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Rolex GMT-Master II Blue Black/Steel Ø40mm - 116710 BLNR
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Blue Black/Steel Ø40mm - 116710 BLNR
$11,499
Free shipping
Seller
WatchShopping.com Inc.
181
US
Rolex 18K/SS GMT-Master ll Gold-Thru Buckle SEL 16713 model
TOP
Rolex 18K/SS GMT-Master ll Gold-Thru Buckle SEL 16713 model
$7,450
Seller
Austins Watches Inc.
189
US
Breitling Navitimer 46mm World GMT Blue Dial Brown Leather...
Breitling Navitimer 46mm World GMT Blue Dial Brown Leather...
$4,032
Free shipping
Seller
The Watch Outlet
8
US
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
$11,500
Seller
Labelle Jewelry
40
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Black/Leather 2016 - IW377709
TOP
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Black/Leather 2016 - IW377709
$4,169
Free shipping
Seller
WatchShopping.com Inc.
181
US
Rolex GMT-Master II Ceramic Black and Blue Bezel "Batman"
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Ceramic Black and Blue Bezel "Batman"
$12,200
Seller
Luxury Time NYC
6
US
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman
$10,400
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Haniken Jewelers
 
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IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$14,999
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The Watch Movement
 
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Breitling Navitimer 806 Twin Jet Dial Hands Calibre 178...
Breitling Navitimer 806 Twin Jet Dial Hands Calibre 178...
$1,490
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Used Jewelry Buyer
 
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IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$7,250
Seller
Raffi Boyadjian Watches Inc.
13
US
Rolex Gmt-Master II 16710 Pepsi Mens Watch Box Papers
TOP
Rolex Gmt-Master II 16710 Pepsi Mens Watch Box Papers
$11,990
Free shipping
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Phigora
178
US
Hamilton Khaki Pioneer Pilot Mens Swiss Chronograph Quartz...
Hamilton Khaki Pioneer Pilot Mens Swiss Chronograph Quartz...
$369
Free shipping
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The Watch Outlet
8
US
Bell & Ross Br01-92 Limited Edition Aviation Phantom Automatic...
Bell & Ross Br01-92 Limited Edition Aviation Phantom Automatic...
$4,295
Free shipping
Seller
Watch & Wares
8
US
Rolex GMT-Master II Black/Steel Ø40mm - 116710 LN
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Black/Steel Ø40mm - 116710 LN
$9,099
Free shipping
Seller
WatchShopping.com Inc.
181
US
Rolex GMT Master II 116710
Rolex GMT Master II 116710
$7,999
Free shipping
Seller
Simply Watches USA
 
US
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman
$10,200
Seller
Haniken Jewelers
 
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Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer
Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer
$599
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The Watch Movement
 
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Bell & Ross BR 01-97 Climb Auto Black PVD Limited Edition...
Bell & Ross BR 01-97 Climb Auto Black PVD Limited Edition...
$1,990
Seller
Used Jewelry Buyer
 
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Bell & Ross Aviation Black Dial Pvd Automatic Chrongraph Mens...
Bell & Ross Aviation Black Dial Pvd Automatic Chrongraph Mens...
$3,995
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Watch Obsession
5
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Pink
IWC Pilot Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Pink
$29,500
Seller
Raffi Boyadjian Watches Inc.
13
US
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Auto Chrono Men's Automatic...
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Auto Chrono Men's Automatic...
$960
Free shipping
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The Watch Outlet
8
US
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Aero GT Red Skeleton Chronograph Limited...
TOP
Bell & Ross BR 03-94 Aero GT Red Skeleton Chronograph Limited...
$4,699
Free shipping
Seller
Chronodynamix
84
US
Rolex GMT-Master II Black/18k gold Ø40mm - 116718LN
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Black/18k gold Ø40mm - 116718LN
$28,639
Free shipping
Seller
WatchShopping.com Inc.
181
US
Rolex GMT Master II 16713
Rolex GMT Master II 16713
$7,999
Free shipping
Seller
Simply Watches USA
 
US
Rolex GMT-Master II Two-Tone Black Dial
Rolex GMT-Master II Two-Tone Black Dial
$8,350
Seller
Haniken Jewelers
 
