A pilot watch is a staple timeless watch that belongs in every gentleman’s collection. It’s the ultimate adventurer’s watch that doubles as a perfect eye-catching everyday companion. So you are seriously considering investing in one of these classics, but where to start? Trying to figure out the reasonable price range for a pilot watch can be daunting, as it depends on lots of factors–and ranges from a few hundred dollars to several tens of thousands. In this thoughtfully edited article, you will find classic pieces that are guaranteed to stand the test of time both in design and quality, all under (or around) $2,000.
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Oris Big Crown Pointer Date – 80th Anniversary Edition
Ready for something special? A warm-toned masterpiece. Oris came out with a green dial version for the 80th anniversary of their Big Crown Pointer Date classic timepiece, which pairs beautifully with the bronze case. Not something you see every day, be ready for compliments when wearing this eye-catcher. This classic is sure to withstand the test of time.
Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph
There are several really cool features on the Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph watch. First of all, this timepiece has a great retro-look. It brings back the early days of aviation with a visual statement that can’t be ignored. With 44 mm, this watch is on the bigger side of things, but that is something we can expect from a pilot timepiece playing with vintage elements.
Hamilton Khaki Field Murph – The Interstellar watch
We had to include this 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.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Murph is part of the Khaki Field collection.
Read our Hamilton brand review.
Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage
We just had to include another great option from Alpina, as they really hit the nail on the head with the retro-inspired designs. This particular piece is an homage to their iconic 1970’s design. The blue dial and the red minute hand combination makes it a true statement piece–toned down by the very reasonable case size (42 mm) which ensures a great fit and comfortable wear for most wrist sizes. As an additional feature, it comes with the GMT inner dial, bringing the coolness factor to the maximum.
Longines Heritage Avigation
Longines has maintained a tight and long-standing relationship with the aviation industry. During the first part of the twentieth century, the brand manufactured a huge number of pilot’s watches and chronographs, on-board equipment, and other navigation devices that assisted the growth of civil and military aviation. Longines is bringing this thrilling history back to life with their “Heritage Aviation” collection of timepieces. This timepiece definitely has an antique feel that guarantees an evergreen classic look. A great choice!
The P51 is a special edition watch, celebrating LIV’s 5 year anniversary. The rose gold and blue combination is not something you’ll see every day, and that’s exactly what makes this an eye-catching choice you won’t regret. With the 46 mm diameter, this watch is definitely a statement piece. Bigger cases usually come with wide straps as well but the LIV P51 comes with a very reasonable 23 mm strap width at the lugs.
Christopher Ward C65 Cranwell
Christopher Ward watches are always on our lists and it’s for a reason..well, several reasons actually. First of all, they are beautifully designed. The first thing that comes to mind is gentlemanly elegance. In addition, this particular watch is a tribute to the golden age of pilot watches, and the Royal Air Force’s heraldic badge is stamped into the backplate. Enough said? At a 41 mm case diameter, you can’t go wrong. Great classic choice.
Stowa Flieger Classic 36
This beauty by Stowa is our most understated and subtly elegant option. Perfect in its simplicity, it lets the movement and craftsmanship speak for itself. Featuring a Swiss automatic movement, and a 36 mm case width, it’s a perfect choice for a gentleman with a smaller wrist size, or for one that simply prefers simple elegance. As a bonus, it is customizable upon order–don’t want the logo or date on your dial? Your choice!