Your Ultimate Guide To A Timepiece Shopping: Best Pilot Watch Under $500

So, what’s a perfect watch? How can you identify one? And how can you find one in a friendly price range? With our article here, we will explain that it consists of some simple reasoning. Most are so often fawn over the gold-laden, most pristine house-costing timepieces. Yes, your watch can be a luxury good but a watch can also just be the accessory you wear on your wrist that tells the costs and time. And we normalize saying this — that an affordable watch can still be truly amazing and carry you with class.

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Why A Pilot Watch?

Pilots are always on a strict timeline. So they do require a timepiece that will match up to the rigors of flying high in the sky all the time. Also, some aircraft demand pilots to have specialized watches to meet the outfit of the job. Not only these timepieces are beautiful, but they can keep the users at the top of their game. While modern aviation watches are mostly identifiable in form only, there are still functional contrasts that set them apart from any run-of-the-mill watches.

Mostly modeled after the Luftwaffe Fliegers, pilot timepieces are also reminiscent of RAF and of course, the film Top Gun. Pilots have to take into account several crucial factors when looking for a quality watch. For instance, it requires being able to handle sudden alterations in air pressure. Some watches will show faulty readings over time, under the drop of air pressure and/or contact with water. A pilot doesn’t have moments for these faults to deal with, which is why they need a watch with such qualities.

Affordable Watch Brands

Some of the top watchmaking companies on the planet today manufacture affordable watches. Their timepieces are truly well-made, as well as equipped with cool features. These brands have historical importance and plenty of variations with unique and interesting choices.

Among our list of the top affordable timepieces, you’ll find some repeated manufacturers. That’s because a few of the brands make a bunch of top-quality affordable watches. But if you like a wider array of choices, let us kindly know.

But our considerate picks are Seiko, Citizen, Hamilton, Swatch, Timex, Bulova, and Orient.

Best Pilot Watches Under 500 List

Seiko 5 Black Dial Canvas Automatic Mens Watch Snk809

It comes with a stainless steel case and a black canvas bracelet. The fixed bezel of stainless steel. Black dial with luminous hands. Arabic numeral hour and minute markers. Arabic markers work at 5-minute intervals. Around the outer rim has minute markers. It features Luminescent hands. Day and date display positioned along with the 3 o’clock position. Seiko offers automatic movement with about 40 hours of power stock. Water-resistant at 30 meters or 100 feet. Hardlex crystal offers scratch resistance. Suitable for snorkeling and swimming. Not suitable for diving.

SEIKO Men's SNK809 SEIKO 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Black Canvas Strap
  • To the start the watch initially, swing from side to side in a horizontal arc about 30 seconds.
  • 37 mm stainless steel case and Hardlex mineral dial window and Precise 21-jewel automatic movement with analog display

Seiko Chronograph Snn241

Seiko’s SNN241 is a recalibrated, polished luxury dress watch. But it’s affordable and doesn’t lack in quality. Its pristine functional ability and sleek design make it one of the best timepieces available under the $500 price range. The construction traits consist of a stainless steel body, a contrast-stitched leather band. The band makes this watch look more swaggering and high-class than you’d initially perceive. 42mm stainless steel case with a diameter of 11mm. Date displays at the sixth-hour position. Chronograph measures up to an hour of activity. Water resistance works up to 100 meters. Accurately tuned Japanese Quartz movement.

Seiko Men's SNN241 Stainless Steel Watch with Brown Leather Band
  • Versatile stainless steel watch featuring brown dial with two subdials and date window at 6 o'clock
  • 42.6-mm stainless steel case with hardlex dial window
  • Japanese quartz movement with analog display
  • Contrast-stitched leather band with buckle closure
  • Water resistant to 100 m (330 ft): In general, suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not scuba diving

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk

Level up to new heights with this Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk aviator watch. A flight watch for both professional and novice pilots. Nighthawk has a pilot’s slide rule dial ring. The ring operates by a crown at the 8 o’clock position. Dual date, time, non-reflective crystal, and big luminous markers – all for easy readability. 42mm screw-back case of stainless steel. Featuring the Eco-Drive technology which is powered by any light. Does not require a battery. Water resistance to 660 feet or 200 meters. Low-charge indicator window, a scratch-resistant, non-reflective mineral crystal, and power saver function.

