Classic pilot watches were designed to be legible in all light conditions and worn over a flight jacket. They needed to be tough and really clear to someone who was wearing goggles. Companies such as IWC and Glashutte pioneered the designs, and since then many others have taken the look in many directions. Those that stick with tradition do it best.
German watch maker Archimede has spent a good deal of their efforts on pilot watches, with good results. Faces are often the same, with bold luminant smothered number markers against a black dial. Pilot watches were among the first “big watches,” so we can enjoy amble proportions. These two new PVD coated “Black Pilot” watches from Archimede do the tradition justice. The good news about the watches is that they are fully featured, but without taking away from the theme. Inside you will find either an ETA 2824, or Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement. Both automatic movements of course. The three hand model has a nicely integrated black background date, but the chronograph version curiously removes the date feature, for a cleaner look most likely.
Sizes are 42mm (though there is a smaller 39mm version, but we don’t need to talk about that) for the watches, and they come with the traditional large “turnip” crowns. These were originally intended to provide easy winding while wearing gloves. The black PVD cases against the black leather strap with white stitching looks really nice. A handsome watch that will do the trick to fill your pilot watch void.
Prices are reasonable at 375 (three hands) or 925 (Chronograph) Euros for the watches. You can do the calculation to US dollars yourself. Spare me the humiliation of our weak dollar. Regardless, the values are good considering the IWC or Glashutte versions are upwards of $5,000. Check out the Archimede Black Pilot PVD, and other models where you can.
See Archimede watches on eBay here.
See Archimede watches on Amazon here.