All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby koimaster » December 19th 2016, 5:39pm

All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Everyone knows the history of flight. The Wright brothers made the first successful flight in an aeroplane at Kitty Hawk in 1903.

Right?

Well, yes. But the Wright brothers used a launching rail to get their aeroplane off the ground. According to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the world governing body for air sports, the criteria for the invention of the plane included the following specification: ‘the machine should be able to take off from a designated area by its own means with a man on board’. Also that the ‘machine should carry on board the necessary source of energy’. Now, if you’re shooting your plane into the sky by means of a catapult, it is neither taking off by its own means nor, technically, flying under its own steam.

At least that’s what they say in Brazil. Because one of Brazil’s most beloved sons, Alberto Santos-Dumont, a pioneer aviator and inventor of the world’s first production aircraft, was recorded by the FAI as the flier of a heavier-than-air craft in October 1906. (The Wright brothers’ previous flights, including their massive excursions in the Wright Flyer III during 1905, were not recognised by the FAI). And so in Brazil, if the subject comes up, you’ll be told that Santos-Dumont was the first true flyer and the inventor of the first true plane.

What he was for sure, was the wearer of one of the first wristwatches, and the first-ever aviation watch. Santos-Dumont was a good friend of Louis Cartier, and the luxury watch designer was more than happy to create a cockpit-ready timepiece (i.e. one you could consult without taking your hands off the steering yoke) for his famous pal. In honour of the flyer, Cartier called this timepiece the ‘Santos de Cartier.’ It is not the only aviation watch of the period, nor is it necessarily the best. But it was the first, and that’s why it’s first on my list of the best aviation watches—which are presented not in order of quality, but roughly in order of history.


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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » December 20th 2016, 3:20pm

Well, the list sums it up nicely. Although I'd rather see it feature the Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle instead of the Richard Mille- the Lindbergh has way more historical significance to it. Or at least the Weems- although it's pretty far from the original Weems watches.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby conjurer » December 20th 2016, 3:42pm

Ain't no way that some greasy-assed Brazilian was the first man to fly. Nope. Fuck that shit.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby koimaster » December 20th 2016, 3:43pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:Well, the list sums it up nicely. Although I'd rather see it feature the Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle instead of the Richard Mille- the Lindbergh has way more historical significance to it. Or at least the Weems- although it's pretty far from the original Weems watches.


I would agree with that comment.

https://shop.hodinkee.com/blogs/journal ... or-s-watch

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/the-h ... ngle-watch
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby Thunder1 » December 20th 2016, 4:45pm

And the Bulova Type A-15 missed the list?...damn!!! :o
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby bobbee » December 21st 2016, 2:01am

koimaster wrote:
MKTheVintageBloke wrote:Well, the list sums it up nicely. Although I'd rather see it feature the Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle instead of the Richard Mille- the Lindbergh has way more historical significance to it. Or at least the Weems- although it's pretty far from the original Weems watches.


I would agree with that comment.

https://shop.hodinkee.com/blogs/journal ... or-s-watch

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/the-h ... ngle-watch



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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » December 21st 2016, 10:28am

bobbee wrote:
koimaster wrote:
MKTheVintageBloke wrote:Well, the list sums it up nicely. Although I'd rather see it feature the Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle instead of the Richard Mille- the Lindbergh has way more historical significance to it. Or at least the Weems- although it's pretty far from the original Weems watches.


I would agree with that comment.

https://shop.hodinkee.com/blogs/journal ... or-s-watch

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/the-h ... ngle-watch



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Long story short, yes, my venom glands start pumping the poison to the fangs, when I see anything Hoodwinkee. Not to mention that only yesterday I caught them on selling an absolutely fucking dreadful redial (a Vacheron Constantin)- and their incompetence will cost some clueless buyer 6400 bucks.

I don't mind their reviews of contemporary watches, or indeed when once in a while they publish something useful (exempli gratia:they did have a good article covering the rattrapante complication not that long ago, I also enjoyed them saying a few words of truth about the Voutilainen smartphone), but their hype for vintage watches is particularly thick, usually badly founded, uses long shots as dogmas, and is seasoned with poorly done research and often also a demonstration of a lack of vintage watch identification/authentication skills.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby Lost » December 21st 2016, 1:55pm

That RM 039 is a bit pricey!

