Flieger Friday: Top 5 Pilots Watches of Baselworld 2019

Baselworld 2019 offered a variety of colorful pilot watch dials.  Even though green was the dominating color with most watch brands, Bell & Ross and Laco deviated from the trend to present us with attractive color dials.  Besides colorful dials, Basel show did not offer much in terms of innovation, new designs, or new models of pilot watches.  Patek Phillipe offered Travel Time with additional complications, but it made the watch appear over-engineered with four crowns.  Both Bell & Ross and Tutima showed very interesting prototypes, but they were not available to publish, and will be released later this year. For pilot watches, Basel 2019 was the year of dial variations.

Sinn 104 St Sa A G $1,620

The 104 St Sa A G is a classic pilot watch with a brilliant metallic-green sparkling dial. A special technical feature is the captive pilot’s bezel with minute ratcheting, which can be rotated on both sides and is securely attached to the case.

The polished stainless steel case is 41mm with 11.5mm of height and 20mm lugs.  The front sapphire crystal has anti-reflective coating on both sides.  Transparent case back also has a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside.

The 104 St Sa A G is resistant to low pressure and can withstand pressures of up to 20 bar. A total of 500 of these watches are being produced, each with an engraved limited-edition marking on the rotor.

Laco Augsburg & Aachen Taupe $460

Laco presented a new Baumuster A and Baumuster B pilot watch in their “Basic” series. Laco introduced Taupe color for the Augsburg 42mm and Aachen 42mm watches.  There is no official name for the watch as we had only seen the prototype.  Both the watches are expected to be released towards end of 2019.

The case is 42mm in diameter and is made from stainless steel with a sandblasted matte finish on the bezel and lugs. It is powered by the work horse Miyota 821A automatic movement. The movement itself is a 21. 600 b/h movement, meaning it ticks 6 times per second, and comes with the customized rotor already available in other Augsburg and Aachen models.

The taupe color dial is very interesting.  It is hard to pin point the silver and taupe color, but it makes for an enjoyable modern flieger with the vintage brown strap.  There are no plans on a 39mm version yet.

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Military Beige $4,300/$4,700

B&R V2-94 Military Beige was one of the most unique and photogenic colors offered amongst all the watches we had seen in Basel.  The satin-polished stainless steel case is 41mm with scale and anodized aluminum insert and tachymeter. The crown and pushers are screw down for 100-meter water resistance.

V-94 Military has a nice beige dial with black painted numbers and indices.  The front has an ultra-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.  The case back also has a sapphire crystal for viewing the movement. The watch is powered by an ETA 2894 automatic movement with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module on top.

B&R V2-94 Military Beige is packaged with either an elastic canvas strap or a polished steel bracelet.  Availability is end of April 2019.

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Adventure $7,100

Zenith extended its Pilot series with Type 20 Adventure in 45mm bronze case with a grained khaki green dial. The bronze and green make for a great color combination.  Like rest of the Pilot series, Adventure’s dial has oversized Arabic numbers entirely made of SuperLuminova.  Zenith makes the most legible pilot watch dial apart from IWC Big Pilot and Patek Travel Time.

Type 20 Adventure has a titanium case backs with an engraving of ZENITH Flying Instruments logo. It is equipped with an automatic Zenith Elite 679 caliber offering 50-hour power reserve. The case height is 14.25mm but it appears even more thick due to the domed sapphire crystal.

Zenith offers a choice of camouflage alligator leather or khaki matrix calfskin leather straps, both have a protective rubber lining and a titanium pin buckle.

Tutima Night Green Flieger $1,650/$1,950

Tutima Night Green Flieger stands out from the crowd! The transition from lush deep green to darkest midnight green on the dial is pretty neat.  The night green joins the entry-level black and anthracite dials in the flieger automatic series.

The polished 41mm stainless-steel case lends a contemporary appearance to the traditional flieger dial.  Even though the fluted bezel makes the dial larger, the short lugs balance out the watch very well.  Tutima enhances the legibility of the dial with anti-reflective coating on the sapphire crystal.  There is a sapphire crystal on the case back as well for viewing the automatic movement’s rotor with an 18-karat gold Tutima seal.

Tutima Night Green Flieger is powered by their caliber 330, which is a re-worked ETA 2836 caliber.  There is an option for a leather pilot-style strap or a steel bracelet.