are several factors to consider here:

Titanium or Stainless steel

Price:  In general a titanium pilot watch
is more expensive

Durability: titanium is more durable than stainless steel, however titanium is more prone to crack under extreme use. Additionally, a stainless steel case watch can be repaired, whereas a titanium case  cannot. Continue reading