best pilot watches under 200

The Best Pilot Watches Under 200

Pilot watches have been around since the early 1900s. At a time when pocket watches were no longer good enough for pilots needing to know time and speed, the first Pilot watch was invented.

Since those early first watches, Pilots watches have evolved through a few different styles.

First their was the WW2 Flieger style watch that was a simple dial with an arrow at the top and easy to read, large clear dial.

Later, more complex calculations were required and the bezel and outer ring of the watch was used to help pilots instead.

In this post I am going to show you some of the best pilot style watches on the market for under 200 bucks!

FLIEGER STYLE

1. Stuhrling Original Aviator

Keeping to the original German Flieger style, at least around the outside, this watch from Stuhrling stands out from the crowd.

With large arabic indexes at 6 and 12, and an inner train of minutes, it appears to be a flieger from the start. It’s the inner part of the dial that is unique though with the day indicator appearing raised and along the vertical, as well as the raised branding at 9 o’clock.

The black leather band also has a rugged look with the two studs just below the pin.

It also comes in 3 different color/style combos, so you can choose the one that suits you best.

  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Krysterna Crystal
  • Day/Date function
  • Stainless steel case with calfskin leather band
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft)
  • Case size: 44 x 9.7mm

2. Orient Flight

Another more traditional flieger style watch from Orient is the Flight. It has a very simple and clear  dial with contrasting colors. The minute markets are large along the outer, and the inner hour markers are quite small. 

It has a date window at 3 o’clock and the prominent flieger arrow at 12 o’clock. The canvas band adds to the rough and ready feel you expect from a pilots watch too.

It also comes in a large variety of colors and other band options (I think the canvas is more true to the flieger) like steel as well.

  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Scratch Resistant Mineral
  • Date function
  • Stainless steel case with canvas (or steel) band
  • Water resistant to 50m (165ft)
  • Case size: 42 x 9mm

3. Parnis Classic & Army

This pilot’s watch from Parnis is different to the standard in some many ways, yet still screams flieger! Clear white markings on a black background. An oversized crown. The upwards arrow at 12 o’clock. All absolute classic markers of this kind of watch.

The first thing you notice is the seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock, which is something rarely seen on any watch. The lack of writing or branding in general may put some people off, but it helps keep focus on the watch’s simplicity.

This is a completely manual hand-wound watch and for some a little loud (like a Swatch if you have ever owned one) but for the look and throwback to old style watches, it’s a great purchase.

 

  • Tianjin seagull movement with manual winding
  • Mineral Crystal
  • Seconds sub-dial function
  • Stainless steel case with see-through back
  • Water resistant to 30m (100ft)
  • Case size: 44 x 11mm

4. Parnis Flieger Big Pilot Automatic

A more classic flieger from Parnis, this version is lacking the sub-dial but has a date window at 3 o’clock. 

It also has the Parnis branding at 12 o’clock and comes with an automatic movement, which most people will appreciate (not having to wind it every day or two :>).

  • Seagull Automatic movement
  • Hardlex acrylic crystal
  • Date function at 3 o'clock
  • Stainless steel case and leather band
  • Water resistant to 30m (100ft)
  • Case size: 45 x 15.5mm

Parnis Flieger Big Pilot Black Dial Calendar Automatic Men's Women's Black Leather Strap Wrist Watch

5. Citizen Eco-Drive Pilot

Another style of pilot watch that has become popular is based on the German observer watch. It features an inner ring to help quickly and easily determine how many minutes have pass.

This Citizen is just such a Pilot Observer watch. A perfectly round steel case with inner and outer markings. A large crown just like the WW2 pilots liked to use with their gloves on. And a extended date window at 3 o’clock.

Lastly, being an eco-drive, this watch is solar charged and won’t need battery replacement.

  • Eco-drive (Solar) movement
  • Mineral crystal
  • Day/Date function at 3 o'clock
  • Stainless steel case and calf skin leather band with white stitching
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft)
  • Case size: 45 x 12mm
Citizen Men's Eco-Drive Brown Leather Strap Watch with Date, AW1361-10H

6. Mil-Tec Luftwaffe ME 109 Pilot Vintage

If you want to go with a true classic flieger watch, this replica German Luftwaffe from Mil-Tec goes for the authenic look.

