Battle of the Watches: Pilot’s vs Divers


by CHRONEXT

scroll

February 14. 2020 - by CHRONEXT

Whether in water or up in the air, diving and pilot watches combine function with action. From their origins as pure tool watches, they have made their way to the wrists of watch lovers all over the world. But which type of timepiece is actually the better choice: Navitimer or Submariner? Aviator or Seamaster? Pilot's or diver's watch? Find out in our battle between sky and water!


Very few watch wearers are trained pilots or have a diving licence. Nevertheless, models such as the Breitling Navitimer or Rolex Submariner - which were originally developed for very specific missions - are revered throughout the world. They embody a combination of sophisticated precision engineering, high resistance and characteristic aesthetics. At the same time, they have their very own characteristics, strengths and areas of application. Air or water, in a direct comparison you will find out which watches are more in your element.

Shop Now: Pilot's Watches or Diving Watches

Pilot watches – A piece of history

Both diving and pilot's watches were originally developed for very specific purposes. When the first airplanes conquered the skies at the beginning of the 20th century, there was a need for watches that could be easily read in the cockpit. Pocket watches proved to be impractical in the air, so it was the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont who asked Louis Cartier to design a special wristwatch for him in 1904. The resulting Santos collection did not have the characteristic design of a pilot's watch as we know today, but nevertheless played a vital role.

In the years that followed, Zenith and Longines were among the manufacturers who drove the development of pilot's watches. Another important, albeit conflicting, milestone was the Second World War. At that time, pilots of the air force were equipped with so-called B-watches (observation watches). These precise, large watches with luminous hands were produced by A. Lange & Söhne, IWC, Stowa and Laco, among others. They are regarded as models for later modern pilot watches, such as the Big Pilot from IWC.

 

Diving watches Chase Records

Thousands of years ago, people began to explore the underwater world. Nevertheless, the development of the first waterproof watch lasted until the 20th century. In 1927, Rolex introduced an Oyster, the first timepiece that was protected against water penetration at the crown, glass and back. The Omega Marine, which was introduced in 1932, was a real divers' watch. It had sapphire crystal and a particularly robust and resistant case. In addition, it could reach a diving depth of 13 metres - a record at the time.

In the 1940s, the rise of the robust and reliable Omega Seamaster began. Only a few years later, Rolex followed suit with the DeepSea. The Special version survived a dive of 3,150 metres in 1953. It was attached to the outer wall of Auguste Piccard's diving capsule. Seven years later, it even went down to a depth of more than 10,000 metres. Incidentally, Rolex launched what is perhaps the most famous diving watch in the world: The Rolex Submariner. The rapid development continued in the following years with well-known manufacturers such as Omega, Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Zenith developing water-resistant watches, some with a density of up to 1,000 metres. 

 

Pilot Watches vs. Diver Watches: Features and Functions

Unlike perpetual calendars or tourbillons, pilot and diver watches do not require sophisticated complications. The focus is on reliability, durability and functionality that is limited to the essentials.

Diving watches must first and foremost be waterproof. For this reason, the crown and pushers are screwed together for sealing. Most crowns are either protected by a flank protector or are slightly embedded in the case meaning they are protected from shocks and cannot get caught somewhere. A watch for divers should also be robust so that it’s not directly damaged by shocks and vibrations. Depth gauges are, of course, particularly practical for diving. They should be supplemented by an oxygen indicator or a warning indicator that goes off when the oxygen is running low. 

Readability is in the foreground with pilot watches. Therefore, they are usually more reduced in appearance than diving watches. The most important functions a pilot watch can provide (besides the time) are navigation and the conversion of kilometers, miles and nautical miles. High-quality chronographs have a slide rule function, are resistant to negative pressure and offer magnetic field protection.

Diver's watch: 

Water resistance

Oxygen display / warning

Pressure resistance

Robustness

Pilot's watch:

Stopwatch

Navigation

Slide rule

resistant to negative pressure

Magnetic field protection

 

Pilot Watches vs. Diver Watches: The Optics

With their rather husky shapes, diving watches occupy a central position, especially in sports-oriented manufacturers and are known for their robustness and stability. The Rolex Sea-Dweller comes to mind here as a classic example of a compact design. The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M, which has a wave-look dial, is a little more playful in terms of design whereas the Tudor's Black Bay with a two-tone bezel is kept quite simple.

