Thread: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

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  1. #1
    Member landschrabbler's Avatar
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    HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    Hello everyone,

    a newcomer to this forum (moi ) would like to ask this question:
    How (if ever) do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    I have read with interest all the threads about "what do you pilots wear" and "which is the best pilot's watch" or "what makes a pilot's watch a pilot's watch" - but they all seem rather, h, acadamic.

    I mean: what are all those gizmos for, if nobody ever uses them? Do you really use the E6B on your Navitimer for calculations? Do you need a compass bezel for navigation? Do you use UTC-time (or do you just happen to know your time-zone?)?

    I really would like to know wether "pilot's watch" today is only the name for a certain design (like the old-school Fliegeruhr) or a status symbol (thinkin about golden Navitimers with additional Co-Pilot) - or is it still an instrument that is used? A tool?

    Cause otherwise any watch would be a pilot's watch, just as long as it is worn by a pilot, right?

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
    Member TimeOnTarget's Avatar
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    Picture Re: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    I actually use my watches while flying, and I pay my bills by flying airplanes and helicopters. IMHO a pilot's watch should be able to time something at a minimum. I need my watches to be able to display GMTtime. I prefer a watch like the Fortis B-42 GMT or the Glycine Airman because it allows you to see two 24 hour time zones in relation to each other. This is very important when looking at TAFs, terminal area forecasts, which are given in GMT and are valid for a period of hours.



    Solar and Lunar data are critcal to flying with NVGs




    Yes, that is me flying the Fire Hawk. I always found E6B watches all but impossible to use in a helicopter, but they are great for planning and SWAGS. The compass on my watch is not for flying but for survival use if shot down. I use the Casio calculator to run fuel checks and weight/balance checks particularly with ferry tanks installed.







    And this one is not for flying but it is really cool.
    "Some people work for a living, me, I'd rather fly!"

  3. #3
    Member MaxStatic's Avatar
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    Re: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    I used the E6B on my Citizen for an FAA checkride that got the checkpilot all sorts of pissed. Other than that, I set it for basic time/dist problems so I can just take a quick glance and get something useful i.e. set cruise airspeed etc.

    GMT is an absolute must for the reasons stated above. Wx often is given with GMT as well as other advisors and what not. Also all of the forms are done in GMT. Of course you can just do the mental math and add whatever but that starts to be a pain when you are covering several timezones. Also keeping your watch set to GMT all the time kinda sucks.

    I've found that flying with both a wrist watch and a kitchen timer on my kneeboard is the way to go. The timer I use has four separate timers and also a clock function which I have set to GMT. This is usually more than enough, one for total mission time, one countdown for fuel checks, one for TOTs or inst. approaches, and the other for whatever. In addition to the watch, and kitchen timer on kneeboard I also have the aircraft clock and GPS clock for timing functions

    In addition to all that, I carry a small calculator and a full size whiz wheel(E6B) for fuel calcs and what not. Needless to say, I carry a bunch of crap with me. Better to have and not need then to need and not have.

    A good quality, accurate, timing tool in the form of a wrist watch is an essential part of the gear IMHO. Of course this could be a G-shock for all intents and purposes but I like things with soul. Mechanicals have soul....but I still fly with a G every now and again.

    As you also eluded to it is, and always has been, a part of the culture. Dudes that like to strap machines to themselves and hurl them into the sky tend to like mechanical things. Watches fit right in.

    TimeOnTarget: As always, nice collection. That is a particularly well thought out rig with the D66. Very cool.
    Last edited by MaxStatic; October 14th, 2007 at 02:43. Reason: typo
    I have too many watches.....

  4. #4
    Member HercDriver's Avatar
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    I really like having UTC/GMT/Zulu time on my watch for pre-flight planning...mental math is not my strong suit. Also, the ability to see clearly what time/date it is in the cockpit in the dark, as I often make notes when flying at night during Law Enforcement patrols/SAR cases. Having the ability to time something is handy...but for my type of flying not has important, as I have an 8 day clock that will do the things I need and my navigator will time for me during approaches. An extra thing I like having is an alarm...long ago I gave up on my clock radio after losing power and having a deep-seated fear of being late to work. This is handy on the road when I take off from homeplate, but a case has me landing somewhere else and staying in a hotel.

