Aviator watches have served a key purpose in the lives of pilots for decades. In the age when these watches were depended on the most—back before we had the instruments now—pilots used their aviator watches to gauge altitude and velocity, and to tell the time of day it was in multiple time zones.
Because of these needs, aviator watches were made to hold many different instruments that were incredibly valuable and reliable.
What Is an Aviator Watch?
These days, aviator watches serve more for their look than their purpose in the skies. Watch collectors and casual watch-wearers alike enjoy aviator watches because they’re made with premium materials and often have premium movements (the more expensive ones, that is). Aviator watches are typically chronographs and come in a rugged, military-inspired look.
While a watch might not specifically have “aviator” in its product title, that doesn’t mean it’s not. If you can see the features previously mentioned above, then you can call it an aviator watch—don’t worry, the watching police won’t come after you if you accidentally mischaracterize it.
The Best Aviator Watches for Men
Here are is our roundup of the best men’s aviator watches below. Enjoy!
AVI-8 Men’s ‘Hawker Harrier II’
Sporting a nylon and full leather band, the Hawker Harrier II is Japanese-made chronograph that reads off day, date, seconds, minutes, and 30m readouts. Our favorite features are the sword shaped hour and minute hands, a classic design feature in aviator watches.
Stührling Original Leather Aviation Watch
This Stührling model reps a unique face that showcases it’s quick-set day/date feature. The band is made of genuine leather and the hands of the watch a luminous so you can tell the time in the dark.
Casio Aviator Stainless Steel Watch
You can always count on Casio to give you quality at a wallet-friendly price. Made with stainless steel, this chronograph features a black multi-function dial and three subdials—a classic characteristic on an aviator watch.
Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
Affordable, rugged, and repping a look you can wear with virtually any outfit, the Expedition is a great entry level aviator watch. Note the sword hands and three subdials.
Stauer Stainless Steel Co-Pilot Watch
If you’re looking for something representative of a traditional avitator watch, this one from Stauer was created in ode to Royal Air Force pilots during World War II. It features markings to calculate velocity, a 24-hour subdial at 3 o’clock, and a chronograph 60-minute at 9 o’clock.
Mil-Tec Luftwaffe Aviator Vintage German WW2 Pilot Watch
Another vintage-inspired aviator wa19tch, but this one is what German pilots of the Luftwaffe would’ve worn. Repping sword-shaped minute and hour hands that are luminous, you’ve got an aviator watch that tells a story.
Citizen Avion Eco-Drive
Citizen has a lot of killer aviator watches. The Avion model is a little more understated than some of the flashier models, but that’s why it’s a solid watch for everyday wear.
The stainless steel band works well with the black dial to give you a cool, sophisticated look. And the watch itself has all the chronographic goodies you want.
Citizen Nighthawk Eco-Drive
Presenting the Nighthawk, wrapped in stainless steel and repping a super-sleek watch face.
David R. Scott made his touchdown on the moon wearing his personal Bulova chronograph, and if that doesn’t show you how well they make aviator watches we’re not sure what will. The Moonwatch was made in ode to that original touchdown and features beautiful luxury features.
A tried-and-true avitator military watch for the guy who loves a rugged silhouette.
John is the Style & Gear Editor for BroBible. You can contact him on Twitter @johnthompsoniv or via email John@brobible.com
The BroBible team writes about gear that we think you want. Occasionally, we write about items that are a part of one of our affiliate partnerships and we will get a percentage of the revenue from sales.