The Ultimate Microbrand Guide – Pilot’s Watches - Oracle Time
Guides Watches

The Ultimate Microbrand Guide – Pilot’s Watches

Whether you’re in the air for work, for fun or just to get from A to B, there’s no denying the timeless appeal of the classic aviator’s timepiece. Who doesn’t want to look like a pilot?

Meia Lua Inception Boreal Moonrise

Meia Lua Inception Boreal Moonrise

Never before has a name matched a dial colour so well. Inception is the first pilot’s watch from Lisbon-based Meia Lua, and while all three are inspired by moonlight in various ways, it’s the shimmering green blue of the aurora, of the Boreal Moonrise, that stands out the most. Combined with the cockpit layout, lume for night flights and oversized crown for use with flying gloves that make this one of the more unique aviation timepieces out there. It almost feels greedy to ask for more colours in the future, but if they’re anything as lovely as this, we’re OK with that.

£369, available at Meia Lua Watches.

Gavox Aurora

Gavox Aurora

It’s easy to sniff at quartz watches, but when you’re a professional pilot relying on your instruments, that’s something you can’t afford to do. And besides, the Gavox Aurora is not your standard battery-powered timepiece; it’s the first multi-function quartz watch that handles all geographical and political time zones – that includes all the non-standard ones people forget. It’s wrapped up in a blacked-out design ripped straight out of a modern aircraft and might well make you wonder why exactly you love mechanical so much. For a second, at least.

€1,500 EUR, available at Gavox.

MK II Hawkinge AGL

As all the archival revivals suggest, homage has a special place in watchmaking, though it takes a careful step to ensure it doesn’t stray into straight-up copying. US-based Mk II manages perfectly, especially in the Hawkinge AGL, its own take on the classic Mk XI design of IWC fame. It has the same militaristic feel, the same dial layout and blacked-out sword-shape, all designed for quick minute and second readouts. If you don’t want to risk your (now incredibly valuable) vintage Mk XI, this makes for a fine substitute indeed.

$595, available at MK II Watches.

O&W P-104 S

Designed for professional military and commercial pilots – the serious aviators – this blacked-out beauty comes equipped with a slide rule similar to that which made the Navitimer famous and a layout based on an instrument panel. That means intense contrast with white and orange indicators and a clear, legible layout. Powered by an ETA 2824-2 movement, adjusted in-house, and finished with a 1960s-style bracelet, this is a new take on the golden era of international aviation, with a stealthy military twist.

$991.76, available at OW Watch.

Chotovelli & Figli Navigator

The latest generation behind Chotovelli & Figli has done more than revive a nearly century-old name; they’ve been harking back to the golden age of pilots’ watches and their military roots. Case in point, the upcoming Navigator 1949, sequel to Chotovelli’s Flieger 1919. The vintage-style round case and high-contrast, clearly legible dial makes for an intensely practical timepiece, particularly in the Dial A, white on black version. It’s about as old-school aviation as a shearling-lined leather jacket. Like the Flieger 1919, the Navigator will be heading to Kickstarter, so get in there early.

$180, available at Chotovelli.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest watch and luxury lifestyle news straight to your inbox