The 9 Best Pilot Watches of 2018

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A good watch can do wonders for a man’s looks. Despite being a relatively small item, watches have a huge impact on someone’s overall look. If you’re a person who loves to look sharp, this is something that you already know.

When it comes to good timepieces, pilot watches are simply timeless. The design and elegance of these types of watches were simply made to last. In this guide, we’ll show you the best available pilot watches on the market that are a worthy addition to your collection.

Before you have a look at the best available pilot watches on the market, we’ll tell you about the top things that you should keep in mind when you’re buying a new one. By paying attention to these things, you’ll be able to get a watch that’ll leave you totally satisfied. You might also be interested in our articles about the best g-shock watches and the best atomic watches.

1. Digital, analog or both?

Digital vs analog is a decision that you’ll have to make when you’re buying a new watch. Analog watches rely on mechanical movement methods to move “hands” that are used for telling time. Digital watches, on the other hand, use completely digital methods to display time digitally.

The right method for you depends on your priorities. On the long-term, mechanical watches are usually more durable. However, digital watches usually provide more accuracy in telling time. You can easily use a 12 or 24-hour mode and have information displayed like days month, years, how many hours till sunset, etc.

There are watches that use both analog and digital methods to display time and other information, which kind of gives you the best of both worlds.

2. Mechanical vs. Quartz movement

When it comes to the type of movement, watches are generally divided into two categories: Quarts and Mechanical (also referred to as automatic). Simply put, the Quartz movement is powered by a battery while the mechanical/automatic movement doesn’t use a battery. Instead, it uses a more complicated method that powers the watch from the kinetic movement of moving your hand, which can have the watch running for days even when left without moving it.

In terms of accuracy, Quartz watches are definitely more accurate. However, mechanical watches are more sophisticated and can last virtually forever with the proper maintenance. As a result of being far more complicated, mechanical/automatic watches are usually way more expensive. Which is right for you depends mainly on your budget and your personal preference.

3. Leather band or a metal bracelet?

The type of band is something that greatly affects the overall style of the watch. Generally speaking, there is no better or worse here as it’s a matter of personal preference. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re making that choice.

It goes without saying that leather band watches aren’t a great match for all types of outfits. If your overall style doesn’t match that of a leather band, a metal bracelet might be a more flexible option for you. Also, leather watches aren’t always the best choice in hot places. When things get sweaty and mucky, leather isn’t usually the most comfortable material out there. Keeping this in mind when you’re choosing between leather and metal and help you make a choice that you won’t soon regret.

Now that you’re familiar with what to look out for when you’re buying your new pilot watch, it’s time to have a look at some of the best available pilot watches on the market.

1. G-Shock GA-1000-1A Aviation Series Men’s Luxury Watch

Casio’s G-Shock series is known for having some of the toughest watches ever. Built to realize the dream of a watch that “lasts forever”, this Casio watch combines is durable, functional and good-looking altogether.

In terms of durability, this watch has the signature shock resistance features of the G-Shock series as well as water resistance to up to 200 meters. Wherever you plan on using this watch, you can do so confidently without the fear of breaking it, as it is simply made to last.

Another thing that adds to the overall durability of this G-Shock watch is the resin band. This durable material is simply the toughest out there and it’s also super-comfortable. It won’t scratch or wear out like metal and leather bands would so it is really the best match for a durable watch.

As you’d expect from a G-Shock watch, this thing is feature packed. Asides from the wide array of adjustable time-telling methods that you’d find on all Casio digital watches, this watch has a great digital compass. Whether you use it when you go hiking or sailing, the compass feature is definitely helpful.

The LED illumination is another thing that makes it really stand out. With such a powerful backlight, this watch is highly visible even in the darkest places. It also has a feature that lets it illuminate when you tilt is at a certain angle, which is definitely a useful feature.

Product highlights:

  • Extremely durable
  • Built-in compass
  • Resin band
  • Water-resistant up to 200 meters
  • Great illumination mode

2. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Strap

Asides from its elegant design, there is one thing that truly makes this watch stand out, which is the fact that it is powered by light. If there is something that you should know about Citizen’s Eco-Drive series, it is the fact that they don’t require any batteries to operate.

All you have to do is make sure that the watch is exposed to sun or fluorescent light for 4-6 hour per month and you’re good to go. Not only is this better for the environment, it is also something that is a worthy addition to your timepiece collection.

The brown leather strap is also of premium quality. Not only does it look good, it’s also very comfortable against the skin, which is great if you plan or wearing the watch on a day-to-day basis. The fact that this Citizen pilot watch is water-resistant for a depth up to 100 meters adds to its overall durability.

