The most iconic aviator watches for men are gathered here – so you know which watch to invest in, or give as a gift!
Special Aviator Watches: The Reunited Icons
Interviewed a few months ago by Icon-Icon, Marie Sanna-Legrand, Director of the Collection Watch Department at La Maison ArtcurialWatchmaking is attracting an increasingly curious and younger clientele,” said Mr. Klaus. A niche sector that has become one of the sectors in which to invest, aviators’ watches are now pieces with an iconic design and aura.
Enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world are taking a close interest in some of the most emblematic aviator watches in history. Watches whose price sometimes borders on that of works of art – watches that, in the end, were able to innovate and shine with a design and function that were precisely close to works of art… Tool-watches with a complex and unique beauty and system!
And the aviator watches that open this selection are those signed by Rolex. As beautiful as they are powerful!
In Rolex’s rich repertoire, the Rolex GMT-Master 6542 is one of the first aviator watches in history, conceived in the 1950s. The company then imagined the Rolex GMT-Master 6542 accompanying the progress of civil aviation. La montre était capable d’afficher simultanément l’heure de deux fuseaux horaires. Beautiful and robust, the Rolex GMT-Master was inspired by the lines of the Oyster case, but gained in character with its own colours.
Today, the most sought-after Rolex aviator watch is the GMT-Master II. This watch is the successor to the mythical Rolex GMT-Master 6542… Designed to accompany the boom in travel, it is rapidly being fitted to airline pilots, as it meets their specific needs. In particular, by displaying the time in two time zones simultaneously! And it is precisely in new colours that the new expression of the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II will make its mark in 2022.
It features a two-tone Cerachrom bezel in green and black ceramic – Rolex’s signature colours.
A new addition to the Rolex repertoire, the Rolex Air-King pays tribute to the pioneers of aviation and the role of Oyster watches in the human adventure, and the conquest of the skies in particular. With a 40mm case in Rolex’s signature Oystersteel, the Air-King watch continues the aeronautical heritage of the first Rolex Oyster.
At Cartier, the Santos watch pays tribute to the aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont. Or rather the descendant of the watch designed by Louis Cartier for his friend… In 1900, Alberto Santos-Dumont expressed his embarrassment to Louis Cartier. It is impossible for him to read the time when he is at altitude. Cartier took up the issue and, with the support of master watchmaker Edmond Jaeger, eventually created the Santos. A practical watch allowing the aviator to check the time without having to take his hands off the controls.
An aviator’s watch par excellence, the Santos de Cartier has also become a Haute Horlogerie watch.
In the same spirit of an ideal watch for men who dream of conquering the skies… here is the IWC Aviator. IWC was one of the pioneers in the design of timepieces specifically adapted to the needs of aviation. This watch, L’Aviateur, is a condensed version of this rich know-how, enveloped in a watch with a chic and robust look… A reference that has been constantly reinvented since 1936!
Aesthetes in search of aviator watches will surely be delighted to own the watch that walked on the Moon. A man walked on the Moon for the first time 50 years ago, a moment that changed the course of history – and pushed the boundaries of possibility forever. A moment that would change the course of history – and push the boundaries of what is possible – forever. The Omega Speedmaster Mooonwatch made space and wristwatch history on Buzz Aldrin’s wrist And the history of wristwatches, as the Omega Moonwatch is one of the most iconic and stylish watches for men!
Born of the encounter of innovative and unexpected materials and carried by the company’s mantra of ‘the art of fusion’, the Hublot Big Bang is a benchmark in men’s watches as beautiful as they are powerful!
The Big Bang is the story of a process of fusion in watchmaking with the use of new materials. The President of LVMH Watch Division, Jean-Claude Biver stated, “Fusion was already coming to fruition in the areas of architecture and gastronomy. However, in 2005 the concept of fusion was still new in watchmaking”. Inspired by the way Les Paul, the legendary guitarist, essentialized the functions of the acoustic guitar to invent the electric guitar, the Hublot teams immediately sought to reproduce this pattern in watchmaking. The result? A 70-component sandwich case, otherwise known as the Big Bang.
In 1952, Breitling published the very first version of what would become a legend in a few years: the Navitimer. Equipped with a circular slide rule, the wrist instrument, specially designed for pilots and air professionals, accompanied the rise of commercial aviation, equipping airline planes with its on-board chronographs… A legendary watch, then, the Breitling Navitimer, which in its most recent versions continues to perpetuate the company’s history. The entire design of the Navitimer is in fact inspired by the on-board instruments produced in Breitling’s Department 8 in the 1940s…
At Tag Heuer, here is a new watch that celebrates the company’s involvement in aviation with the Tag Heuer Autavia Cosc Gmt… The watchmaker details: “The two pillars of TAG Heuer’s history: the automobile and aviation. Originally used, from 1933 onwards, for dashboard counters in cars and aircraft, the Autavia name then continues to make its way into wristwatches.”
Legibility, functionality, durability and precision. Aviators’ watches combine technical and beauty requirements. In this sense, the iconic Bell & Ross watch, the BR 01, has its place in this selection.
The BR 01 has established itself in the world of watchmaking as a genuine creative platform: tourbillon, tourbillon-minuteur, power reserve, skeleton, large date, GMT, chrono, the BR 01 has been able to reinvent itself through conceptual innovation – Flight Instruments, Heritage, Phantom, Tête de Mort, B-Rocket… The first BR 01 was presented at Baselworld in 2005. Under the impulse of a team of designers, associated with specialists in aviation instruments, the BR 01 is a watch perfectly adapted to professional use. Today, the Bell & Ross icon is available in a collection of ideal watches!
Finally, it is an absolute icon of the genre that closes this selection of the most beautiful aviator’s watches… The El Primero watch from Zenith, reintroduced in 2021!
While El Primero went down in watchmaking history as the world’s first high-frequency automatic chronograph – the watch made headlines for its soaring field experience!
In addition to its eye-catching dial and tonneau shape, El Primero A385 also owes its name and legend to the plane of the same name! Yes, because in 1970, Zenith came up with the idea of a large-scale operation to prove the Olympian qualities of its watch, Operation Sky by Zenith. The El Primero watch was attached to the landing gear of an Air France Boeing 707 on a flight from Paris to New York. Made to test its resistance to external aggressions, such as drastic temperature fluctuations, wind force and air pressure changes… The El Primero watch emerged unscathed from this experience!
A very special aviator’s watch, to be acquired without hesitation!