15 BEST Seiko Pilot Watches for the Aviation Enthusiasts! (2023)
After World War II, when commercial aviation started to take off (pun intended), the pilot was king. Aviation was an exciting new industry. Many wanted to be pilots or date them. The industry even shaped the style of that era, from leather bomber jackets to aviation sunglasses to pilot’s watches.
Today, aviation style and timepieces are still popular with men and women, and Seiko has filled that space in a big way. Seiko is one of the leading watch companies to make pilot watches. Their watches include easy-to-read dials, chronographs, slide rule bezels, GMTs, and tools for making calculations on the fly (again, with the puns).
From the classic black dials and brown leather straps to cutting-edge technology in solar and GPS, Seiko likely has everything one could desire. In this article, we’ll explore 15 of the best aviation timepieces Seiko has on the market.
Some are new, and some have been around for a while, but there’s something for everyone and every budget on this list. If you’re an amateur or commercial pilot or an aviation enthusiast in the market for a fetching, useful pilot’s watch, let’s discover what Seiko has to offer.
About Seiko Pilot Watches
Seiko has produced some fine aviation collections. One of their most popular is the Seiko Prospex Flightmaster, which typically features chronographs, slide rule bezels, and reliable quartz movements. Most of the watches in this line are also water resistant to 200m.
The Seiko Prospex Solar Chronograph is another well-regarded model, which is solar-powered and typically features an alarm, dual time, and chronograph functions. It’s also water resistant to 100m, which is a good baseline for a pilot’s watch, as pilots and travelers often fly over large bodies of water.
Seiko’s Astron collection is also quite unique with its GPS solar-powered features. Of course, Seiko is also known for its Prospex Diver’s Watch, its line of dress watches with stunning enamel dials, and its 5 Sports collection of rugged sports watches.
Seiko takes great pride in their work, and they’re known for making everything that goes into their products, from their in-house movements to the lubricant that keeps the gears turning. This kind of craftsmanship is only typically reserved for higher-end luxury brands, but Seiko provides this across all their collections, not just the Grand Seiko, which is true for their pilot watches.
History of Seiko Pilot’s Watches
Seiko first started in Tokyo in 1881 as a watch repair shop. From those humble beginnings, they’ve risen to be one of the titans in the industry. They’re currently a multi-billion dollar enterprise, competing with the likes of Citizen, Omega, and Rolex.
After World War II, Japan became a major player in the aviation industry. Companies like Mitsubishi and Kawasaki started producing military and civilian aircraft, and Japan became a major aviation exporter of equipment and technology. Commercial airline companies like Japan Airlines would go on to become some of the most successful in the world. Out of this environment, Seiko developed its popular aviation collections.
As air travel became more common in the 1960s, Seiko began selling their first pilot’s watches. One model that quickly rose in popularity was the Navigator Timer, which was released in 1964. The timepiece featured a large, easy-to-read dial and flight tools. In the years since, they’ve only added more technology, and the Navigator has become popular among collectors.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, new tools were added to their aviation collections, including hacking seconds and slide rule bezels for flight planning and quick calculations. In recent years, they’ve also added solar and GSP-linked automatic timekeeping.
Since 2008, Seiko has expanded its partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and this led to the 2019 introduction of the limited edition JAXA-branded pilot’s watch with an automatic movement, a 50-hour power reserve, and a water resistance to 200m, plus the inclusion of the JAXA emblem on the back.
Overall, Seiko’s pilot watches are known for their useful tools, including slide rule bezels, automatic chronographs, vertical clutch and column wheels, compasses, and barometers. They’re also made with high-quality, durable materials such as high-grade titanium and stainless steel that can withstand active environments and the elements.
The Best Seiko Pilot Watches for Aviation Enthusiasts
Though this timepiece has been discontinued by Seiko, a cult following has built up for the Flightmaster. If you’re one of those fans, thankfully, it can be found on some third-party sites (possibly new) and on the pre-owned market.
The dial reminds me of a Breitling Navitimer. However, this model is fortunately far less expensive. It’s a busy dial with a lot going on, but this isn’t just a cluttered design; there’s a lot of usefulness here. This is a true tool watch, and even if you’re not a pilot yourself, you can still appreciate the service it provides.
The case is satin stainless steel and measures 42mm with a pronounced coin edge on the bezel. The watch sits at 13mm on the wrist. The dial is black with silver-lined hands and indices. The primary seconds hand, which has a hacking feature, is a bright yellow.
There are three subdials at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, providing an alarm, dedicated seconds hand, and tachymeter. There’s a date display at 3 o’clock and a bi-directional rotating black bezel with a slide-rule. The watch is powered by Seiko’s 7T62 quartz movement.
It’s water resistant to 200m. It comes with a basic stainless steel bracelet with a simple stamped clasp, which is common at this price point. It also has a crystal Hardlex, which is regrettable, but overall, this is a nice timepiece for the price and also looks great on a military-style NATO strap.
