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What is a Pilot Watch?

12chron_003Watches vary in size, shape, and design; but they all have the same basic function: to display accurate time. It is easy to find watches in stores online and offline. Watches are basically sold everywhere, from high-end jewelry stores to small-time boutiques. However, you should take note that watches are not all the same. A pilot watch, for instance, is especially designed to be used by pilots.

Pilot watches are rugged instruments that house various emblematic functions including COSC-certified chronometry. They undergo rigorous tests that involve changes in the gravitational force, extreme temperatures, and other conditions. These pieces, aside from being chronometrically precise, are shock-resistant, and antimagnetic. They are examined thoroughly by the Swiss observatory Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres.

They should be resistant against the strong magnetic fields produced by cockpit instrumentation as well as extreme temperature fluctuations. They should remain operational in extreme heat, freezing temperatures, and high humidity. They should also be resistant against dirt and dust particles. These watches also offer functions such as GMT or multiple time-zone indication, compass abilities, and slide-rule bezels.

Of course, these watches should also be easy to use and readable. Readability is undoubtedly the most important characteristic of pilot watches. They should be large enough for good visibility. Luminous, bright indices on a dark background allow easy readability. Minute-hand and second-hand visibility are also very important in aviation. The dial should also offer optimum legibility. There should be digital display or multiple dials that can be toggled easily.

In addition, pilot watches should be designed with expandable leather straps so they can be adjusted easily over the aviation suit. They should also have second time zones with frontal operating devices. They should also be used a chronograph which means that they should be able to double as a stopwatch or a timer. They have to be extremely accurate since pilots rely heavily on accurate timing for navigation.

Pilot watches were developed almost the same time as the invention of the airplane. Pilots back then needed a tough yet accurate time piece to help them keep track of their flight time in different time zones. As airplanes went to more inhospitable locations, these watches added more functions like magnetic shielding. They were originally issued by military personnel alone; but after World War II, they have become available to civilians. Hence, you can easily buy a pilot watch from an online seller or at your local mall.

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