5 Great Black Pilot Watches (Seiko, Orient, Bulova & More)
Denis Loncaric27 September 2022 | 6 min read
Table of Contents
Pilot watches are designed for airmen, so they don’t have to pull out a pocket watch when checking the time. However, many people need clarification about what pilot watches are.
There is no strict definition to it, but we’ve listed out 5 good quality (black) pilot watches from Seiko, Orient, Bulova and Casio to consider.
If you’re looking for a black pilot watch, you’re in the right place!
Traits of a pilot watch
As the title says itself, we are looking for a black watch. Besides the obvious design thing, let’s see what a quality pilot wristwatch should consist of!
Large dials, numbers, and markers
Pilot watches should be easy for telling the time. If you are thinking, isn’t this feature for all watches out there? It’s not. Pilot watches need large dials, easy-to-read numbers, and LumiBrite hour marks and hands for reading in dark and low light.
This triangle has two purposes. Firstly, it helps the pilot determine what is up and what is down. Furthermore, the dots on either side of the triangle helped distinguish the 12 o’clock marker from other numbers at a glance. The second reason is for pilots to identify the upward direction quickly.
Pilot watches need to be as precise as possible. When we want precision, we prefer self-winding watches or automatic movements that will be accurate in the most important times of flying.
Automatic watches are typically more accurate than manual-wind watches since they are wound continuously throughout the day.
Additional important features
Such as GMT or dual time zone functions and bezel markings- are necessary for additional calculations for flight purposes.
This one is the most neatly designed sporty black pilot watch. It features great characteristics, such as three sub-dial windows and three screw-down crowns – making this a powerful chronograph watch.
Seiko paid a lot of attention to the details of this wristwatch. It has beautiful gold and rose gold colors on hours and minutes subdials that breaks the monotony of the all-black style watch.
It also has a case with titanium carbide coating with hardlex glass which means that it’s not easy to scratch this watch, making it very resistant and durable. Also, this feature tells us that the watch is not only suitable for those long flights but also some adventures in the wild!
Seiko Men’s Quartz, as the name implies, has the quartz movement. Even though we prefer automatic, quartz watches, without a doubt, deliver high accuracy and are also very convenient.
However, the greatest thing about the watch is its tachymeter bezel. A tachymeter measures speed based on the time traveled over a fixed distance and is found on the bezel of a watch.
The biggest advantage of the Bulova 96B251 is the exquisite face detail. Unlike many watches with a flat face, this watch has a recessed seconds marker track and a raised face.
In addition, the subdials are recessed slightly into the dial, and the 5-minute lume markers are raised even further on the base. Such details are rarely found on a timepiece of this price point.
If you do not prefer the leather strap, which is fine, this watch comes with an additional fabric strap so that you can change it according to your needs and style as well. However, the watch is pretty big, with 43.3 mm diameter and 13 mm thickness, but we would expect this from a pilot watch.
Watch crystals vibrate 8 times faster than conventional quartz watches, thanks to Bulova’s UHF quartz movement. As a result, the central chronograph’s second hand moves smoothly and with extreme accuracy of approximately 10 seconds/year.
Casio always delivers a quality timepiece with a bunch of necessary equipment. For instance, this timepiece has a thermometer ranging from -10 to + 60 °c, the world time function, and a constant time display of the second time zone.
This watch is also not automatic but one with quartz movement, delivering high precision and accuracy. It also has the stopwatch function with 1/100 sec measurement accuracy for measuring the duration between the device’s activation and deactivation. Again, a great feature if you are planning to do constant piloting.
Aside from that, Casio G-Shock GA1100-1A3 also has a compass and thermometer. And you will also get a button located at 9 that will check your bearing and save it so you can check to see whether you’re still moving in the right direction.
So many features are included, and all of them are packed in a beautiful black design at a reasonable price. This is totally expected from non-beatable bran such as Casio!
Very minimalistic yet powerful watch. With its Arabic numerals, this watch is very special. The biggest advantage of this timepiece is its simplistic design that emphasizes easy readability. A luminous light is used on all needles and indexes to easily tell the time in the dark, especially when piloting at night.
The Orient Flight RA-AC0H4Y features an automatic movement which means that the watch will always deliver the highest precision with its 40 hours power reserve.
With the scratch-resistant mineral crystal coating, the watch is very durable. The mineral crystal is heat-hardened glass that has been heated to a high temperature, which increases its hardness and makes the watch resistant to scratching or easily breaking.
Unfortunately, the downside of this beautiful timepiece is that it’s not a chronograph watch. It doesn’t have additional sub-dials nor a start/stop chronograph button. However, it does possess a screw-down, push/pull crown that secures the crown when not in use, preventing operational errors and improving water resistance.
The case of Seiko SRPD35K1 features a well-protected recessed crown for the movement and a protective bridge for the compass crown. This bridge feature protects the crown and lowers the risk of it being activated accidentally.
Despite its 43 millimetres diameter and 14.4 millimetres in thickness with a large dial opening, this timepiece is extremely comfortable to wear, thanks to exceptionally short lugs. Even though the size tells us that this is not a thin watch, it still sits very well even on smaller wrists.
The hands and tracks are large, fully luminous, with Arabic numerals and raised plots. With such features, the watch appears very cool, with an adventurous yet a bit vintage design. Such a look is perfect for that horologist who loves the watch’s minimal and classic look.
The biggest characteristic of this watch is its compass bezel. Due to its lack of a magnetic compass, the Seiko Prospex isn’t capable of indicating your direction at all relative to the cardinal geographic directions. In order to operate it, you need to use the hour hand, the second crown, and the sun’s location.
What is special about a pilots watch?
The dial features high-contrast hands, with usually Arabic numerals and indexes. They contain special features like flight computer bezel markings that assist in fuel burn and other calculations as well.
What watch do most pilots wear?
Pilot amateurs usually opt for luxury watches from brands like Rolex and IWC. Fighter pilots choose Casio watches, while professional pilots opt for brands like Garmin.
When should I wear my aviator watch?
Even though these watches are designed for flying purposes, these watches are suitable for casual and everyday wear. However, many users state that they are not so suitable for that formal occasion when wearing the tuxedo, but this call is up to you.
A big advantage of the pilot watches; they can be worn on almost every occasion. Even though they appear sporty, many of them can go with more occasional events.
It’s important to pay attention to their readability. That’s the most important feature. Just a quick glance at the watch should be sufficient for you to tell the time. Other features like dual time zones, compass and additional bezel markings are great for flight purposes.