AFAIK, all aviation watches should have a GMT function.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » December 21st 2016, 3:09pm

Lost wrote:That RM 039 is a bit pricey!

AFAIK, all aviation watches should have a GMT function.


No, not all. Omega 6B/159 and 6B/542, Mark XI watches issued to the RAF, the original Flieger/Beobachtungsuhr watches- none of them were GMTs.

What constitutes a pilot's watch is ususually the design of it- a rugged case, an extremely legible dial and hands. It's usually fairly close to a field watch in terms of design. While a GMT complication is useful (Glycine Airman, Rolex GMT-Master), it is by no means mandatory for a watch to have it in order to be considered a pilot's watch.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby jaw » December 21st 2016, 3:21pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:
Lost wrote:That RM 039 is a bit pricey!

AFAIK, all aviation watches should have a GMT function.


No, not all. Omega 6B/159 and 6B/542, Mark XI watches issued to the RAF, the original Flieger/Beobachtungsuhr watches- none of them were GMTs.

What constitutes a pilot's watch is ususually the design of it- a rugged case, an extremely legible dial and hands. It's usually fairly close to a field watch in terms of design. While a GMT complication is useful (Glycine Airman, Rolex GMT-Master), it is by no means mandatory for a watch to have it in order to be considered a pilot's watch.



+ Larger Size
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby eddiea » December 21st 2016, 3:44pm

I own and have owned a few on that list, they are other lists out there but, to me out all the Pilots I have (and had) this is the quitesential Pilot ....bar none, with the Cartier a very close second.....
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » December 21st 2016, 4:07pm

jaw wrote:+ Larger Size

In some cases, yes. Sometimes, but by no means always. The Glycine Airman was 36mm, the Mark XI wasn't big either.

Even the Zenith Extra Special, the inspiration for the current Zenith Pilot collection, wasn't big (it had a big crown alright, for the crown to be easily operated while wearing gloves, but I don't think it had a big case diameter.)

The Beobachtungsuhr was absolutely colossal at 55mm, but then again, it was meant to be worn over a jacket sleeve, not directly on the wrist.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby jaw » December 21st 2016, 6:14pm

Never quite satisfied my Flieger itch except for this Debaufre for which the bloom has since faded (still have it but too large now). Wanted a smaller sterile Stowa or Laco but alas there are just too many watches out there to be had.

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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » December 21st 2016, 7:35pm

With that big crown, that's got to be one of the cooler Unitas-based fliegers I've seen. Nice!
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby jaw » December 21st 2016, 8:08pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:With that big crown, that's got to be one of the cooler Unitas-based fliegers I've seen. Nice!


Wanna buy a watch? ;)
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby iwasbanned » December 21st 2016, 8:12pm

These to have scratched my itch. I don't see buying more.

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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby iwasbanned » December 21st 2016, 8:42pm

That RM is a bit tough to read
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby jason_recliner » December 21st 2016, 8:49pm

bobbee wrote:
koimaster wrote:
MKTheVintageBloke wrote:Well, the list sums it up nicely. Although I'd rather see it feature the Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle instead of the Richard Mille- the Lindbergh has way more historical significance to it. Or at least the Weems- although it's pretty far from the original Weems watches.


I would agree with that comment.

https://shop.hodinkee.com/blogs/journal ... or-s-watch

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/the-h ... ngle-watch



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Awesome. Somebody else who can't stand hodonkee.

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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby TemerityB » December 21st 2016, 10:06pm

Damn, banned; those pieces are just stellar. The IWC ... cripes, there are no words.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby bobbee » December 22nd 2016, 2:52am

With watches for use in the air, size was not always everything.
Just look at the famous Type A-11 of WW2, all were 32mm irrespective of the manufacturer. This size remained for the mid-fifties and into the sixties for the Type A-17 too.
As others say, the original 1930's Weems were small too.
Here are some vintage articles/ads showing some popular models.

1919 Depollier, these are around 36mm. in size.


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1919 chronographs were around 32-36mm.



