On our quest to find the best pilot watches, we set out to bring you an assortment of brands you may not come across on every corner. On this list you will find the cream of the crop for under $500. We paid special attention to include pieces that are made to last both in design and the quality of the movement, therefore providing excellent value for your dollar. Let’s take a look at our favorites:
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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.
Seiko SNA411 Flight Alarm Chronograph
Seiko is a well-known Japanese watchmaker whose timepieces are coveted by watch collectors. Seiko is a respected watch brand because of its long history, continually expanding technology, and unique appearance.
The SNA411 has a similar design to the Navitimer.
The watch has a spinning slide rule in addition to the 3 subdials – these strong visual features create the resemblance to the Breitling Navitimer. The watch also has Seiko’s Japanese quartz movement and is water resistant to 200 meters. This watch is an excellent option because of the dial details, practical features, and overall design, as well as Seiko technology. Most significantly, this watch is a quarter of the price of the Navitimer.
AVI-8 Classic Chronograph Dark Earth
Interested to see what a jet engine would look like on a wrist? We love a good creative design, and the Classic Chronograph Dark Earth by AVI-8 is just that. Its design is inspired by the Hawker Hunter aircraft. The olive green dial and light green Arabic numerals give a great military feel to the watch, and the way this chronograph’s sub-dials are designed just makes you think you’re looking at plane’s dashboard. We love it!
This pilot watch from Orient has a 42.4 mm case width, and the brushed stainless steel case adds a very classy feel to this timepiece. The fact that it comes with an automatic movement (F6722) makes this watch an outstanding value that cannot be passed up. We love the black and white look, nothing trendy about this design–it is guaranteed to stand the test of time.
Citizen’s Chandler is another military-inspired timepiece. It’s a great combination of a rugged look and comfortable fit. Added features include analog day/date and 12/24-hour time, as well as Citizen’s own Eco-Drive technology – powered by light, you don’t have to worry about a battery!
Dan Henry 1945 WWII Chronograph
The Dan Henry 1945 WWII Pilot Chronograph’s high lume cathedral hands are bringing an element of vintage elegance to this otherwise rugged and tough pilot watch. The 1945 is a wrist-worn cockpit instrument with intricate telemeter, tachymeter, and chronograph features. The brushed steel case, red triangle at 12 o’clock, and sharp coin edge bezel all pay homage to the watches worn by Allied pilots during a daring period of flight. A bold choice!
Ferro AGL 2
The AGL 2 from Ferro and Company is simply put…perfection. A classically designed pilot watch, it’s the whole package: the 42 mm brushed stainless steel case is sure to make a statement, and time keeping won’t be an issue with the Swiss Ronda Quartz movement. True to a good pilot watch, the dial is nice and legible and the crown is easily accessible for adjustments. All that paired with a sturdy leather strap with contrasting stitching and you are ready for your next adventure, be it in the sky or on land.
Jack Mason Avigator
The first thought we had upon laying our eyes on the Avigator by Jack Mason, is that this watch looks expensive. Designed immaculately, the deep blue dial is paired with a polished steel bezel and a brown leather strap. We especially like the legibility of both date and time. As a hidden bonus, the watch has a sculptural caseback featuring aviation elements. Even though it’s a pilot watch, it is water resistant up to 100 meters so you can just let life happen without worry!