Characteristic for pilot watches are satin surfaces, a grip crown and a large case. Sometimes they are equipped with an extra-long bracelet that can be worn over pilot's jackets. Models such as Breitling's Aviator really win us over with their cool simplicity. Sinn, on the other hand, shows what chronographs can achieve in the air with its 103 St Pilot's Watch. Military simplicity vs. robust powerhouse – the decision between a pilot's watch or a diver's watch is a question of personal taste.

Diver's watch:

sporty, rugged, compact

occasional maritime issues

inlaid or protected crowns

Pilot's watch:

satined surface

non-slip crown

big housing

partly overlong bracelet 

CHRONEXT

by CHRONEXT

Watches are our passion – we start every new day with this philosophy driving us forward. From brand stories to watch technology – we cover every topic imaginable in the world of watches. Our editorial team is constantly searching for new and exciting stories. Looking to introduce your watch collection? Or are you a blogger simply considering cooperation opportunities? Write to us at editorial@chronext.com.

Exceptional Service

Providing excellent customer service is one of our top priorities. We deliver your watch fast and with utmost attention to detail. Should you be looking for a specific model which is not in stock, we are happy to source it for you - free of any extra charges. If you would like to sell a watch, our experts will advise you on market developments and the ideal selling price for your timepiece.

Should you have any questions regarding delivery, price or history of a specific model, your personal advisor will be happy to help at any time.

+44 20 3901 3512

Guaranteed Authenticity

We always guarantee a safe transaction. When you buy or sell a watch on CHRONEXT, your contract of sale is made directly with us. We take legal responsibility for every transaction and provide the highest data security standards, secure payment methods and fully insured shipment. In order to ensure the authenticity and quality of all watches sold through us, every timepiece is thoroughly checked by our watchmakers before it is ever shipped to our customers.

This is guaranteed through our Certificate which you will receive with the purchase of any watch from CHRONEXT - new or pre-owned.

Fair Prices

Only the best is good enough for our customers. This goes for prices just as well as for service and security. Luxury watches are hardly ever cheap but there are still significant differences in price levels depending on where you shop. Thanks to our vast global network of suppliers and our low fixed costs, we are able to provide competitive prices at all times.

We scan the market daily for the best offers and always keep our prices up to date. Most important however is that our competitive prices will never lead us to compromise security and quality.

Change of Shipping Country

You have changed your shipping country. When changing this setting between an EU-country and a country outside of the European Union prices shown in the shop are automatically adjusted to reflect local VAT in the shipping country in some cases.

Ok
×
CHRONEXT Boutique Berlin

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Boutique Friedrichstraße 71
10117 Berlin
DE

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Boutique
×
CHRONEXT Boutique London

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Boutique 53 Fleet St
London EC4Y 1BE
GB

Phone

+44 20 3588 0044

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Boutique
×
CHRONEXT Lounge Hamburg

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Ballindamm 39
20095 Hamburg
DE

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
CHRONEXT Lounge Vienna

Opening hours

By appointment only

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Kohlmarkt 8-10
1010 Wien
AT

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
CHRONEXT Lounge Munich

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Maximilianstraße 2
80539 München
DE

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
CHRONEXT Lounge Frankfurt a. M.

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Taunustor 1
60310 Frankfurt a. M.
DE

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
CHRONEXT Lounge Cologne

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Lichtstraße 25
50825 Köln
DE

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
CHRONEXT Lounge Zug

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Feldpark 9
6300 Zug
CH

Phone

+41 41 539 10 90

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
CHRONEXT Lounge Hong Kong
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
CHRONEXT Lounge List auf Sylt

Opening hours

By appointment only

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge EKZ Lister-Markt Hafenstr. 2a
25992 List auf Sylt
DE

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
CHRONEXT Lounge Paris

Opening hours

By appointment only

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Rue Mayet 14
75006 Paris
FR

Phone

+33 1 87 15 32 80

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×
Thank You for Subscribing

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter! You will receive an email from us shortly. Please check your inbox and confirm your registration to start receiving updates from the world of fine timepieces.

Continue shopping
Error

An error has accured while registering your e-mail for our newsletter. Please try again.

Ok