Can you imagine flying a plane and having to check the time checking your pocket watch? exactly this was what happened to the aviation pioneer Alberto Santos – Dumont during the twentieth century, so he gave his great friend and watchmaker Louis Cartier the challenge of creating a watch that was easy to read, comfortable to wear and as accurate as possible while piloting an airplane; This is how Cartier created his famous and nowadays classic watch “Santos” in 1904.
Remember that by the middle of the twentieth century, air navigation was not only based on having a good interpretation of the navigation charts, but also had to be guided with great precision of the duration of the flight, which would determine the fuel, the speed, the course among other aspects and hence the importance of having this device available and easy to read during the time on board.
Although it is true that Cartier had the first initiative to adapt pocket watches to the needs of the pilots, it was not him but Longines Weems who presented in 1929 the first watch with navigation functions and was born by the needs to correct during the flight the time measurement errors and they did it by means of a rotary dial that synchronized with a signal received from the ground.
After the wrist straps and navigation functions, the luminous hands were incorporated as a third innovation, which allowed the pilots to continue to have good visibility of the time even on night flights.
Other innovations introduced in the watches for the pilots were made by Rolex with the GMT hands that were conceived so that the pilots could read the time in two different time zones at the same time.
Already entered the 21st century we see a wide range of watches of all brands and with a wide variety of functions designed solely for air navigation and it is the pilots who can choose based on their specific tastes or needs.
If you are one of those who enjoy this innovation, tell us, which one do you like the most?