In our search to find the best pilot watches under $1,000, we came across some future classics boasting outstanding quality and beautiful, thoughtful design. Let’s take a closer look at our favorites and discuss why we think they are an excellent value–an investment you will not come to regret. When compiling our list, we paid close attention to the overall design (does it have a classic look vs. trendy that might go out of style), craftsmanship, quality of the movement, and any extra features that make it an eye-catching choice. In no particular order, may we present our winners!
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Hamilton Aviation Pilot Pioneer Chrono Quartz
Craving a retro-feel in a re-imagined beautifully updated pilot watch? Hamilton’s Khaki Aviation is just that, and more. A sizable (41 mm) brushed stainless steel case is a guaranteed eye-catcher, and we love the vintage-styled hour and minute hands that are very easy to read at a glance. A great, classic choice.
Victorinox Airboss Mechanical
This one is for all the watch lovers who are fascinated by movements, because the Airboss Mechanical from Victorinox has a translucent exhibition case back showing off its Sellita automatic movement. The black dial and brown leather strap is a perfect combination we can never tire of, in this case paired with the red accents–cherry on top. To sum up, a beautiful eye-catching watch with a Swiss made automatic movement, named Airboss?! Sign us up.
Hamilton Khaki Field Murph – The Interstellar Watch
Hamilton Khaki Field Murph 42 mm
Hamilton Khaki Field Murph 38 mm
Okay–we had to include another one from Hamilton. Not just any watch, mind you. This is the watch that saved the world in the movie ‘Interstellar’. The beautiful Hamilton classic that Coop (Matthew McConaughey) left for his daughter before departing on his mission to the stars. The watch was then used as a tool to communicate coordinates in Morse code from another dimension, enabling Murph Cooper (the daughter) to complete an equation and therefore save humanity from complete destruction. As a well-deserved nod to the movie, the word “Eureka” is printed on the seconds hand in Morse code in lacquer. A great watch with an awesome background story? YES please.
Laco Pilot Basic Aachen 42
The Augsburg Olive automatically looks like a vintage classic that has been through some serious flying time. The olive green color gives it the perfect military-inspired retro look. Despite its minimalistic design, the 42 mm case is guaranteed to make a statement, not to mention the beautiful aged bronze-colored bezel that is a perfect compliment to the olive green. Not something you see every day!
Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind GMT Chrono
The Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Chrono, designed with pilots in mind and intended for a life of adventure, soars though the crosswinds in a striking new form, with camouflage patterns. This high-performance item offers combat-chic aesthetics and forceful style, with an inner rotating bezel. The green dial with yellow sub-dials is a very cool option!
If multi-function, easy access, minimalist design but maximum reliability sound like the buzzwords that put you at ease, you have found the one. The Alpina STARTIMER is perfectly designed and crafted for the adventurers due to its AL-525 automatic movement, which provides 38 hours of power reserve. An absolute winner, and a fantastic choice.
Starting out strong with the ‘Morgan’, it was named after Sir Morien Bedford Morgan, the father of Concorde–Britain’s first supersonic passenger aircraft. Moving on to the particulars, this watch has a Faraday soft-iron inner cage, neutralizing the harmful magnetic fields around the movement during flight (learn more about pilot watches by clicking here). While this detail seems obsolete for everyday use, it actually is useful in warding off the constant magnetic interference from phones and laptops that surround us 24/7. The movement in question is a superb Swiss automatic movement, housed in a 39.5 mm case–sits comfortably on all wrist sizes. The matte black dial coupled with the minimalistic, easy-to-read numerals and a beautiful, sturdy leather strap make this watch a 10/10 in our book.