In contrast to the model reviewed above, the Prospex Sky has a cleaner, simplified dial for those that favor that while still including a slide-rule. The stainless steel case measures 44.7mm and sits at 13.3mm on the wrist. This is a larger wristwatch but is still comfortable on the wrist.
The black dial with large silver-lined numerals and hands is easy to read. The seconds hand is white with a red triangle tip, giving the timepiece a classic pilot’s design. There’s a date window at 3 o’clock.
Under the hood is Seiko’s 4R35 automatic movement, with a 41-hour power reserve and a water resistance of 100m. The curved crystal, like the previously reviewed watch, is Hardlex.
The split-pin bracelet design with a three-fold clasp and push button release is handsome and complements the timepiece well.
The Seiko Solar Chronograph features a dark blue dial with white, champagne, and black accents. The face displays large numerals and three subdials. One is an indicator of the radio functions. Those signals keep the time automatically up to date with world time functions in 25 timezones.
There’s an adjustable 24-hour hand and a dedicated seconds hand. A date window is displayed between 4 and 5 o’clock. The stainless steel case measures 45mm and sits at 13mm on the wrist. The watch is solar-powered and water-resistant for up to 100m.
The seven-link stainless steel bracelet, with a tri-fold clasp and push button release, has an upscale look. The crystal is a curved Hardlex.
The Seiko Prospex Sky is a large pilot’s watch with a black and white dial. The stainless steel case measures 45mm and sits at 11.6mm on the wrist. The bezel is black with a gold-tone ribbed edge, matching the crown and push buttons. The rest of the case is a high polished steel.
The dial features three registers with dedicated seconds, 24-hour, and a power reserve indicator. The timepiece is powered by the sun, and that reserve indicator displays how much power reserve the watch has on an empty to full scale.
The movement powering the watch is Seiko’s V192, which is a solar movement. The watch is water resistant to 100m and has a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. It also features a sapphire crystal.
All this is paired with a black calfskin leather strap with a tang buckle. The watch is a statement piece and is likely to get noticed.
This timepiece is a favorite among pilots, and it’s loaded with features. The stainless steel case measures 46mm and sits at 11mm on the wrist. It offers a bi-directional slide rule. The bezel is designed in a gear shape.
The dial of the watch is black and white with red accents. The hour and minute hands are white and silver-lined, and the indexes are painted white. The seconds hand is lined in red. The hands and indexes provide a bright lume; even the seconds hand is illuminated, which is distinct.
The dial is full and features an alarm, along with 60-minute and 60-second subdials. It’s topped with a Hardlex crystal. Inside the watch, it’s powered by the 7T62 quartz movement. The watch offers a screw-down crown and is water-resistant to 100m. The stainless steel bracelet has solid end links.
Said to be inspired by vintage pilot’s watches, this handsome Seiko 5 Sports timepiece offers a fair bit for the price. The brushed stainless steel case measures 39.4mm.
The dial is blue with white and orange accents. The syringe-style hands are silver-lined, and the seconds hand has an orange tip. There’s a date window at 3 o’clock. For a pilot-style watch, the dial is relatively uncomplicated, with mostly painted numbers and raised round indices.
The timepiece is powered by Seiko’s 4R36 automatic movement. It’s water-resistant to 100m and offers a see-through case back. The watch is fitted with a sporty blue nylon strap with an orange lining.
This is another in Seiko’s Sport line of watches. The dial of this watch has a diver-look. To my eye, it looks like Seiko took inspiration from the face of the Rolex Submariner, paired it with the Jubilee bracelet, and threw in a GMT hand for good measure.
Perhaps, the attempt was to create a solid all-rounder that gives off sporty diver vibes but can dress up nicely and be a useful pilot-travel watch. The polished 42.5mm stainless steel case is classically paired with a black dial and white markings.
There’s a large red GMT hand that one can’t miss and a magnified date window at 3 o’clock. The timepiece is powered by Seiko’s 4R34 automatic, which can be seen through the open case back. It’s complemented by an attractive, polished five-link stainless steel bracelet with a tri-fold push button clasp.
The watch is water-resistant to 100m and features a 41-hour power reserve. So, the timepiece may look tougher and more capable than it is, but honestly, it will serve most people’s needs just fine, and it simply looks smart on the wrist at an even more pleasing price point.
Seiko introduces a solid, solar-powered pilot watch with the SSC264. This is a larger timepiece with a gold-coated stainless steel case measuring 46.1mm. The dial is black with three registers and a date window.
The hands are blue, with the seconds hand taking the shape of an airplane moving down the runway. There’s a gold-toned 12 above the Seiko logo, followed by gold-lined indices. The watch is a large statement piece that wants to be noticed.
The bezel is black and thick and sits atop a yellow-gold-colored encasement. The timepiece features split time measurement, a 24-hour hand, and a rotating slide rule. It’s water resistant to 100m and paired with a black leather strap with contrasting white stitching and a tang buckle.
The Seiko Fightmaster is a classic pilot’s watch. The stainless steel case has a satin finish and measures 43mm, which sits at 14mm on the wrist. The black hour and minute hands are set against a white dial with black lettering and silver-lined indices.
