On January 15th, 2019, at the SIHH 2019, IWC has officially presented the Bronze Pilot 36mm Special Edition: a beautiful homage to a timekeeper that was introduced over 70 years ago and was worn by the British Royal Air Force pilots for many years to come. Featuring a deliciously compact and surprisingly -for a watch powered by a self-winding caliber- slim case machined from a bronze alloy, it looks stunning new and has a great potential to age graciously together with its owner.
Earlier this year, Steinhart has issued their new take on the concept of a "vintage-modern pilot". Successfully blending vintage exterior with a classic caliber and modern CNC machinery, the 2018 Nav.B-Chrono 47 Baumuster B Grey Edition (ref. 106-0877) offers, perhaps, the best "value for money" ratio for those interested in buying a relatively affordable brand new "aviator".
Looking at our stats, I see that demand for recommendations regarding diving watches is a seasonal thing with most visitors coming in summer and then gradually declining till Christmas only to start growing again in early January. "Pilots" are different animals: I have an impression that people are always interested in "aviators" regardless of the time of season. So, for your reading pleasure, a choice of fifteen timekeepers from under $200 to more than $10,000 as priced by online retailers that I find worthy of being considered while shopping for your new (or maybe your very first!) pilot's watch this year.
The 2016 Alpina Startimer Pilot automatic chronograph (refs. AL-725B4S6, AL-725GR4S6 & AL-725N4S6) is available in three colors of its laconic, extremely sober dial and in two colors of the genuine leather strap. It is a bit expensive, many people may (and probably will) call it boring, and it is not a match to majors like IWC and Omega in terms of mojo and perceived value, yet the combination of a highly ergonomic design, reliable mechanism, and an acceptable price make it a nice everyday watch for a person who can afford one.
In less than two months, Christopher Ward will start selling the 2016 C8 UTC Worldtimer. Styled as an "aviator" and featuring an appealing combination of a robust Swiss-made movement with their new distinctive approach to design, the new timekeeper is well worth the serious chunk of cash that the watchmaker plans to charge for it.
If you have noticed the sporty Chronoliner collection from last year but decided to pass on it for the lack of bling, this limited-edition 2016 Breitling Chronoliner Triple Time-Zone Chronograph will make you want to reconsider. Preserving the same energetic (some may even call it assertive) styling of the original, it comes in a lot dressier rose gold case that, thanks to careful balancing the mix of materials and textures somehow manages not to look too arrogant in all of its polished rose gold and glossy ceramic glory.
Presented at Baselworld 2016, the new Victorinox Swiss Army Airboss Mach 9 Automatic Limited Edition (ref. 241732) somehow manages to combine more or less adequate pricing (especially after all the usual discounts that the Swiss-based brand is known for) with a fairly small lot of pieces destined to be manufactured and sent to select stores around the world.
Japanese / Quartz
Citizen has been in the business of (also) making GPS-equipped watches for, like, forever. Their Promaster Navihawk Satellite Wave GPS (ref. CC9030-51E) is a fine example of how you can get a lot of know-how, a block of high-grade steel, and a handful of silicon parts and create an absolutely wonderful object that can be a watch, a gadget, and even a surprisingly low-priced fashion statement as well!
Japanese / Quartz
Featuring design cues similar to other "aviators" released by Seiko during the last five or six years (those including not only relatively expensive members of their higher-range Prospex family like this ref. SSC279, but also a lot more affordable ones like their older SND253P1,) the 2016 PROSPEX Radio Sync Solar World Time Chronograph is available in three different finishes. The new chronograph was probably introduced to cover the niche of XXL-sized timekeepers designed with the price-conscious public in mind. While a lot of prospective customers will only wince looking at this 48 mm monster, I am sure that the model will be successful in the long run. I mean, look at this watch! This watch is amazing!
Officially revealed at the SIHH 2016 show, the IWC Top Gun Miramar Chronograph (ref. IW389002) brings everything you loved about the original Miramar collection, albeit in a smaller package. With a touch oversized case crafted from dark grey scratch-resistant ceramic and a high-contrast, yet discreet dial layout, this new model looks like an interesting choice for a person who always wanted a dressy "aviator", but wasn't quite satisfied with earlier models and their Gargantuan proportions.