Pilot watches


Breitling introduces the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 U.S. Limited Edition, a small series production version of its classic Navitimer aviation watch.

The new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 U.S. Limited Edition.

The watch melds the classic Navitimer details, including a circular slide rule, baton indexes, three chronograph counters and notched bezel, with a modern slim case profile and a Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, a COSC-certified chronometer movement. The movement provides an extra-long seventy hours of power reserve.

The watch combines a sharp-looking dark slate dial with black sub-dials and red accents, all within a 46mm stainless steel case and rose gold bezel.

Collectors will recall that Willy Breitling developed the “navigation timer”—or Navitimer—in 1952 as a wrist-worn chronograph with a circular slide rule that would allow pilots to perform all necessary flight calculations.

In 1954 the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association named the watch as its official timepiece, which is why the association’s winged logo was emblazoned at 12 o’clock. This model features that logo back at the same position. 

Breitling will produce the new watch in the limited quantity of 300 pieces specially for the United States market.

Price: $11,900.

Zenith will exhibit a selection of its vintage pilots watches at the Watches of Switzerland Hudson Yards location in New York from August 8 until September 10. The exhibit is meant to celebrate the watchmaker’s new Pilot collections, which debuted earlier this year during the Watches and Wonders watch fair in Geneva.

A Zenith military pilot watch circa 1928-1930.


At the Watches of Switzerland Hudson Yards store visitors will find six Zenith Pilot heritage pieces alongside Zenith’s new Pilot collection, which includes stainless steel and ceramic three-hand automatics and flyback chronographs.

A Zenith Chronographe Cairelli Type CP2 from the 1960s.

Zenith will display an impressive selection of historic aviation watches, including the Dashboard Altimeter (1910s), Pilot Wristwatch (1928-1930s), Chronograph Tipo CP2 (1968-72), El Primero Pilot-Diver (1972), El Primero Rainbow Fly-Back (1997), and El Primero Pilot Big Date Special (2010).

An altimeter from 1910.

Collectors are likely aware that Zenith registered the trademark “Pilote” in 1888, followed by the English “Pilot” in 1904, which allowed the brand to exclusively use the word on its dials.

A new Zenith Pilot Chronograph in steel.

Zenith watches were worn by Louis Blériot, who made history by accomplishing the first flight across the English Channel in 1909.

The 1997 El Primero Rainbow Flyback.

Junghans updates its aviation watch collection with two contemporary variations of the Meister Pilot Chronoscope plus the Meister Pilot Automatic Navy Blue, a new three-hand-with-date model.

The new Junghans Meister Pilot Chronoscope Desert.

The two new Chronoscope models watches retain the existing Meister Pilot case size (43.3mm) and bicompax chronograph design (small second at 3 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock) but sport a slightly larger Arabic numeral set, a vintage Junghans logo and a cleaner dial that dispenses with the inner five-minutes track found on the current Meister Pilot models.

The new Junghans Meister Pilot Chronoscope Navy Blue.

Junghans also retains one of the characteristic steel case features of Meister Pilot collection: the twelve concave case recesses that are meant to allow for more precise bezel adjustments.

Caseback view of the Meister Pilot Chronoscope Navy Blue.

One of the two new watches,  the Meister Pilot Chronoscope Navy Blue , pays homage to the famed North American Curtiss P-40 while the other, the Meister Pilot Chronoscope Desert, offers a sand-colored dial and a brown-black DLC-coated steel case.

Junghans is offering the Meister Pilot Chronoscope Navy Blue as a limited edition of 300 watches, each boasting a black DLC-coated steel case.

The new Junghans Meister Pilot Automatic Navy Blue.


The new Meister Pilot Automatic Navy Blue offers the same pilot style but without the chronograph and with a date. 

Junghans has added a date disc made to resemble a cockpit display, complete with red accents and a contrasting small seconds hand. Instead of a the chronograph caliber found in the Chronoscopes, the Meister Pilot Automatic Navy Blue is powered by the ETA-based Caliber J880.1.6.

Junghans has a long history making aviation timers, starting in the 1930s when the German-based company supplied onboard clocks for numerous aircraft. In the 1950s, Junghans was awarded a contract for the newly established German Air force and subsequently developed the J88 intermediate-wheel chronograph.

Prices: 1,995 euros (Meister Pilot Automatic) and 2,590 euros (both new Meister Pilot Chronoscope models). 


Reservoir pays tribute to Eugene Bullard, an African-American pilot who fought for France during World War I, with the new Reservoir Black Sparrow, the latest model in the French watchmaker’s retrograde minute, jump hour collection.

The new Reservoir Black Sparrow, here in a black PVD case.

The U.S.-born Bullard carried out around twenty aerial combat missions during WW1 and was described as a “true French hero” by Général de Gaulle, earning the nickname “The Black Sparrow of Death”.

Eugene Jacques Bullard, the first African American combat pilot, who fought for France in WWI.

Reservoir designed the Black Sparrow’s dials to recall the colors and styles of WWI cockpits, which collectors may also recognize from early 20th century pilot watches.


