With the new era of aviation in the 20th century, a need arose for a specialized watch that was highly accurate, reliable, and technologically advanced. Enter the pilot’s watch, also known as a pilot’s watch. This specialized watch is usually easy to identify; it typically has a sporty aesthetic, flyback, oversized crowns, and built-in protection against the possibilities of gravitational pull and magnetization. In short, these watches are made to fly and have grown alongside the field of aeronautics.
Legendary watchmaker Louis Cartier designed the world’s first pilot’s watch for Alberto Santos-Dumont, an aviation pioneer. Once it was released on the market in 1911 and was acclaimed by the public, other great watchmakers followed suit with their own pilot’s watches, including Omega Speedmaster and Breitling Navitimer. Today, pilot’s watches are more accurate than ever and some models are also quite luxurious. What was once a functionality tool has taken a trendy turn and has become a very popular product. It is not uncommon for pilot watches from top brands to cost several thousand dollars each.
Here are ten of the most expensive pilot’s watches you can buy.
10. Zenith Lady Pilot Type 20 – $ 41,400
The only women’s watch on this list is notable because it is what most of today’s women’s watches are not: technologically advanced and not merely focused on aesthetics. The Zenith Lady Pilot Type 20 proves that extraordinary function and good looks really are possible.
9. IWC Vintage Collection Limited Edition Hand-Wound Pilot – $ 41,600
IWC’s vintage collection pays tribute to some of the most famous timepieces from the company’s past, and the limited edition Hand-Wound Pilot watch is simply stunning. It has a 44mm platinum case, black leather strap, unidirectional rotating bezel and white dial. The hand-wound mechanical movement has a 46-hour power reserve, and the transparent case back allows its user to get a glimpse of the incredible engineering inside.
8. Breitling Transocean Unitime Pilot (RB0510U8-C881 LC) – $ 43,715
Breitling continued its tradition of making watches that are as impressive on the inside as they are on the outside with the Transocean Unitime Pilot. It has a chronograph that displays quarter seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours, as well as a self-winding mechanical movement with 56 jewels and a minimum power reserve of 70 hours. The sapphire glass display protects a deep blue dial and the watch is water resistant to 100 meters.
7. IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition – $ 45,500
The IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition pilot’s watch is bold and incredibly designed. Its black dial is complemented by a black alligator strap, a 46mm 18K rose gold case and a rose gold buckle. This high-tech watch displays a number of functions including small seconds, minutes, hours, day, date, month, and moon phase. It also has a perpetual calendar and an automatic movement. Only 250 pieces of this model were produced.
6. Joe Rodeo JMP18 Master Pilot Diamond Watch – $ 52,000
The Joe Rodeo Master Pilot Diamond Watch has a chronograph and high precision Swiss movement. It is water resistant to 100 meters, has a stainless steel case and contains 26.70 carats of precious diamonds.
5. Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time (5524G-001) – $ 58,750
Patek Philippe’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time watch looks a lot like the brand’s other watches: attractive, superbly designed, and beautifully crafted. However, this model also has the necessary technology to withstand the flight test. Its design takes some of the best elements of the Patek Philippe pilot watches of yesteryear and adds a great touch of modern features, such as a fully adjustable GMT hand, Silinvar Gyromax balance, and Spiromax spring.
4. Breitling Chronomat 44 (JB0110AE): $ 59,750
Breitling’s Chronomat 44 series has earned accolades for its style and excellent functionality, and this iteration of the series shows why it is one of the most sought-after pilot’s watches on the market. A 44mm case made of polished 18K white gold, a diamond-encrusted white gold unidirectional bezel and a sapphire crystal display give this watch a unique look. The black mother-of-pearl dial has diamond-set indexes and hour markers, and a 70-hour power reserve and water resistance of up to 500 meters adds even more …