Uncategorized 8 Dec 2023

How has Aviation Changed Watches


Watch Wise

Website Admin


Aviation Watches feature clean designs with large, easily readable numerals. In this Article, we ask 'How has aviation changed watches?'


The world of horology often finds inspiration in unexpected places, and one such captivating influence is drawn from the precise and functional realm of aircraft instruments. In this Article, we ask 'How has aviation changed watches?' Watches designed with an aircraft instruments influence pay homage to the clarity, functionality, and legibility required in the cockpit.

Here we look at some key elements that make these watches distinctive

Dials & Instrumentation

The dials of aviation-inspired watches are reminiscent of aircraft instrument panels. They feature clean, uncluttered designs with large, easily readable numerals and markers. The contrast between the hands and the dial is often optimized for quick and accurate time reading.

Bell & Ross, for example, draws significant inspiration from aviation and military aesthetics. Their watches often reflect the design elements found in aircraft instruments and cockpit displays & shows how aviation has changed watches.


Sub-Dials and Complications:

Many aviation watches incorporate sub-dials reminiscent of cockpit gauges. Chronograph functions, for instance, often mirror the layout of aviation instruments, providing additional timing capabilities. These complications enhance the watch's versatility and functionality. Many aviation-inspired watches include chronograph complications, allowing for precise timekeeping and additional functionality such as events timing (Fuel Dumps, Mission-critical timestamps, Distance/Time etc... Brands like Breitling are renowned for their aviator chronographs.

The Breitling Navitimer

The Breitling Navitimer is a legendary pilot's watch that has held its place in horological history since its introduction in 1952. Revered for its distinctive circular slide rule bezel, the Navitimer was designed to assist pilots with various airborne calculations, including fuel consumption and airspeed conversions.

With its large, legible dial adorned with intricate scales and sub-dials, the Navitimer became the quintessential tool for aviators. This iconic timepiece not only embodies precision and functionality but also carries the timeless style of classic aviation watches. Over the years, the Breitling Navitimer has evolved, with different models and variations continuing to capture the hearts of aviation enthusiasts and watch collectors alike.


Readability & low-light conditions

Given the critical nature of timekeeping in aviation, luminosity and readability are crucial features. Aviation watches often employ generous applications of luminescent material on hands and markers to ensure readability in low-light conditions, mirroring the luminosity of aircraft instrument displays.

Red accents on the dial or hands are often used to highlight critical information quickly. This design cue is inspired by the use of red in aircraft instruments to draw attention to important readings or warnings.


In essence, watches with an aircraft instruments influence not only capture the spirit of aviation but also embody the precision and functionality required in the cockpit. Whether worn by aviation enthusiasts or individuals appreciative of purposeful design, these timepieces serve as a testament to the timeless connection between aviation and horology.

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