If you’re the type of person who loves to know what time it is exactly to the minute, you’ll love the design. Unlike the design of most analog watches that makes difficult to tell what time it is exactly, the design of this watch’s face makes this really easy.

The large crown of this watch and its overall large design makes it really stand out on your wrist. The orange-accented arms also look great with the brown leather strap. With such a great design and an uncommon solar-charging method, this Citizen with has well-earned its spot on our list.

Product highlights:

  • Great design
  • Solar-powered
  • Nice leather strap
  • Water-resistant up to 100 meters

3. Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch

Timex watches are known to strike the perfect balance between design and value, with this one being no different. If you’re looking for a pilot watch with a great design that provides exceptional value for money, this one is definitely worth checking out.

The first thing that you’ll notice about this watch is the beautiful face design and its overall “expedition style”. The colors of the hands works perfectly with the brushed metal finish. The leather strap of this pilot watch has a great finish that’s aesthetically pleasing and comfortable at the same time.

Being inspired by vintage military watches is clear in this Timex. However, this inspiration isn’t in looks only. Thanks to its durable design and the fact that its water resistant for up to 100 meters, this watch is definitely worthy of the field. Also, the unique dial of the watches has numbers that are multiples of 5 and up to 60, which makes it great for telling time accurately in minutes.

Another great feature of this watch is its patented illumination system, which in addition to providing strong illumination, uses so little battery in comparison to similar illumination modes in other watches. If you use this feature heavily, the difference is definitely worth it.

If you’re looking for a balance between value and quality, this watch will definitely not leave you disappointed.

Product highlights:

  • Great value for money
  • Comfortable leather strap
  • Patented illumination technology
  • Water-resistant up to 100 meters

4. Citizen Men’s JY8035-04E Navihawk Stainless Steel Eco-Drive Watch

If you’ve liked the previous Citizen Eco-Drive model on our list but looking for something that is more feature-packed, you’ll definitely love this model.

Just like any other Eco-Drive watch, this model is powered by light. All you have to do is make sure the watch gets 4-6 hours of light exposure per month and this thing will just keep on working. If you’re a fan of this technology, you’ll be glad to know that it’s also available in this model.

Unlike the other Eco-Drive model on our list, this watch has a more “busy” face. It has a synchronized time adjustment that is available for 43 cities and has a wide array of professional pilot functionality that ranges from a compass to fuel weight calculation.

Thanks to the anti-reflective mineral crystal, it is super-clear even in the brightest conditions. The only thing that we didn’t like about this watch is the fact that the illumination feature wasn’t really the brightest that we’ve seen. There are models that simply provide better illumination than this one.

This watch is water-resistant to a depth up to 200 meters, which makes it perfect for activities like snorkeling as well. With such a relatively high level of water resistance, you won’t have to worry about water damage with this model.

Another great thing about this Citizen pilot watch is the highly-durable Polyurethane strap. In addition to being highly-durable, this strap has a nice-looking pattern, which makes the watch look even better.

Product highlights:

  • Has plenty of professional pilot features
  • Water-resistant up to 200 meters
  • Durable Polyurethane strap
  • Anti-reflection crystal
  • Light-powered (requires no batteries)

5. Seiko Men’s SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch

For an automatic watch, this Seiko watch offers an incredible value for money. If you’re looking to buy a quality automatic watch with a great bang for the buck, this Seiko watch is one of the best available options.

The first thing that you’ll notice is its beautiful design. The simple face of the watch has a common design in pilot watches which makes it easier to tell exactly what time it is in a minute. Without this brilliant design, telling time accurately is usually relatively difficult with an analog watch.

Another thing that makes this stand out from other watches in the same category is the fact that it has a canvas strap. There is no denying that the canvas strap is very comfortable to wear however, we feel that a resin strap would have been more durable in the long term. It’s true that the canvas strap gives this Seiko pilot watch a unique character so it’s more of a personal preference.

One thing that we particularly loved about the design of this watch is the transparent back. There is something that is just mesmerizing about watching the movement of the internal parts, especially in automatic watches.

To start your watch for the first time, all you have to do is move it from left to right for 30 seconds and it’ll just start beating with life, which is what makes mechanical watches that magical in the first place.

Product highlights:

  • Great value for money
  • Mechanical/automatic movement
  • Canvas strap
  • Simple design
  • Transparent back

6. Timex Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chronograph Watch

This Timex pilot watch is a more high-end model than the other Timex watch on our list. If you’ve loved the other Timex model and willing to shell out some extra bucks for a more sophisticated pilot watch, this model is definitely for you.