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Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk Quartz Mens Watch, Stainless Steel, Pilot watch, Silver-Tone (Model: BJ7000-52E)
  • Stainless steel watch featuring date window at three o’clock position, dual-time display, and pilot's slide rule inner chapter ring operated by crown at 8 o'clock position
  • 42 millimeters stainless steel case with mineral dial window
  • Eco-Drive Technology, Never Needs a Battery
  • Also features low-charge warning, luminous hands/markers, and Silver-tone band with foldover push-button clasp
  • Water resistant to 200 m (660 ft): In general, suitable for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports, but not scuba diving.

Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch In Stainless Steel

Citizen’s proprietary technology of Eco-Drive powers this watch using the most renewable energy – light. By converting any natural or artificial light to energy, it gets stored in a lithium-ion cell which is permanently rechargeable. Ensures surplus energy inside the power cell also. Capable of harnessing energy from indoor fluorescents and desk lamps. Continuously runs for months—even in darkness, so the watch can run forever. 100-meter water resistance, made with mineral crystals, 3 hands for the date, and luminous hands.

Seiko Sna411 Men’s Pilot Watch Alarm Chronograph

Round-shaped watch with black dial. Featuring a gear-edge bezel and multiple subdials. Date window, and fluted crown of 42 mm stainless steel case. It has a Hardlex dial window, Japanese quartz movement with a display. Stainless steel link bracelet comes with a fold-over push-button clasp. Safety closure, water-resistant to 200 m or 660 ft. In general, perfect for professional marine activity, serious surface water sports. Not suitable for scuba diving. Item weight is 6.35 Ounces.

Seiko Men's SNA411 Flight Alarm Chronograph Watch
  • Round watch with black dial featuring gear-edge bezel, multiple subdials, date window, and fluted crown
  • 42 mm stainless steel case with Hardlex dial window
  • Japanese quartz movement with display
  • Stainless steel link bracelet with fold-over push-button clasp and safety closure
  • Water resistant to 200 m (660 ft): In general, suitable for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports, but not scuba diving

Laco Type B Dial Miyota Automatic Pilot Watch 861690

The newly updated timepiece with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The Laco 861690 model comes with a new 42mm case design. It houses a Citizen Miyota 821A automatic self-winding movement. It has already turned a big hit in both Type B dial and type A dial. For excellent readability in the dark the dial and hands, markers are treated with SuperLuminova. As the original WW2 Laco watches, there is no date window here. The brown leather strap has rivets. The case is solid stainless steel, sandblasted, 12mm thick. The leather strap is brown. Water Resistant for 50 meters. The warranty is 2 years.

Laco Type B Dial Miyota Automatic Pilot Watch 861690
  • Made in Germany
  • Stainless-steel case, black dial, Superluminova
  • Automatic-self-wind movement from Miyota
  • Case diameter: 42mm
  • Original WWII German Pilot watch design

Avi-8 Hawker Hurricane

The AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane equipped with a classic aviation-inspired chronograph. The classic case houses detailed dials, colors, and graphics. They are to celebrate the adventure and spirit of a bygone era. Straightforward hour indexing, detailed vintage-designed subdials of the chronograph, and bold hands. All blended to make a timepiece that is elegant and precise in performance, stylish in its comment on the user. Strapped with an authentic leather strap that is both casual yet dressy. A timepiece that nods to performance and chivalry.