The red seconds hand is a nice touch. The crisp white, black, and red manage to keep the dial looking clean and fresh, despite all that’s going on. There are three registers offering 60-second, 60-minute, and 12-hour (alarm) features and a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock.
It offers a fixed bezel with slide rule markings. The watch is powered by a quartz movement. The dial is covered by a crystal Hardlex and is water resistant to 100m. The watch is fitted with a dark brown leather band with white stitching and a tang buckle.
This timepiece lacks some of the features of a true pilot’s watch, but it looks the part, and the price is quite reasonable.
The Seiko SBPY163 has some Rolex Daytona vibes in the way the dial is handled, but the all-steel bezel feels more like an Explorer II. The teal blue dial looks sharp against the steel case and offers three subdials with darker blue backgrounds than the rest of the dial.
The timepiece features a dedicated seconds hand, a 60-minute counter, a 24-hour indicator, a date window at 4.30, and a tachymeter. The watch is solar-powered and, on a full charge, will last for six months without the need for a light source recharge. It’s also water-resistant to 100m.
It’s paired with a tapered, oyster-style stainless steel bracelet that all comes together to deliver a striking chronograph for a reasonable price.
The LX Skymaster GMT is a stunning timepiece that was designed by Ken Okuyama, who is known for his auto designs with brands like Porsche and Ferrari. The all-titanium case and bracelet offer a combination of brushed and polished surfaces, a refinement that isn’t commonly seen in titanium watches.
In different lights, half of the black bezel becomes a marvelous blue. The case measures 44.8mm and 14.7m thick, making it a substantial timepiece; however, this is balanced by the lightness of the titanium.
The watch’s dial is a sunburst blue with white hands and indices. The GMT hand is red, and there’s a date window at 3 o’clock. There’s also a power reserve indicator at 8 o’clock, which displays the levels of Seiko’s 5R66 Spring Drive. The watch boasts a screw-down crown and a water resistance of 100m.
This model, which is nearly identical to the limited-edition version previously released, is both eye-catching and a solid performer as a sports and travel timepiece.
The SRPD35K1 is a cool-looking, all-black pilot’s watch. It offers a rotating inner ring compass. The dial itself is relatively simple, with a matte black and a mix of numbers and indices. The syringe-style hour hand features a red tip, and the printing and accents on the dial are a combination of off-white/yellow, green, and red. There’s a large day and date window at 3 o’clock.
The stainless steel case measures 43mm, is 14.4mm thick, and includes a crown guard. Under the hood, it’s powered by Seiko’s 4R36 automatic movement with a 41-hour power reserve. The dial is protected by a curved Hardlex crystal and is water resistant to 200m. All this is paired with a black calfskin leather strap.
The SSC081P1 not only has classic pilot watch good looks with its black dial and a brown leather strap, but it’s loaded with features. The dial offers a few registers, including a 60-minute, alarm, and power reserve indicator. There’s also a date window, compass, and hacking seconds.
The stainless steel case measures 41mm and sits at 12mm on the wrist. It’s water resistant to 100m, and the sides of the crown are protected. The watch is powered by a Caliber V172 solar movement. This model will not only look and feel great on your wrist, but it offers a lot for the price point.
The Astron by Seiko is a truly remarkable piece of technology. Billed as the world’s first GPS solar watch, this timepiece connects to GPS satellites to adjust to local time zones, and it’s completely powered by the sun. What’s most noteworthy is how Seiko has managed to fit all of this into such a small package. Most solar and radio or satellite-controlled watches are big and bulky, as there’s a lot under the hood. But not so with the Astron.
The titanium case of the Astron measures 42.9mm and sits at 12.2mm on the wrist. The black bezel is a titanium/ ceramic blend. The black dial, with white markings and gray, raised hands and indices, features four registers, one smaller, and a date window. These include day and AM/PM pointers, a dual time function, and a power reserve indicator.
Powered by Seiko’s 5×53 GPS solar movement, the watch can operate for six months when fully charged and is water resistant to 100m. It’s fitted with a 5-link titanium bracelet, with polished links down the center and a three-fold clasp with push button release.
The Prospex Sky model from Seiko is a handsome aviator watch with a beige dial and a steel, gear-shaped, bi-directional bezel. The main part of the dial is clean and simple, with numbers and black-lined syringe-style hands. The seconds hand has a red tip, and there’s a date window at 3 o’clock.
Seiko’s 4R35 automatic movement is powering the timepiece with a 41-hour power reserve. It features hacking seconds and a slide rule. The face of the watch is protected by a curved Hardlex and is water resistant to 100m. It’s paired with a brown calfskin leather strap with contrasting white stitching.
Seiko offers a large collection of watches to service nearly every style, interest, and need. Among those are some excellent pilot’s watches from their Prospex collection to their Flightmaster. They also have some other lines, which we explored in this article, that provide useful travel and tech features, such as with their Astron and 5 Sports collections. Lots of great aviation watches to choose from, to suit every budget!
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