All maintain the Reservoir jump hour dial layout, which indicates minutes via a large hand sweeping 240-degrees across the dial and jumping back to restart each hour. Hours are shown digitally in the aperture at the 6 o’clock position.

The launch encompasses a new 42mm steel or black PVD case and black or sand-colored dials with Art Nouveau-inspired luminescent numerals. Reservoir mounts these on a black or brown Barenia leather strap.

All the debuts picture a propeller and wings laser-printed onto the watch’s clear sapphire caseback.  Reservoir explains that the propeller and wings is a popular military insignia used to identify various aviation-related military units especially the French Aeronautique Militaire.

Through that back you’ll see the Reservoir Caliber RSV-240, the watchmaker’s latest update of its signature jump-hour movement.

Introduced last year, the caliber is made in association with the Swiss engine manufacture TELOS. The automatic caliber makes use of a La Joux-Perret LJP-G100 base with a proprietary 113-piece module. With the new Caliber RSV-240, power reserve jumps to an impressive fifty-six hours

Price: $3,800.

Zenith in 2023 highlights its aviation watches with two new models, the Pilot Automatic and the Pilot Big Date Flyback. 

Both new watches, which Zenith debuts today at the 2023 Watches & Wonders, will be available in newly designed steel or black ceramic cases.

The new Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback, here in a black ceramic case.

The Pilot Automatic will be offered as a 40mm three-hand time and date watch while the Pilot Big Date Flyback offers a 42.5mm chronograph with both a large date display and a flyback function.

The new Zenith Pilot Automatic, in a 40mm steel case.

The flyback function allows the wearer to quickly reset the chronograph to zero and then restart it by a single push of a button. Historically, this allowed pilots to record consecutive times without stopping.

Both designs update Zenith’s long-standing pilot collection. Those familiar with the watchmaker may recall that Zenith in 1888 actually filed a trademark for the French term “Pilote” and filed for the English “Pilot” in 1904. Zenith today remains the only brand to hold the rights to mark its dials with ‘Pilot.’

In the early 20th century the watchmaker specialized in watches and dashboard instruments for pilots, notably supplying Louis Blériot, who made history by making the first flight across the English Channel in 1909. 


Pilot Automatic

In addition to the new case design, Zenith gives this model a distinctive flat-top round bezel.  Zenith satin-brushes the steel case version and micro-blasts the black ceramic model to give it a contemporary matte finish. On the watch’s black opaline dial Zenith fits oversized Arabic numerals in traditional early 20th-century pilot style. The dial’s horizontal grooves are meant to mimic the look of corrugated metal on the fuselage of older aircrafts.

At 6 o’clock above the date window, Zenith adds a new flat luminescent hour marker to replace an Arabic 6. This white line recalls the artificial horizon instrument found in cockpits. A similar line is found just below the date on the Pilot Big Date Flyback.

Seen through the sapphire display back is Zenith’s El Primero 3620 high-frequency manufacture movement, which delivers a power reserve of sixty hours when fully wound. Zenith will supply straps to match both models: The black ceramic version is delivered on a black cordura-effect rubber strap as well as a khaki rubber strap.

Zenith supplies the steel model on the same black rubber strap, but adds a second strap made of vintage-like brown calfskin leather. Of course, these straps can be easily swapped with the quick-release mechanism integrated directly into the back of the straps.

Pilot Big Date Flyback

Powered by the new El Primero 3652 automatic high-frequency chronograph (a new version of the Zenith El Primero 3600), the new watch displays its namesake functions with panache.

The steel model is especially notable for its vintage ‘Rainbow Flyback’  references with its chronograph’s minutes totalizer finished in alternating colors, which will make it easier to distinguish between the five-minute marks.

In addition, the steel model’s central chronograph seconds and its chronograph minutes hands are bright orange. This is another nod to the Zenith El Primero Rainbow from 1997. 

The model’s black ceramic version offers a more utilitarian look with luminescent white markers and hands that contrast nicely against a black corrugated dial. On both models, the date display features a new, patented mechanism that advances and stabilizes both of the big date’s wheels in less than 0.03 seconds.

Zenith will deliver the new Pilot Big Date Flyback in ceramic with a black and khaki rubber strap. For the steel version Zenith includes the black rubber strap and a brown leather strap.


Pilot Automatic – Black Microblasted Ceramic: $9,600 

Pilot Big Date Flyback – Black Microblasted Ceramic: $13,500

Pilot Automatic – Steel: $7,500 

Pilot Big Date Flyback – Steel: $11,500

More Dark 2023 Debuts

Also for Watches and Wonders 2023 Zenith debuts an all-black micro blasted titanium Defy Revival Shadow, with a matte black dial ($7,400).

Zenith’s new Defy Revival Shadow.

Additional all-black debuts include the Defy Skyline Ceramic ($15,000), which features a black galvanic dial with a sun-ray finish, and a new Defy Skyline Skeleton Ceramic ($17,000), with an open dial that highlights a blackened large central four-pointed star.

The new Zenith Defy Skyline Black Ceramic.

The watch’s skeleton movement features black bridges and main plate.

The new Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton Black Ceramic.