April 1998 Issue

Watches for Pilots

There are a boatload of ‘em, all with big dials and glitzy features. If accurate time keeping is important, buy cheap.

What does a watch do? It tells time, of course.

What does a pilot’s watch do? Well, it tells time, too. But traditionally, it also has a stopwatch function, often called a chronograph, a high falutin’ word that simply means “interval timer.” Since pilots are also navigators and navigation traditionally requires highly reliable timepieces, the would-be buyer may vaguely assume that a pilot’s watch slices the seconds with laser-like accuracy, a notion the ad agencies for Rolex, Brietling and others have done nothing to dispel. (It’s not true, of course.)

Then there’s the look. There’s nothing quite like a shimmering gold-cased watch with a dial the size of a dinner plate and festoo...

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