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Fly Boy Friday: Affordable Pilot’s Watches

by Jonathan Fairfield
17 May, 2013
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About the author

Jonathan lives and works in Thailand as a writer and English Teacher. He is fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to watches, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and writes for a blog on the subject.

Fly Boy Friday Pilot's watches

Fly Boy Friday is a series dedicated to the ever popular pilot’s watch. Having previously featured pilot’s watches from IWC and Longines, this week we take a look at some of the more affordable aviation style watches around at  the moment.

If navigating the rush hour traffic and wearing a pair of aviator sunglasses is about as close as you’ll ever get to being an actual pilot then for most of us it can be hard to justify spending thousands on a top of the range pilot’s watch.

With this in mind, here is a selection of excellent and affordable pilot’s watches that are also great for everyday wear. Despite maybe slipping under the radar, as it were, our selection of affordable pilot’s watches will even stand up well against their top of the range counterparts.

Glycine Airman Base 22

Launched in 2010, the Glycine Airman Base 22 (ref no 3887) is an updated version of the original Glycine Airman watch that dates back to the 1960’s and as far as pilot’s watches go, the Airman Base 22 includes just about everything you could ever need.

Powered by an ETA 2893-2 automatic movement, the watch is crafted from stainless steel and includes a 42mm diameter case, with a sapphire crystal. The dial features a 24hr time display with two additional time zones which are both functional and easily legible. Water resistant to 200m, the Airman Base 22 watch comes with either a metal bracelet or leather strap. From approximately $1400 or £900.

Steinhart Aviation GMT Automatic

If you’re after affordable Swiss made pilot, diver or military style watches then look no further than Steinhart Timepieces. Despite only being around for less than ten years, the brand owned by Gunter Steinhart, make some excellent watches, all of which are very affordable.

The beautiful Steinhart GMT Automatic watch (ref A0703) is taken from the brand’s Aviation collection and is inspired by the on on-board instruments found in the cockpit of an airplane.  The dial has been constructed over two separate levels to help improve readability, whilst the hands are reminiscent of those found on an altimeter. The watch is powered by the same ETA 2893-2 movement found in the Gycine Airman Base 22. The stainless steel case measures 44mm in diameter.

The original production batch of the Steinhart GMT Automatic has sold out, with more expected to be available from June 2013. From 460 or £390 (approx).

Hamilton Khaki Aviation QNE Automatic


American watch brand Hamilton has a rich history when it comes to aviation, which can be traced back to 1919. This was the year when Hamilton produced a watch that accompanied the very first American Air Mail flight from Washington to New York.

We featured the Hamilton Khaki X-Patrol watch in 2012 and the rest of the range it well worth exploring.

The watch pictured above is the Hamilton Khaki Aviation QNE Automatic which features a 44mm stainless steel case with sapphire crystal. The dial integrates a pressure altitude measurement scale, as well as a small seconds and date window which is found at 6 o’clock. The watch includes a Swiss calibre ETA 2895-2 movement and is water resistant to 100m.

The Hamilton Khaki Aviation QNE comes in a presentation box that has been engraved with the entire Zulu alphabet so there is no chance of any miscommunication when contacting the control tower, or anyone else for that matter. From $850 or £545 (approx).

Aeromatic 1912 Military Aviator Observer Chronograph

This military style aviator chronograph is one of the most affordable watches we’ve featured on Click Tempus. If you’re not familiar with Aeromatic 1912, the brand is a relatively young watch manufacturer that is based in Frankfurt, Germany.

The Aeromatic 1912 Military Aviator Observer (ref A1229) is a 6 hand chrono watch that displays central seconds, with a 24hr sub dial at 3 o’clock, small second indicator at 6 o’clock and 60 minute timer at the position of 9 o’clock. The outer part of the dial also includes a large minutes scale, with a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. The stainless steel case measures 40.3mm. Hand and digits include a super luminova coating.

Inside you’ll find a Japanese Miyota movement, which whilst it might not set the world alight; you certainly can’t certainly fault for its reliability. As for the price – a very affordable $149 or £95.

Mougin & Piquard J. Crew La Grande Seconde Watch


Mougin & Piquard is another one of those watch makers of which you many never heard but which produce some pretty impressive watches.

Take for example this J. Crew La Grande Seconde. Inspired by the pilot watches of the 1930’s, the watch displays passing minutes on the outer dial, with the inner dial tracking hours.

Designed for easy navigation with its smooth curved edges, the watch measures 41mm in diameter and is made from 316L polished stainless steel.

Inside you’ll find a Swiss made quartz movement. Also available with a black coloured dial. Price – $425.00.

Sinn 104 St Sa Pilot’s Watch

The classic styled Pilot’s watch from Sinn includes a self winding mechanical SW220-1 movement, decorated with 26 jewels and which beats at 28,800 vph. The case measures 41mm in diameter, is made from stainless steel and includes a sapphire crystal on the front and back with anti reflective coating on both sides. The watch is also pressure resistant up to a water depth of 200m.

The watch displays hours, minutes and seconds with a date and day of the week display found at 3 o’clock. All hour markers and indices include a luminescent coating. An excellent pilot’s watch for just under $1,000.

Shinola Runwell Watch

The Runwell watch is available in either a 40mm or 47mm stainless steel case and is powered by an Argonite 1069 movement, which is hand assembled at the brand’s head quarters in Detroit. Originally a limited edition of 1000 pieces, the first batch of Runwell watches sold out only a short time after it was launched, with the brand expecting to release some new timepieces from July 2013.

The watch also includes a brown and dark mahogany leather strap and double curve sapphire. Water resistant to 5ATM. $550.00

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Jonathan Fairfield | Website

Jonathan lives and works in Thailand as a writer and English Teacher. He is fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to watches, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and writes for a blog on the subject.

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