Large clear numbering and markers, big white hands, a large crown and a nice brown leather strap to add to the look.

You are either going to love or hate the faded dial coloring, designed to make this watch look aged.

  • Quartz movement
  • Mineral crystal window
  • Stainless steel case and rubber band
  • Water resistant to 200m (600ft)
  • Case size: 40 x 15mm
Mil-Tec Luftwaffe ME 109 Pilot Vintage Quartz Watch with Brown Leather Strap

7. Seiko 5 SNK809, 807, 805

Not very often referred to as a Pilot Watch, this Seiko 5 has all the markings we expect from such a watch. The upwards arrow at 12 o’clock, the outside minute markings and clear contrasting dial/marker colors.

The Seiko 5 range is a classic of quality, durablility and value. Loved by watch wearers around the world. You can so much for your money with such a watch: day/date, hardlex crystal glass and an automatic movement. 

  • Seiko Automatic movement
  • Hardlex scratch-resistant crystal
  • Day/Date function at 3 o'clock
  • Stainless steel case and canvas band
  • Water resistant to 30m (100ft)
  • Case size: 37 x 11mm

MODERN AVIATOR STYLE

8. Invicta 17204 AVIATOR

As flying became more complex, the needs of the modern aviator developed. So too did the watches, offering more methods of determining speed, direction and countless other values.

This Invicta Aviator is typical of such watches with the 3 sub-dial chronometer with large push buttons above and below the crown, and the tachymeter around the bezel.

There is also a compass ring on the very outside of the dial, adding to the features this watch has to offer.

It comes in both a black/red or blue/gold/red variation.

  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Scratch Resistant Mineral
  • Date function, Chronometer, Tachymeter, Compass
  • Stainless steel case and bracelet
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft)
  • Case size: 48 x 16mm
Invicta Men's 17204 AVIATOR Stainless Steel Casual Watch
Invicta Men's 17203 AVIATOR Stainless Steel and 18k Rose Gold Ion-Plated Watch

9. Seiko Flightmaster Pilot (SND255 & SND253)

The Seiko Flightmaster is a renowned aviator watch with more calculation possibilities on the bezel than any other watch I have seen. Including a 3-dial chrono, compass, sliderule outer ring and more.

It stands out from the crowd with the stunning blue dial, luminous hands, red second hand and brushed stainless steel case.

You won’t find anything like the Flightmaster on the market at this price point.

  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Scratch Resistant Mineral
  • Date function, Chronometer, Tachymeter, Compass
  • Stainless steel case and bracelet
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft)
  • Case size: 41 x 10mm
Seiko Men's SND255P1 Flightmaster Pilot Slide Rule Chronograph Watch

10. Casio Men's Edifice EF527D-1AV

Casio has a similar looking model to the Flightmaster in their Edifice range. The crown is rather unusually on the left hand side of this watch, which makes it even more unique.

Overall, this watch is quite a bit larger than the Seiko at 45mm, which may suit some people with larger wrists.

  • Quartz Movement
  • Date function, Chronometer, Speed, Fuel
  • Stainless steel case and bracelet
  • Water resistant to 100m (330ft)
  • Case size: 45.5mm
Casio Men's Edifice EF527D-1AV Stainless Steel Multi-Function Watch

11. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk

Citizen have given their own unique spin to the aviator style watch which I think looks stunning.

Similar to the flightmaster style above, it has a complex calculation style sliding bezel but the hour/minute portion of the watch is still clearly visible in the middle ring.

The inner area has a date function of course, but also a dual-time GMT capability on the left hand side.

  • Eco-Drive (Solar) Movement
  • Date function, Sliding bezel, GMT dual-time
  • Stainless steel case and bracelet with safety clasp
  • Water resistant to 200m (660ft)
  • Case size: 42 x 13mm
Citizen Men's Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk Dual Time Watch with Date, BJ7000-52E