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Pilot's Watches I Love From Rolex, Omega, Sinn, Zenith; Is The "Engineer's Watch" Dead?


Tyme Master
Founding Member
Jul 17, 2014
January 13,2020

Breitling, Omega, Zenith, Sinn Spezialuhren

•Streamed live 49 minutes ago

WatchBox Studios

Watches Tonight with host Tim Mosso is YouTube’s only live luxury watch discussion forum! Tonight’s show reviews the decline of the “technician’s watch” genre and Tim’s personal favorite pilot’s watches from Breitling, Omega, Zenith, Sinn Spezialuhren, and other leading luxury watch brands. All of that and watch collector wrist shots feature this evening on Watches Tonight.

The 1950s witnessed the rise of “big science.” Whether a military-focused public-private partnerships for defense technology or government sponsorship of large-scale pure scientific research, big science institutionalized and integrated the individual research and isolated labs of the pre-war era. Demands on equipment grew proportionally, and that included the wristwatches used by modern technical professionals.

Against the maelstrom of defense dollars, high-powered electronics, and electromagnetic flux, a new class of watches – the “technician’s watch” entered the market. Watches including the Patek Philippe Amagnetic 3417, the IWC Ingenieur 666, the Rolex Milgauss 6541 and 6543, the Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic, and the Omega Railmaster CK2914 offered protection against shock, water, and – most notably – magnetism.

As of 2020, the “engineer’s watch” genre appears to be lagging in a watch buyer marketplace enthralled by driver’s watches (e.g., Rolex Daytona), pilot’s watches (e.g., Rolex GMT-Master II), and diving watches (e.g., Rolex Submariner). Is the “engineer’s watch” destined to follow the dress watch into second-tier relevance, or can this misunderstood category of sports watch find a new generation of buyer?

For the record, Tim Mosso is not a fan of pilot’s watches. Although he has flown and even soloed airplanes, Tim dislikes flying in all of its forms. But tonight, he’s acknowledging that one can enjoy pilot’s watches without leaving the ground. These are Tim’s favorite pilot’s watches from major luxury watch brands.

1. The Rolex Turn-o-Graph. Rolex’s pre-Sub, pre-GMT rotating bezel sports watch is a pilot’s watch without doubt; the U.S. Airforce Thunderbirds flew with this exact Rolex model.
2. Vacheron Constantin “Thunderbird” reference 6782. Although only a handful were built, the Vacheron 6782 was built with rare grace and beauty for a utility timepiece. With Jaeger-LeCoultre based automatic caliber 1072K – blazon with the Geneva Hallmark – and a rotating bezel, the Vacheron Constantin 6782 took a page from Rolex’ s flight plan.
3. Zenith Type 20 Montre D’Aeronef 5011K. In 2012, Zenith resurrected its legendary caliber 5011K chronometer caliber in a gargantuan 57.5mm limited edition pilot’s watch for the ages.
4. Patek Philippe 5524G Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. This 2015 debutant was anything but original; all is forgiven when the lavish details of this Patek Philippe pilot’s watch are examined with awe.
5. Glashutte Original Senator Navigator B-Dial; launched in 2006, this B-Uhr revival wasn’t’ the first to market, but its 12.8mm thick steel case wears with comfort and grace absent from IWC’s prior “Big Pilot’s Watch.”
6. Omega Speedmaster 1957 50th Anniversary; this 2007 limited edition of 1,957 pieces includes an enamel dial, a treasure chest of a boxed set, and an exclusive caliber 3201 with co-axial escapement, COSC chronometer certification, and the benefit of 100-meter water resistance.
7. Sinn EZM 10 TESTAF; it’s literally the ultimate mechanical pilot’s watch. Every single Sinn Spezialuhren technology finds its way to this “Tegimented” titanium engineering opus.
8. Breitling Navitimer Spatiogaphe. No, it’s not a classic Navitimer, but the Millennium-era Spatiographe is rare, extraordinary, collectible, and soulful.

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