Up in the air
Time instruments for pilots - frequent flyers - aeronauts


In 1954, Pan American World Airways commissioned the Swiss watch manufacturer Rolex to design a timepiece that could display a second zone time. Background: On transatlantic flights, airmen pass through several time zones. GMT is still the term used today for the time zone around the zero degree of longitude. In addition, a second term was introduced in 1972, UTC ("coordinated universal time").

It is the standard for calculating local times worldwide and is based on measurements of atomic clocks and astronomical parameters. However, the time indications of UTC and GMT are congruent. At the time, both Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and local time had to be available at the destination. The Rolex GMT Master was born. On the right, the now popular Rolex GMT Master II BATGIRL with Jubilee bracelet.

Worldtimer Watches
For Globetrotters


Two days with many appointments lie behind you. Now it's time for the last meeting - the connecting flight to Washington D.C. has been delayed. It's raining outside, so you treat yourself to a hot coffee and look forward to flying back to your family in three days. A quick glance at your Frederique Constant Manufacture Worldtimer. The business partners in Hong Kong are still asleep, but at home you can make a quick call before you go on.



Find out how the big brands got into aviation in the shortcut. But one thing is clear - with our pilot watches you are always on cloud nine.


Breitling's close connection with aviation has been no secret since 1936 at the latest. The Swiss watchmaker began supplying the Royal Airforce with on-board watches. Then, in 1942, Breitling already presented its first Chronomat, a chronograph with manual winding and slide rule function.

When the Navitimer was introduced in 1952, it was immediately recommended by the General Aviation Association (AOPA) as a pilot's watch. Astronaut Scott Carpenter also wore a Breitling Cosmonaute during his orbit of the Earth in 1962. The love of aeronautics continues unabated to this day. With collections such as the Navitimer, Chronoliner and Montbrillant, Breitling continues to delight aviation and aeronautical instrument enthusiasts.


NASA's James H. Ragan requested wristwatches with various criteria from several manufacturers in the 1960s on behalf of the space agency. On March 1, 1965, after extensive testing, NASA selected the Omega Speedmaster Professional - the only watch suitable for the manned spaceflight program.

NASA gave it the rating "flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions" (including weightlessness, strong magnetic fields, temperature changes from minus 18 to plus 93 degrees Celsius). Astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore an Omega Speedmaster on his arm while aboard Apollo 11 on the 1969 flight to the moon. The photo was taken by his colleague Neil Armstrong, who was the first man to set foot on the moon during this mission.


The history of Patek Philippe pilot watches dates back to 1936 and is based on two unique historical hour angle wristwatches. This so-called siderometer allowed pilots to determine their position based on the stars.

Together with a radio signal and a sextant, the siderometer watch made it possible to accurately calculate longitude and latitude. The Pilot style series, with watches such as the Calatrava Travel Time Pilot, form a very important part of the overall Patek Philippe collection today.


As early as the mid-1930s, the tradition-steeped Swiss watchmaker produced special watches for aviators, such as the "B Watch" models with oversize, distinctive dials and the pocket watch caliber 52 T.S.C. as well as a central second hand for better readability.

Later models such as the Große Fliegeruhr from 1940 or the Mark 11 launched in 1948 are considered timeless classics and highly sought-after collector models. To this day, IWC continues the great tradition of pilot's watches with collections such as the Pilot's Watch, which are visually inspired by the historical models of the early 1940s.

Our pilot's watches

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