AVI-8 Mens Hawker Hurricane Watch - Army Green/Gunmetal Grey
  • Has a Japanese Quartz, is water resistant up to 5ATM and a date for a simple yet masculine finish. Its band width if 2.2cm
  • features a classic design with flawless colours and graphics that celebrate the spirit of adventurism of an era gone by. With a bold dial and detailed vintage designed sub dials of the chronograph, this will make you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
  • 4.2cm(Case Diameter) x 1.1cm(Case Depth)
  • Gunmetal Plated Stainless Steel and Leather
  • Complete in a AVi-8 presentation box.

Chotovelli Men’s Big Pilot Chronograph Watch 747-14

Using a retro build from WW2, this Italian-themed timepiece garners a lot of respect from around. The jet-black dial, stainless-steel case, and SuperLuminova illumination make this stylish watch fit in with whatever decade you want to throwback to. The Citizen Miyota movement will be keeping it running also for many decades in the future. Its diameter 50.2 mm, with 16.1 mm thickness. Stainless steel, Japan made full Chronograph movement, the leather strap is Italian Calf Leather, hardened mineral glass, shiny black dial with luminous hands. Water-resistant for 100m /10ATM /330Ft.

Chotovelli Men’s Big Pilot Chronograph Watch Sapphire Italian Leather Band 747.100 (Black)
  • Massive 50MM Surgical grade 316L Stainless Steel Brush finish
  • Genuine Soft Calfskin Italian Leather Band with Buckle Closure
  • Anti Reflective Sapphire glass window with Luminous Hand and hour Markers
  • Japan Made Citizen Miyota OS 21 Chronograph movement
  • Water resistant to 100 m (330 ft.): Suitable for swimming and diving, YOU GET Pilot Watch X 1, Original Gift Box X 1. 12 Months Warranty, Lifetime Chotovelli Customer Service

Marathon Ww194013-S Swiss Made Military Issue Pilot’s Watch

Built to government-specified military personnel usage. Nato Stock Number 6645-01-544-9475 is engraved on the back of the case. This aviation watch comes with self-illuminating tritium gas tubes glow. They need no charge by any external light source. Designed for paratroopers and pilots. Offers a lightweight high impact with its fiber shell case. Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Swiss-made ETA F06 3 jewel provides a high-torque Quartz movement with an End-of-Life indicator for quality and superior timekeeping. Submersibility works up to 6ATM. Marathon watches are all manufactured in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland (since 1939).

Orient Men's Japanese Automatic Sport Watch with Stainless Steel Strap, Silver, 19.9 (Model: RA-AC0H01L10A)
  • Orient F6722 Automatic Hand Winding Hacking Movement
  • 42. 4 mm Case Diameter
  • 22 mm Lug Width
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100 Meter Water Resistance

Orient Men’s Ra-Ac0h01l10a Pilot Style Sports Watch

The RA-AC0H men’s sports watch is easier to read and way-less cluttered. This pilot-styled sports watch is an automatic one with resized hash marks. The outer dial has an extra ring around it. Waterproof, time-telling easy. Reminiscent of the classic Flieger Type-B designs. A 42.4mm size, it’s a dress watch a man can wear for classic feeling.

The stylish stainless steel watch designed with the F6722 movement. Allowing it to be precise and the ability to switch from automatic to hacking or hand-winding movements. It an automatic watch that is water-resistant up to 100m or 365ft. It can withstand splashes and immersion in water or even a heavy downpour of rain. A casual large-faced timepiece will go perfect with a formal or even a semi-formal attire.

Marathon 41mm Pilot's Navigator with Date, Tritium, Sapphire Crystal, Steel Crown, Battery Hatch, ETA F06 Quartz Movement, Swiss Made, Military Issue (US Government Markings, Black)
  • MIL-SPEC: Built to Government specifications for use by military personnel. Nato Stock Number 6645-01-544-9475 engraved on case back
  • TRITIUM GAS TUBES: Self illuminating tritium gas tubes glow with no need to be charged by an external light source.
  • PILOT'S WATCH: Designed for pilots and paratroopers. Features a lightweight high impact fibreshell case and scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
  • HIGH TORQUE MOVEMENT: Swiss made ETA F06 3 jewel high-torque Quartz movement with EOL (End-of-Life) indicator for superior timekeeping and quality. Submersibility: 6ATM
  • SWISS MADE: Marathon watches are proudly made in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland since 1939.

