Affordable Alternatives to Breitling Navitimer
 

Affordable Alternatives to Breitling Navitimer

4 min read
Charlotte Harris

Brands

Breitling

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Charlotte Harris

Brands

Breitling

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Most people that wear pilot’s watches don’t fly planes. This might sound silly to someone lacking an obsession with timepieces, but those of us enchanted by the stories and technologies behind these aviation-inspired devices, it makes perfect sense. Pilot’s watches are rugged, durable and offer some fantastic functionality that is just as useful on land as it is in the sky. 

Breitling NavitimerBreitling Navitimer - Credit WatchGecko

 
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£68.00
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£68.00
Vintage Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Light Brown
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Vintage Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Reddish Brown
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Vintage Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Black
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Arguably one of the most important, and useful, pieces of technology you can find on a pilot’s watch is the slide rule bezel. Allowing pilots to make on-the-go calculations for planning their flight, the slide rule bezel lets you work out flight, time, fuel consumption, distance, airspeed, ascent and descent and even currency conversion. It’s essentially a travelling toolbox. And yet despite its handiness, there are very few watches equipped with a slide rule bezel. And the most famous of the lot is the Breitling Navitimer. 

In 1952, Willy Breitling was approached by the US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and asked to create a chronograph for its members. The result was the Breitling Navitimer, a robust pilot’s watch that enabled pilots to perform necessary flight calculations such as speed and distance. The logarithmic slide rule was integrated into a rotating bezel and surrounded by small beads for easy manipulation. The Navitimer has become one of the most famous pilot’s watches of all time, and in turn, it’s become a holy grail for many collectors. 

Breitling NavitimerBreitling Navitimer - Credit WatchGecko

But with prices starting from £3,550 for the 32mm time-only models and £7,400 for the slide rule, chronograph-equipped references, the Breitling Navitimer isn’t accessible to everyone. So, if you’re working with a budget but you still want to enjoy the convenience of a pilot’s watch with cool slide rule function, here’s our top five affordable alternatives to the Breitling Navitimer… 

Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Chrono 

Hamilton Khaki Aviation ConverterHamilton Khaki Aviation Converter - Credit Hamilton

The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter would be my personal choice out of this line-up. It’s a true pilot’s watch for both real-life aviators and enthusiasts with a purposeful design and a Swiss made movement. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this for a Breitling Navitimer since it offers a very similar 44mm wide stainless steel case, sapphire crystal glass and a bi-directional rotating slide rule bezel with minute ratcheting. It arrives with a black or blue dial with Super-LumiNova used on the hands and markers, bright red accents on the slide rule elements and recessed subdials for the chronograph. Inside, you also have the reliable H-21-Si automatic chronograph movement with a 60-hour power reserve. The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Chrono retails from £2,050. 

Casio Edifice Chronograph EF-527D 

Casio Edifice Chronograph EF-527DCasio Edifice Chronograph EF-527D - Credit Casio

One of the most affordable pilots watches with a slide rule bezel is the Casio Edifice Chronograph EF-527D. Far from the luxury experience of a Breitling, this Casio swaps out a mechanical movement for a quartz one and sapphire crystal for mineral glass for a spectacularly affordable price tag of £150. It still offers a mind-blowing range of scales and a notched bezel for flight calculations alongside a 45.5mm stainless steel case, three-row link full metal bracelet and neobrite markings on the dial for a touch of glow in the dark capability.  

Rotary Henley Pilot 

Rotary Henley Pilot  - Credit Rotary

Another great alternative to the Breitling Navitimer is the Rotary Henley Pilot watch. Retailing for just £225, this 42mm-wide stainless steel chronograph has a busy dial featuring both inner and outer scales for the sliding rule with yellow or red markings. The circular slide rule is integrated into a bidirectional rotating bezel, this time one that’s kept smooth and sleek, giving the Henley a more dressy, retro appeal, especially when paired with the mesh bracelet. It also boasts a 50 metre water resistant rating, date complication at 6 o’clock and a classic quartz movement. 

Citizen Promaster Nighthawk BJ7138-04E 

Citizen Nighthawk - Credit Guest Author (Corbin)

Citizen has quite a large range of busy pilot’s watches that are significantly more affordable than the Breitling Navitimer, but one of their most recent releases has become a top recommendation for those wanting both GMT and slide rule functionality. The Citizen Promaster Nighthawk draws inspiration from stealth helicopters with a black coated, 42mm wide case. It has mineral glass protecting the dial and a prominent grooved bezel. The bezel is fixed, leaving the slide rule to be manipulated by turning the crown at 3 o’clock. The watch also delivers a 200 metre water resistance, a 24-hour scale and GMT hand and a date window a 3 o’clock. The movement inside is the solar-powered Eco-Drive quartz calibre capable of charging itself by natural or artificial light. It’s a lot of tech for a price of £349. 

Sinn 356 Sa Pilot Chronograph

Sinn 356 - Credit WatchGecko

 
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£2,205.00
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£2,205.00
Sinn 356 Pilot Watch Automatic Chronograph - Acrylic / Black Dial - Solid Bracelet
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£2,850.00
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£2,850.00
Sinn 356 Sa Pilot II Automatic Chronograph Watch - Salmon Dial - Solid Bracelet
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£2,800.00
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£2,800.00
Sinn 356 Sa Pilot Watch Automatic Chronograph - Black Dial - Solid Bracelet

Our final affordable alternative to the Breitling Navitimer is the Sinn 356 Sa Pilot Chronograph. This is a watch without a slide rule bezel, but since Sinn has a history intertwined with the Navitimer it feels almost wrong not to include one of their current models in this list. Sinn actually purchased the rights to the Navitimer dial design during the 1980’s and used it to create the 903 collection. Sadly, the collection is now discontinued but it was incredibly popular for its familiar tri-compax layout and circular slide rule bezel with red detailing. The Sinn 356 Sa Pilot Chronograph is a worthy runner up though, boasting a durable 38.5mm steel case, sapphire crystal glass and the self-winding Sellita SW-500 movement for chronograph, day and date complication. On the solid bracelet, this model retails for £2,850.

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Charlotte Harris

About the Author: Charlotte Harris

Writing and watches are two of my biggest passions in life so being able to unite them on a daily basis is a wonderful thing. I hope through my writing that I can bring a fresh, feminine perspective on the watch space and encourage more men and women to get excited about all that’s happening.

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