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Tips and trends in pilot's watches

Find the right pilot's watch for your needs

A little over 100 years ago, the pilot's watch was developed. Due to their masculine design, men also perceived their watches as jewelry for their wrists for the first time. As a result, a new market segment developed, which Zeppelin quickly became a pioneer among manufacturers. It was only for military reasons that men wore the watch as a kind of tool, but this was hardly recognized in terms of fashion. In addition, pilot's watches were characterized by very advanced technology and durability despite adverse circumstances. Find out in this article why pilot's watches have long been the pioneer for wristwatches and why they are becoming interesting again today.

Table of contents

What distinguishes a Pilot's Watch

The most distinctive features of a pilot's watch are its robust design, a high-contrast dial and very precise movements. In the everyday life of an aviator, the watch should be able to withstand friction and shocks as well as allow good visibility in bright and dark light. Manufacturers such as Zeppelin, Messerschmitt, Junkers or Citizen had to adapt to some demanding circumstances:

Accordingly, with some models you can see the times of different cities or use a tachymeter to measure speed. Certainly, the latter is also easier to do nowadays and is more for you if you like nostalgia or have higher technical demands as a pilot than digital helpers meet.

The technological standard is particularly high

What does particularly high technological standard mean?

In order to meet the above-mentioned challenges with certainty, there is the Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches (TESTAF). It was designed in 2012 by the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Airbus Helikopters and Sinn Spezialuhren GmbH as well as other external sponsors. An Aachen test method ensures that a pilot's watch can withstand high climatic and kinetic loads and allows the watch wearer to recognize the time as quickly as possible - regardless of the lighting conditions. In 2016, the new DIN 8330 came into force. The basis was formed by TESTAF and, in addition to other manufacturers and Lufthansa Cargo, similar participants were involved in the development of the standard. Just as with diving watches, there is now also a binding standard that can officially distinguish pilot's watches.

New here are the attention of:

Accordingly, special seals and anti-reflective coatings are required in order to be able to build a pilot's watch according to DIN standards. The top priority for this standard is, of course, flight safety. For this purpose, there are additional requirements according to which pilot's watches must not represent any magnetic interference with on-board instruments and avionics. Furthermore, the bracelet must be specially secured so that it is impossible to lose the watch during flight operations and it must be possible to detect it with the help of a night vision device.

What to look for when buying a Pilot's Watch

So you are a pilot, collector, friend of nostalgia or simply someone who appreciates high-quality technology in tool wristwatches? The pilot's watch is then a good choice for you. In particular, due to the special materials, manufacturing processes and tests for ISO DIN 8330, niche products can become very expensive. Therefore, you should be clear about your price expectations in advance. However, which group you belong to, which we mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, is not entirely irrelevant. As a pilot, you will have clear minimum requirements for your product. As a nostalgia fan, however, keep in mind that certain functions such as tachymeters, various times of some cities and the like can fill your watch face a lot. At what point it becomes too much for you and to what extent you can still deal with it, you should try it out live if possible! This is the only way to ensure that your pilot's watch and its applications also fit your requirements.

Pilot's Watch Trends

Old trends are reborn every now and then. But it is not only from fashion cycles and nostalgia that pilot's watches are experiencing a new impetus and will experience particular popularity in the coming years. Can't a digital watch simply replace most functions? This question arises when, for example, speed measurements are discussed. Nowadays, any medium-sized digital device can measure speed, distances and routes as well as reproduce times of any location. To some extent, this is correct. However, by far the absolute majority of these devices do not meet the enormous technical precision that pilot's watches do.
In addition, many of the materials are neither up to the requirements of aviation nor would they be allowed for it. In addition, the robustness offers you a durable product and a true masculine character on the wrist. At Inhorgenta, a trade fair for jewelry and watches, it became clear that the popularity of pilot's watches is growing and that Junkers is particularly well serving this segment. The new standards also help to ensure that the watches are used again among pilots.