Buying Tips For Your Pilot Watch

Before you jump into buying one, let’s discuss a few things you should keep in mind when shopping out for your perfect pilot watch.

  1. Consider the kind of timepiece you’d like to have. A fashion-forward pilot timepiece might not be for everyone. A more minimalistic styled approach is better if you want to wear and match it with most of your outfits. Pilot watches have many varieties of styles and shapes. Depending on personal tastes, not all styles are going to fit you.
  2. Consider your budget. A higher price point generally means more sophistication. You can find pilot watches depending on features that vary from under $200 to over $1000. If your budget allows for a more complex timepiece, some brilliant options exist in the $500 to $1000 range and even above, as we will discuss a few in the list below.
  3. Decide what features are important to you. Do you need a compass or altimeter? Do features like GPS, charts, etc. are needed or not? Depending on your requirements, you can buy a pilot watch that may offer more or fewer attributes.
  4. We recommend minimalistic-themed watches. They offer just the time and a stopwatch function. But look great with all kinds of outfits.
  5. Finally, consider the size of your hand and wrist. Different-sized straps are based on the wrist circumference. The larger the watch strap is, the better it fits for a person with a bigger wrist.

Best Pilot Watches Under $1000

If your budget allows for the best of the best, there are some great pilot watches you can purchase.

GARMIN D2 DELTA

A German-style watch from Laco, Augsburg. It is sure to delight non-pilots and pilots alike. The aviator watch is derived from the original World War 2 design. The sapphire crystal is scratch-resistant. SuperLuminova technology is there for user’s comfortability to read.

But this Laco watch does not have a date display, simply owing to the tradition of WW2-style watches. The brown leather strap is comfortable and has rivet details for extra style.

It has a Type A dial. The case diameter is 42 millimeters. The movement on this watch is self-winding automatic. Water-resistant up to 50 meters. A 2-year warranty.

Garmin D2 Delta, GPS Pilot Watch, Includes Smartwatch features, Heart Rate and Music, Titanium with Brown Leather Band
  • Premium GPS aviator watch with dynamic color mapping, NEXRAD weather (when paired with a compatible smartphone), automatic flight Logging and alerts for Course deviations, pattern altitudes and more
  • Synchronize with your Avionics for enhanced GPS navigation and mapping data
  • Smart notifications (when paired with a compatible smartphone) help you keep in touch on the go, while Sport watch functions offer estimated wrist-based heart rate, activity profiles, fitness tracking and more
  • Easily store and play up to 500 songs on your watch, and connect with audio panel or headset (sold separately) equipped with Bluetooth technology for phone-free listening (requires compatible Bluetooth device)
  • Garmin Pay contactless payment solution (with participating banks) lets you make convenient payments with your watch, so you can leave your cash and cards at home

Hamilton Men’s Khaki Pilot Watch

The Hamilton men’s dial watch provides striking number readings. Designed for a classy, bold look. Inspired by the aviator watches of the past decades, it has a calendar display, Swiss automatic movement, and a diameter of the 46-millimeter case. The case is stainless steel, which looks gorgeous against its brown leather band. The sapphire glass dial window is anti-glare. Ensuring crystal clear reading. Also scratch-resistant. It will stand up to the daily rigors of play and work. The watch has water-resistance capability for up to 660 feet. Comes with a 2-year warranty. The sleek design looks great with uniforms, as well as other casual or formal wear. Most users admit that this watch is large but still looks great on smaller hands and wrists.