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1933 Hour-Angle. Larger, over 40mm.




Image



1934 GM Lane "Aero", around 36mm.




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1937 Weems and Hour-Angle.



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1937 Weems .




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1938 G&M Lane "Aeroplane" watch, around 26mm. wide. Two ads from same year.



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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby eddiea » December 22nd 2016, 5:49am

Like what Chase-Durer did with this one ....
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » December 22nd 2016, 9:26am

eddiea wrote:Like what Chase-Durer did with this one ....
Image

From what I can see, they gave it an extraordinarily idiotic logo and sandblasted the case.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby eddiea » December 22nd 2016, 10:46am

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:
eddiea wrote:Like what Chase-Durer did with this one ....
Image

From what I can see, they gave it an extraordinarily idiotic logo and sandblasted the case.

Totally understand, C-D tend to get overboard with dials art, the Warhawk Mechanical however is pretty tame by C-D standards, that been said logos (and aesthetics in general) are a matter of personal taste at the end of the day of course .
As far as the case goes, is made of Titanium which I believe tipically looks like has been bead/sand blasted unless it has been brushed or polished.
I personally try not to volunteer watch opinions in any forum other than very general aesthetics takes, unless I actually own, owned, or personally handled the watch in order to avoid making extraordinarily idiotic statements .
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby Mark1 » December 22nd 2016, 4:32pm

As an actual pilot, the main thing to me is readability. The Navitimer or RM would be totally worthless in an aeroplane. Basic time functions are useful, ciphering anything with your Tachymeter or E6B bezel inflight would be detrimental to your long term life prospects. If you are on autopilot, by all means calculate your fuel burn, ETA, endurance or whatever. Go back and make a sandwich or take a dump for that matter. In that case you surely have some electronics on board to do all these things for you. Similar to diving there are other gadgets which do more, better, and easier than a wristwatch.
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Re: All You Need To Know: The Best Aviation Watches

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » December 22nd 2016, 5:35pm

eddiea wrote:
MKTheVintageBloke wrote:
eddiea wrote:Like what Chase-Durer did with this one ....
Image

From what I can see, they gave it an extraordinarily idiotic logo and sandblasted the case.

Totally understand, C-D tend to get overboard with dials art, the Warhawk Mechanical however is pretty tame by C-D standards, that been said logos (and aesthetics in general) are a matter of personal taste at the end of the day of course .
As far as the case goes, is made of Titanium which I believe tipically looks like has been bead/sand blasted unless it has been brushed or polished.
I personally try not to volunteer watch opinions in any forum other than very general aesthetics takes, unless I actually own, owned, or personally handled the watch in order to avoid making extraordinarily idiotic statements .

The logo does appear idiotic in combination with the general aesthetic of the watch- it's a bit like a watch with the looks of a, dunno, speedometer or rev counter of a 1940s car, and out of nowhere- a silhouette of something thoroughly modern. A Pagani Zonda, for example. I don't like that jet fighter logo on it for that exact reason- although truth be told, IWC went a step further, and did something worse to the second hand on one of the previous "Top Gun" versions of the Big Pilot. There, it was even more crass. As to IWC, they did some more odd stuff, that including "Spitfire" models, which are downsized reinterpretations of the not particularly Spitfire B-Uhr design, so almost anything can be expected of them. I do like the Big Pilot though, it's one of the few "behemoths" that I just can't dislike, despite their size. Returning to the logo, I just think the company didn't do a very good job on it. I remarked the sandblasting, since the contemporary "fliegers" usually have a brushed case, or at least contrast polishing with brushing being the main finishing. I don't mind the sandblasted case, although it quite sharply contrasts with that design, especially in rather dark titianium. I think only Laco makes sandblasted cases on a larger scale. So a case with fairly noticeable sandblasted finishing stands out, but I do not consider it a flaw. The watch looks OK, except for that logo- the fat font and the fighter (F-15 or F-18, not sure, but I think it's an F-15).

Discussion of aesthetics is almost always a matter of opinion... So if we cut out the discussion of aesthetics, we land up without half of watch-related topics. Almost like talking about paintings without saying what we think of how they look- which makes an exchange of opinions largely impossible.
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