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Traditional pilot’s watches to help Santa navigate the skies

Traditional pilot’s watches to help Santa navigate the skies
Every year, Father Christmas navigates the skies to bring us all our gifts. Surely somebody should offer him a trusty pilot’s watch?

His logistics operation puts those of Amazon, DHL, FedEx and UPS all to shame. In just one short night he sets off from his secret base in the North Pole to deliver gifts worldwide. There are never any failed deliveries, disappointed recipients who receive a pick-up card or even gifts left with neighbours. What’s more Santa Claus delivers with zero emissions on a magic flying sleigh powered only by reindeer.

You don’t see images of Santa’s sleigh with GPS navigation and there is no algorithm to help him plan his trips (although, believe it or not, people are working on it ? And as a personality of tradition, Santa Claus would most likely never consider a smartwatch. So in the interests of tradition, if you’re feeling especially generous this year, you could replace your usual token gift of a mince pie and a glass of milk (and some carrots for the reindeer) with one of the pilot’s watches from our selection below. Santa would surely be delighted and you would have the satisfaction of staying in his good books for years to come!

As Michèle Brunner explained in detail earlier this year, IWC has some 80 years of tradition in the manufacture of pilot’s watches and should therefore be one of the first options proposed for Father Christmas. But the choice is vast, so pinning down the model most suitable for Santa requires careful consideration. After all, Santa Claus is probably no fan of Top Gun and fighter pilots, whose activities might interfere with his seasonal operations. He may not necessarily need a perpetual calendar, since his activities are concentrated on just one day each year, but the IWC Pilot’s Watch Spitfire Perpetual Calendar seems perfect for him – thanks to its large date and month apertures, he is unlikely to miss his crucial annual appointment on 25th December.

Father Christmas undoubtedly appreciates Patek Philippe’s philosophy of never actually owning one of its timepieces but rather looking after it for the next generation. Many were surprised by the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 that the brand presented at Baselworld this year. But it is based on an historical piece that can be seen in the Patek Philippe Museum. It has all the traits of a classic pilot’s watch, with easily readable luminous numerals, plus a handy second time zone indicator for the frequent traveller. Ironically, though, Santa’s home of the North Pole doesn’t actually have its own time zone, since it is the point on the planet where all the lines of longitude, and thus all the different time zones, converge.

A confident salesman might consider trying to convert Father Christmas to a more contemporary means of transport. As an experienced pilot who never carries any passengers, a light aircraft by Piper would be a great alternative to the magic sleigh out of season. If the salesman was really good, he would throw in Raymond Weil’s first-ever pilot’s watch, which celebrates the Swiss manufacturer’s new partnership with the light aircraft company. The recently-launched Freelancer Piper watch has a lightweight titanium case, a second time zone indication and a chronograph to help Santa keep track of his delivery times.

Article is prepared by PAUL O'NEIL. For more information, please visit