Yesterday saw the Autumnal Equinox, which means from here on you can expect the nights to be shorter and progressively cooler if you are living in the Northern hemisphere. All too soon you’ll be scraping ice off your windscreen and frostbiting your fingers on the can of deicer you can barely find in the icy pre-dawn gloom that shrouds the trunk of your car. But cheer up, it’s the perfect excuse to invest in a decent leather flight jacket.
US Wings Navy Bomber Jacket G-1
This awesome jacket features the “Wings of Gold” lining and is based on the WWII pattern, constructed from the highest quality Italian goatskin leather, a soft and supple, yet very durable leather. The golden satin nylon “Wings of Gold” lining has an embroidered Naval Aviator wing and the Navy Flyer’s Creed silk screened beneath it.
The potent masculine appeal of the G-1 flight jacket made British girls swoon and British men envious when the Americans first landed in wartime Britain. And it’s a jacket that still works its magic some 70 years on. At $269 in today’s money it’s still irresistible. But to complete the look, you need a watch to go with it, and not just any watch, a pilot’s watch. So what do we recommend?
Breitling Navitimer 01
We begin with probably the ultimate in aviation watches…the legendary Breitling Navitimer, now with its first fully in-house movement; the Breitling Caliber 01. The movement is entirely constructed in Breitling’s own workshop and is backed by a 5 year guarantee. The Swiss made automatic chronograph beats at 28,800 VpH with 47 jewels and has a minimum power reserve of 70 hours. You don’t need much imagination to picture how cool this would look matched with the US Wings flight jacket. There’s just one problem, the asking price is a sky high $26,000.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Miramar
The new Miramar line with its polished ceramic case, hands and chapter ring in beige, and green textile strap was inspired by the color and material range typically favored by the military. Thanks to the 51111 caliber, the largest manufactured in-house by IWC, the watch will continue running for a week when fully wound. The sapphire glass is secured against drops in pressure in the cockpit. Flying at an altitude of $13,000.
Breitling Transocean Day Date
Photo courtesy, TheWatchGallery.com
Coming back closer to earth, if you insist on a Breitling, this gorgeous, easy to read Breitling Transocean, with its slim beveled bezel, its slender lugs and its pure case housing a chronometer-certified self-winding movement, reflects the spirit of long-distance travel and luxurious long-haul airliners. The black or silver dial provides an original display of the date at 3 o’clock and the day through an aperture shaped like an arc of a circle at 12 o’clock. Around $5,800.
U-Boat Flightdeck 50 CAS BE Automatic
Italian designed U-Boat watches always attract plenty of attention due to their bold size (normally 50mm or more) and impressive heft. Every part of this watch is manufactured in Italy. The suave stainless steel case plays host to a cream dial embellished with brown indexes, stylishly complementing the flight jacket. Hands and an array of functions include three sub-dials and an aperture for the date at nine. The watch is powered by an automatic movement. This one doesn’t leave the flight deck for less than $5000.
Longines Flagship Heritage Automatic
The Longines Flagship collection derives its name from its unswerving dedication to Longines time honored design aesthetics, which are a watchword for understated elegance. Timepieces in the collection showcase classic looks with an exceptional level of performance. A perfect match for the Flight Jacket and not too up in the air at around $1,600.
Watchuseek Pilot’s Forum tip: Maratac SR1 Automatic
If you want to know where to find some of the finest affordable pilots watches, whether automatic or quartz, your first resource should be the Pilot’s and Military Forum on Watchuseek. While these guys might hanker for a Breitling Navitimer, they instinctively know where to home in on quality at prices that fly under the radar. The Maratac™ SR-1 Automatic watch was privately designed and contracted. The dial features no date and no branding. It has a unidirectional 1 hour timing bezel and runs on a Miyota (8215) 21 jewel movement from Citizen, noted for its superior quality and accuracy. The Miyota movement has a 42 hour power reserve when not in use. And the price? Just $349.