Similar to the other model, this Timex pilot watch has a high-quality leather strap that is comfortable to well as well as looking good. Despite having an overall similar feel, the face of this watch has a completely different design. In addition to the traditional 12 hours format, this watch has more sophisticated methods of knowing and measuring time accurately.

It is also worth mentioning that it can tell time for 2 time zones simultaneously, which is a great feature that is relatively common in high-quality pilot watches. Also, the sundials of this pilot watches have a nice fly-back chronograph movement, which is similar to that found on the dashboard of sports cars.

Being water-resistant up to a 100 meters puts this watch’s water resistance in the average range. However, unless you do any kind of diving activity that involves going deeper than 100 meters, you shouldn’t need any more than that.

The night-light illumination of this watch is also very good and can easily be activated by pressing the crown. If you use your watch in low light conditions continuously, the illumination system of this pilot watch will make your life a whole lot easier.

Product highlights:

  • High-quality leather strap
  • Can be used for 2 time zones simultaneously
  • Water-resistant up to 100 meters
  • Nice light illumination

7. Bulova Men’s Lunar Pilot Chronograph Leather Strap Watch

In addition to being beautiful, the Bulova Lunar Pilot is kind of the remake of a historic watch. Being used in the 1971 Apollo landing, this is a watch that has its place in history. Asides from the pride that comes from owning such a watch, there are many things that make this one of the best available pilots watches on the market.

The first thing that you’ll notice about it is its incredible build quality. Everything from the strap to the watch itself is a show of masterful craftsmanship. The watch and the extra canvas strap that comes with it are all packed in a gorgeous box that can be used for safely storing it.

The leather strap of this watch also has this fine texture that makes it really stand out in comparison to other leather strap watches. It also has this “duotone” theme that adds to its overall sense of elegance.

As the case has a diameter of 45mm, it’s has a size that is just not so large nor too small. Of course, watch size is a matter of personal preference but we like this size most as its suitable for many hands and with different outfits.

The only thing that can be considered a downside of this iconic pilot watch is the fact that it has a water-resistant up to only 30 meters. This level of water resistance makes this Bulova resistant to splash damage and to being temporarily immersed in water. It doesn’t have the type of water resistance that makes it suitable for swimming or snorkeling. However, this watch isn’t really made for these kinds of activities so we didn’t find this to be a major downside.

Product highlights:

  • Historic watch
  • Incredible build quality
  • Great design
  • Water-resistant up to 30 meters

8. Hamilton Men’s H64715885 Khaki Pilot Automatic Stainless Steel Watch

Hamilton watches are known combining the American design aesthetics with the Swiss precision and performance. This automatic pilot watch is a clear representation of everything that Hamilton watches stand for.

From the first glance, it’s clear that the design is inspired by the aviation watches that were worn by the early American pilots. As for the face design, it is as simple as it gets. As it is the habit in most aviation watches, it has the same design that puts minutes on the outside to make it super-easy to tell time accurately.

Another thing that we really liked about the design is the fact that it has a transparent back. As this is an automatic watch, having this transparent back allows you to feast your eyes on the beautiful synchronized motion of the internal parts.

As it is expected to form a watch in this category, the khaki, genuine leather strap is as comfortable as it gets. The watch also has a 46mm diameter so it falls in this sweet spot in terms of size. The size is just for it to be clearly visible but not too flashy.

If you’re a watch lover, an American-style pilot watch is simply a must-have. If you’re looking for a high-quality automatic model, this is one of the best available watches in this category.

Product highlights:

  • Automatic motion
  • American pilots inspired design
  • Transparent back
  • High-quality leather strap

9. Seiko Men’s SNN241 Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band

Another great Seiko watch that provides an incredible value for money, which is something that Seiko is well-known for as a watch brand. Watch lovers who are looking for the best bang for their buck are familiar with this and know the value that a good Seiko could add to their collection.

This Seiko pilot watch has a Japanese quartz movement, which means that’s it’s as accurate as it gets. The design of the face has the traditional 12-hours format. This watch didn’t opt for the famous pilot watch switched hours and minutes design. However, despite not going for this design, the watch has 2 dedicated sundials that make accurate time to measure a whole lot easier.

The leather band of this is stitched with a highly-contrasting color, which gives it a strong character and makes the band really stand out. In terms of leather quality, it’s top-tier as it is the way with all leather band Seiko watches.

As for water resistance, it kind of stands in the middle. With a level of water resistance that works up to 100 meters of depth, this watch is suitable for things like snorkeling. 100 meters is nothing impressive though, it is just average when compared with other pilot watches that are available on the market. If you’re looking for one of those “incredible value” pilot watches, this is definitely a must-have.

Product highlights:

  • Japanese quartz movement
  • Water-resistant up to 100 meters
  • Great value for money
  • Nice leather band