US
IWC Pilot
IWC Pilot
$13,999
Seller
The Watch Movement
 
US
Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
$23,000
Free shipping
Seller
Fine Watch Bank
30
US
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman 116710BLNR
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman 116710BLNR
$11,285
Seller
Harley's Time LLC
137
US
Rolex GMT-Master
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master
$13,995
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
Hamilton Khaki Aviation QNE Men's Automatic Watch H76655733...
Hamilton Khaki Aviation QNE Men's Automatic Watch H76655733...
$548
Free shipping
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The Watch Outlet
8
US
Rolex Two-Tone GMT Master II 116713 LN
Rolex Two-Tone GMT Master II 116713 LN
$11,895
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Kara's Watches
137
US
IWC Pilot's Watch mark XVIII Black - IW327001
TOP
IWC Pilot's Watch mark XVIII Black - IW327001
$3,279
Free shipping
Seller
WatchShopping.com Inc.
181
US
IWC 5002-01 Big Pilot 5002-01 FIRST SERIES / FULL SET (28800)
IWC 5002-01 Big Pilot 5002-01 FIRST SERIES / FULL SET (28800)
$9,900
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European Watch Company
152
US
Breitling Aerospace Avantage
Breitling Aerospace Avantage
$2,550
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Time Honored
 
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IWC Pilot Mark XVI Spitfire
IWC Pilot Mark XVI Spitfire
$2,999
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The Watch Movement
 
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IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
$4,200
Free shipping
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Fine Watch Bank
30
US
Breguet Type XX - XXI - XXII 18K Rose Gold Automatic mens watch
TOP
Breguet Type XX - XXI - XXII 18K Rose Gold Automatic mens watch
$13,990
Seller
Nitza Lerner Co.
6
US
Rolex GMT-Master II
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II
$10,483
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Private Seller
 
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Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Auto Men's Automatic...
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Auto Men's Automatic...
$590
Free shipping
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The Watch Outlet
8
US
Breitling Navitimer
Breitling Navitimer
$11,495
Free shipping
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Vesper & Co.
13
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Rolex GMT-Master II Two-Tone Black Dial Ceramic Insert - Mint
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Two-Tone Black Dial Ceramic Insert - Mint
$9,826
Free shipping
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LSM Watch
6
US
Breitling 7806 Vintage Navitimer SS Circa 1973 (28651)
Breitling 7806 Vintage Navitimer SS Circa 1973 (28651)
$6,500
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European Watch Company
152
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IWC Pilot Chronograph 377717 - Factory Warranty - NEW
IWC Pilot Chronograph 377717 - Factory Warranty - NEW
$4,675
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Watch Exchange Co.
112
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Breitling Montbrillant Datora
Breitling Montbrillant Datora
$3,999
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The Watch Movement
 
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Rolex GMT-Master II
Rolex GMT-Master II
$24,000
Free shipping
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Fine Watch Bank
30
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Rolex Gmt Master II 16710 Automatic Oyster Date Red Black...
Rolex Gmt Master II 16710 Automatic Oyster Date Red Black...
$10,714
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Quartz Watches Inc.
11
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Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaut  Open Back Series Special A12023
TOP
Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaut Open Back Series Special A12023
$4,450
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Private Seller
 
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Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot GMT Auto Men's Automatic Watch...
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot GMT Auto Men's Automatic Watch...
$704
Free shipping
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The Watch Outlet
8
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Breitling Navitimer Chrono-matic
Breitling Navitimer Chrono-matic
$3,950
Free shipping
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Vesper & Co.
13
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Rolex GMT-Master II Blue 18k white gold 40mm - 116719BLRO
Rolex GMT-Master II Blue 18k white gold 40mm - 116719BLRO
$36,759
Free shipping
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
181
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Rolex GMT-Master II
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II
$10,650
Free shipping
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Nashville Watch LLC
13
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Breitling Navitimer 01
Breitling Navitimer 01
$5,499
Free shipping
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Brilliance and Grace
66
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IWC Pilot Spitfire UTC
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTC
$2,999
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The Watch Movement
 
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Rolex GMT-Master II
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II
$10,900
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Private Seller
 
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IWC Pilot Chronograph
TOP
IWC Pilot Chronograph
$4,300
Seller
Private Seller
 
