Aviation watches are instruments of both time and navigation. Representative of adventure and characterized by precision, these watches tie the necessary tools of the profession to a unique and stylish statement. This year, some of the top watchmakers combined functionality and ease of use in the design of their newest pilot watches.
Bell & Ross’s new BR03 Desert Type watch was specially designed for pilots needing a tool to measure short time intervals. While staying true to the core functions of a pilot watch, including legibility, precision and magnetic- and water-resistance, this particular piece was designed to meet the specifications of air forces operating in warm countries. The dial design, which was inspired by military, is formed by two overlapping inserts: the upper insert is beige, featuring cut-away numerals and indices that reveal the lower, black, photo-luminescent insert. The shape of the hands and the typography of the numerals guarantee ease of reading.
The black case is made of ceramic, a material subject to very high temperatures, acidic conditions, corrosion and erosion to ensure its resistant properties. The black case, paired with the sand colored dial on a beige or black strap, serves the practical purpose of camouflage. Four screws in the corners of the case mimic that of the front-mounting system of on-board instruments in aircraft cockpits. The BR-03 Desert Type is available in three versions; two 42 mm styles, one automatic and one automatic chronograph; the third version is a 39mm quartz watch.
Breitling also unveils its newest timepiece, the Avenger Bandit, inspired by naval aviation. This 45mm watch features a case made of one of the most durable materials on the market, titanium, with a soft satin-brushed finish. The dial is distinguished by its deep grey color with aviation inspired stencil-tipped grey numerals. This stencil-tip style is echoed in the engraved bezel, while the crown and chronograph push pieces feature a special non-slip grip. The titanium case back is adorned with a universal conversion scale for units helpful to those who are flying over oceans. The watch houses a self-winding chronograph movement, Caliber 13, COSC certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute. It also features a unique strap that combines high-tech anthracite military textile fiber and rubber tread for ultimate durability.
The boys over at British brand, Bremont, also have a few new aviation-inspired pieces that include the MBII-WH that coincides with the celebration of the 7,500 lives saved by the British ejection seat technology pioneered by Martin-Baker. The new version, with knurled aluminium bezel, is part of the Martin-Baker line of watches that have been ejected from planes.