    I have a Citizen Navihawk I wore for 5 years prior to getting my Omega X-33...I can say honestly that the slide rule bezel just didn't work for me. I carry and E6B in my flight bag that I use for fuel calculations and that is all I really need.

    Once again, TimeOnTarget: that Zulu watch would be my number one watch if I was a helo bubba that flew on NVGs...it is too cool.
    And after seeing your Damasko it is on my ever growing list of watches I would love to have.
    Last edited by HercDriver; October 24th, 2007 at 20:06.

  5. #5
    Moderator Dennis Smith's Avatar
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    Re: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    Single pilot Bell 407 EMS...no copilot.
    I have one multi-function guage on the panel that can serve as a clock in local time, but I've always got that guage on either Volts, OAT, or chronograph. Since we write down all our times (lift-off and landings) and since dispatch times are always off...I always refer to my watch for official time and date (the date part is more important than you'd think at 0130..."What's the date?"). A watch that can be easily read day or night is a big plus. NVG compatibility (quartz lighting) isn't a big issue as long as the light can be turned off when I'm looking up again through the gogs.

    When not in the cockpit a reference on the watch to Zulu time is very handy, especially if there are two 24 hour references on the watch to instantly convert time for TAFs...You find this on watches like the Glycine Airman and three timezopne GMT watches, like the Limes 1Tausend GMT III, and the Fortis.

    The final nice thing is to have a day indicator, though it has been a long time since I've had that on a watch. Work odd shifts for a while and you lose track of days easily.
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  6. #6
    Member sgav8r's Avatar
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    Re: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    I love my Citizen Nighthawk, but it may be a little bit much for the normal day to day aviation environment. Between the preflighting, fueling, tying down etc. I think it's a little bit overkill. Too much potential to scuff it up or something.

    Lately I've just been slapping my trusty Traser on the wrist. Easy to read the GMT at a glance, and I don't think I'll ever actually need an E6B on my watch, lol.

    I like to wear the Citizen when I'm just hanging about the airport "hangar flying" with my buddies. It is a little bit cooler and it certainly gets more compliments!
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  7. #7
    Member landschrabbler's Avatar
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    Re: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    Hi everyone - and :thanks you for your input!

    Interesting to see that UTC is so important for you all - but then thinking about it, it makes sense. Living in Central-Europe (and flying only within one timezone) makes one forget that issue, since it is pretty easy here, adding 1 (in winter) or 2 (in summer) hours and that's it

    But it confirms what I was already thinking about "pilot's-watch" - there is a watch for the time (or times, when with UTC or a third time-zone), and another one for timing - they have to complement one another.

    @TimeOnTarget: your last picture shows the steam-clock in Vancouver, right? And your Casio-Damasko-combination... very interesting solution!

  8. #8
    Member TimeOnTarget's Avatar
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    Re: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    That is absolutely correct!! The steam clock in lovely Vancouver, Ca is a sight to behold. As MaxStatic said, there is just something about mechanical things that exemplify man's vision and accomplishments. Heck, I'm getting tearry eyed just thinking about it! Science and adventure is the stuff that gets my blood flowing.
    "Some people work for a living, me, I'd rather fly!"

  9. #9
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    Re: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    Hi there i fly a Boeing-777 For BA and i wear a Citizen Wingman Analogue/Digital Pilot's watch with slide rule bezel,because the B-777's so automated it literally does everything for You as Captain Engels will testify!.

  10. #10
    Moderator Emeritus Crusader's Avatar
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    Re: HOW do you pilots use your pilot's watch?

    Here is a link to a corresponding thread on a pilot's forum (PPRuNe):

    http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=287152

    Many of the views expressed mirror those in similar threads on this forum.
    Cheers,

    Martin ("Crusader")

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