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IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
$4,700
Free shipping
Seller
Fine Watch Bank
30
US
Hamilton H76416755 MEN'S KHAKI AVIATION PILOT PIONEER AUTO...
Hamilton H76416755 MEN'S KHAKI AVIATION PILOT PIONEER AUTO...
$998
Free shipping
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The Watch Outlet
8
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Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi
$11,995
Free shipping
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AJ Watches
135
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Rolex GMT-Master II 16710  Coke Bezel Box & Booklets 2004 Model
Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 Coke Bezel Box & Booklets 2004 Model
$9,995
Free shipping
Seller
Gold Watch Co
23
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
$8,899
Free shipping
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
181
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IWC Pilot Mark
IWC Pilot Mark
$3,450
Free shipping
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Luxury Watch Time
139
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Breitling Chrono Cockpit
Breitling Chrono Cockpit
$2,399
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The Watch Movement
 
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Pilot's Watches: Functionality for the Highest Demands

Pilot's watches are precise instruments as well as stylish accessories. Originally designed for pilots, they have developed into one of the most beloved types of watches. Breitling and IWC are two of the most well-known producers of pilot's watches.

Highlights

  • Famous brands: IWC, Breitling, Tutima, Fortis
  • IWC Mark XI features a typical pilot's watch design
  • Affordable pilot's watches available for less than 1,000 euros
  • Breitling Navitimer with a chronograph function and slide rule
  • Cartier Santos considered the first pilot's wristwatch

In the Cockpit with a Pilot's Watch

Pilot's watches are closely linked to aviation; the industry has strongly influenced the history and functionality of these special watches. For example, many pilot's watches are chronographs, meaning they also function as stopwatches. The term "pilot's watch" does not, however, have one standard definition. For some, it means a timepiece with a certain design: Watches with a black dial and white indices or numerals as well as large hands are enough to qualify as pilot's watches in some peoples' books. Another definition emphasizes other characteristics, such as legibility during the day and at night or a certain level of impact and shock resistance.
In the past, there wasn't a uniform standard for pilot's watches like the international ISO 6425 standard (DIN 8306) for diving watches. In 2016, however, the DIN 8330 standard was introduced, based on the Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches (Technischen Standard Fliegeruhren, TESTAF). According to DIN 8330, a certified pilot's watch is capable of replacing a plane's precise time measurement systems. Furthermore, the wearer is able to plan and execute vital, time-sensitive flight maneuvers with the watch. The German company Sinn was the first watch manufacturer to produce watches according to the DIN 8330 standard.
Two of the most famous manufacturers of pilot's watches are the Swiss brands Breitling and IWC. The design of the IWC Mark XI is particularly well known around the world and is often replicated. The watch is simple with its black dial, large numerals and indices, and triangular marker at the 12 o'clock position. IWC has sent the hand-winding model to numerous air forces.
One of Breitling's most famous timepieces is the Navitimer. Aside from its chronograph function, it has a rotatable bezel with a slide rule. With the help of this mechanism, you can calculate speeds, distances, and fuel consumption, as well as convert units of measurement.

Buying Advice

If you're interested in buying a pilot's watch, you have a large choice between many models from different brands. With such an expansive collection, there's certain to be the perfect watch for every budget. More affordable watches under 1,000 euros are available from Breitling. The Breitling Aerospace has the brand's characteristic bezel rider tabs at three, six, nine, and twelve o'clock. Inside its case, it's powered by an incredibly precise quartz movement. It's available for around 800 euros pre-owned. A used Breitling Chronomat is also available for less than 1,000 euros.
You can find numerous pre-owned Breitling watches for between 1,000 and 2,500 euros. Pilot's watches from the French manufacturer Bell & Ross are also available in this price range. Pre-owned pilot's chronographs from IWC cost around 2,000 euros. Three-hand models are available for less than 2,000 euros. IWC chronographs in good condition cost around 2,500 euros.
The 857 UTC watch from Sinn is available with or without TESTAF certification. Both versions cost about the same. You should plan on spending about 1,900 euros on a new model. A new chronograph Sinn 103 Ti TESTAF costs around 2,300 euros. New models with a chronograph and GMT function cost around 2,800 euros.
You can find Rolex's GMT-Master for under 10,000 euros. The Genevan manufacturer developed the GMT watch in the mid-1950s based on the demands of commercial pilots. The American airline Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) used the GMT-Master as their official watch.