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Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Day Date Swiss Automatic Watch 46mm Case, Grey Dial, Brown Leather Strap (Model: H64715885)
  • Automatic movement
  • Durable sapphire crystal protects watch from scratches
  • Case diameter: 45.4 mm
  • Stainless-Steel case
  • Water-resistant to 660 feet (200 M)

Alpina Al-247nb4e6 Men’s Stainless Steel Watch

The Alpiner Quartz GMT is a perfect mix of casual and sporty. The stylish timepiece has features like 4 hand quartz GMT movement, brushed and polished 42mm case of stainless steel, a blue sunray dial, silver luminous markers, a perforated leather strap, a 24-hour black and blue GMT bezel, sapphire crystal for anti-reflection. Water-resistant up to 100M. A perfect watch for a traveler.

Alpina Men's Stainless Steel Swiss Quartz Sport Watch with Leather Strap, Black, 21 (Model: AL-247NB4E6)
  • The Alpiner Quartz GMT is a perfect blend of sporty and casual. This stylish new timepiece features a 4 hand quartz GMT movement inside the brushed and polished 42mm stainless steel case. It has a blue sunray dial with silver luminous markers, a 24 hour black and blue GMT bezel, a perforated leather strap, an anti-reflective sapphire crystal and a screw down crown making it water reistant to 100M. This is the perfect watch for any traveler or watch entusiast.
  • Anti-Reflective Sapphire Crystal
  • Hours, Minutes, Second, date, GMT

Oris Big Crown Propilot

One of the limited edition timepieces comes with a black dial with Arabic hour markers. Grey PVD coated stainless steel case. Grey textile fabric strap made with red inner lining. A 45mm case diameter. Oris has a self-winding automatic movement date attribute. Also with GMT second time zone and small seconds. Big Crown ProPilot offers a successful function-based design.

Glycine Watch With Stainless Steel Gl0156-Mbairfighter

The blue dial has an amplified presence with a mix of silver-tone hands. Silver-tone stainless steel case and band. Automatic movement and water resistance of 100 meters or 330 feet. Bi-directional rotational bezel. Scratch-resistant with the usage of sapphire crystal. Fold over with safety release grip. The case size is 44 mm x 12.20 mm. Glycine GL0156 has Swiss-made automatic movement.

Combat Vintage Mens Analog Automatic Watch with Stainless Steel Bracelet GL0290
  • Featuring a Black PVD Band, Black PVD Case, Scratch Resistant Sapphire Crystal

FAQ

What Is Special About A Pilot Watch?

Legible and large dial for easy and quick reading of time in all weather. Luminosity offers enhanced readability for a night/dark environment. Oversized Winding Crown as historically pilots wore gloves and therefore required a large crown. Extra Bezel Markings that can help with calculations like wind correction angles and fuel burn. Dual Time or GMT to track multiple time zones or coordinated UTC.

Why Do Pilot Watches Have Minutes?

To read the time correctly and accurately under strenuous situations. It also helps to read the positional and mapping configuration on the fly.

Why Do Pilots Wear Two Watches?

According to the aviation traditions, two timepieces allow flight crew/s to pin down the exact instance for regular logging and records as well as for emergency critical occurrences during a flight.

Do Pilots Have To Wear Watches?

Modern day aviation rules may not exclusively require their officers to wear one. It all comes down to the combination of the individual choice and tradition of the outfit. 

Do Pilots Wear G Shock?

Yes, they do. G Shock and Garmin are two of the most prevalent wristwatch brands for the current or ex-pilots around the world.

Conclusion

Pilot timepieces have existed for more than a century. It has evolved, by incorporating a stylish, sleek, and dressy aesthetic without discarding the original concept of being an aviation accessory: giving time in multiple locations; including military personnel, measuring the altitude, calculating the speed and distance traveled. As well as different time zones and other functionalities. Similar to a pair of top-notch aviation sunglasses, a pilot watch can not only round off the snazziest outfit but also remain practical for daily usage.

If you’re searching for a high-quality pilot timepiece, we hope our best pilot watch under 500 list above does the justice for you. Whether you like to splurge and get yourself an advanced-level aviation watch or just need a minimalistic timepiece these watches will work for any budget. So if you are going out to buy one or upgrade from your current model, make sure to read out our preferences before making the decision.

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