History of Pilot's Watches

The Cartier Santos is considered the first pilot's watch. Louis Cartier developed the square wristwatch in 1904 for the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont. Two years later, Dumont flew the first official flight in a motorized airplane. During the flight, he wore the Santos, allowing him to keep both hands on the controls while still keeping an eye on the time.
The roots of modern day pilot's watches go all the way back to pocket watches — or, more accurately, deck watches used in high-sea navigation. These watches were portable pocket watches that supplemented a ship's marine chronometer. The marine chronometer was anchored to the ship and mounted on three freely moving axles, keeping the dial face up even during heavy swells. The marine chronometer was regulated in this position. Sailors used these highly precise chronometers to determine their exact location. During long trips at sea, watches accurate to the second were indispensable for navigation.
The officers on board synchronized their deck watch with the marine chronometer and returned to deck to determine their position via sextant. A deck watch had a very precise movement, but due to the extreme deviations in temperature and different positions, it wasn't as precise as a marine chronometer.
At the beginning of the 20th century, pilots used these deck watches during flights. They soldered pieces to the watches and looped thick leather straps through them. When modified this way, they could wear the deck watches on their thighs or over a flight suit. These pilot's watches were easily identifiable by their large crowns, which also allowed the wearer to set the time with gloves on.
Later, deck watches received their characteristic pilot's watch design. A black dial with yellow numerals became a signifying feature of these timepieces. At the beginning of the 20th century, manufacturers started using the luminous, radioactive material radium. Today, they use the luminescent, non-radioactive material Superluminova. Black dials have some obvious advantages: There's no glare, and together with luminous indices and hands, they are easy to read at twilight and at night.
Most pilot's watches from the early 20th century also featured a stop-seconds mechanism. This allowed the wearer to set the watch to the exact second, which is necessary to navigate accurately. One of the most important German manufacturers of these types of watches was the Glashütte-based company A. Lange & Söhne. During the Second World War, they produced pilot's watches exclusively for the military; today, these watches are very rare. Just as rare are German pilot's chronographs, which were produced by manufacturers such as Tutima and Junghans. The movements powering these watches originally came from Glashütte. Altogether, there are only 300 to 400 watches remaining from the 1930s and 40s. These vintage watches cost upwards of 30,000 euros each.

Historical Highlights

  • Origins tracing back to deck watches used on ships
  • Deck watches with leather straps were the first pilot's watches
  • Cartier Santos: the first pilot's watch in the form of a wristwatch
  • A. Lange & Söhne was one of the most important manufacturers of German pilot's watches

IWC Mark XI: The Cult Pilot's Watch

The IWC Mark XI is a classic pilot's watch. The Swiss manufacturer IWC produced the watch starting at the end of the 1940s. The Mark XI was a smaller version of the Mark X. For around 30 years, IWC delivered the Mark XI to numerous air forces around the world. The simple, hand-winding watch featured no chronograph function. Therefore, it was comparably inexpensive at 350 Swiss francs. Now, it costs between 5,000 and 9,000 euros. The watch had a characteristic black dial with bright luminous numerals and a triangle at 12 o'clock. Still to this day, manufacturers such as Fortis produce pilot's watches with this simple, iconic design.

The Standard for Pilot's Watches: DIN 8330

An official standard for pilot's watches has existed since the beginning of 2016: the German DIN 8330. The watch manufacturer Sinn Spezialuhren initiated the process of developing this standard. The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) decided in the summer of 2013 to create a new standard for pilot's watches based on the Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches (TESTAF). This standard is oriented to meet the challenges of modern aviation. The aerospace engineering department at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences together with Sinn Spezialuhren developed the TESTAF in 2012. According to DIN 8330, pilot's wristwatches must be compatible with other on-board instruments, pose no risk to the aircraft and crew, and must be able to withstand the physical stressors of flight.
DIN 8330 differentiates between visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR). Watches certified according to IFR rules require a stopwatch function and are thus chronographs. Watches certified to VFR have a 12-hour as well as a 60-minute display. The central second hand must feature a mechanism so it can be stopped to the exact second. Furthermore, the standard requires the watch to have a bi-directional rotatable bezel with minute markers and ratcheting. The dial and scale background must be matte black, and the diameter of the dial must not be smaller than 27 mm. The watch has to be easily legible, and thus the hour indices, triangular marker on the bezel, and the hour, minute, and second hands must be filled with luminous material and glow for at least three hours.
The DIN 8330 also requires pilot's watches and their functions to work properly between -15 °C and +55 °C (5 to 131 °F). They have to pass an impact test by surviving a drop from a 1-meter height onto a hardwood floor. They are also tested for waterproofness according to DIN 8310. The watches undergo further tests for precision, strap fittings, and magnetic field resistance, among other things. At the end of the tests, the watch must still function properly and have no signs of external damage.

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