Despite lacking a textbook definition, military pilot watches share a number of common traits. First and foremost, since they are created for pilots who can usually only afford to spend seconds glancing at their watches to tell time as they are busy maneuvering their planes, a pilot watch has to be extremely legible, which is achieved by an open dial with very little or no decoration. Some of the pilot watch dials are so minimal they do away the name of the watchmaker altogether, in order to maximise legibility. Second, since pilot watches are expected to be worn over the pilot jackets, they are designed to come in a larger case size, with 50mm not an uncommon dimension for pilot watches used in actual combat situations, to further enhance readability. Last but not least, the crown of a pilot watch is enlarged to ensure it can be easily operated by the pilot even with his gloves on. Back then, a pilot watch is a key piece of tool to combatants around the world and their survival depended on the reliability and accuracy of it. It could make all the differences between accurately landing your plane at a target enemy base or failing to do so miscalculating the flight time elapsed.
The Ventus C-01
Upon strapping on the Ventus C-01, the feeling of assertiveness comes through almost instantaneously. Perhaps it's the hefty brass case, or the decidedly "pilot-like" look, or both. I don't really know (nor do I care), but this, my friends, is one solid pilot watch through and through that removes all the unnecessary details and noise and reminds us of a time when a pilot watch did exactly what its name suggested: to be that reliable and trustworthy timepiece all pilots need.
The dial of Ventus C-01 is what we usually refer to as a "sandwich dial", which involves a dial consisting of numbers and indices cut out to reveal a second layer of luminous dial underneath, a technique most famously seen in Radiomir and Luminor lines from Panerai. In contrast to dials with luminous materials applied onto indices, the sandwich dial tends to let off a more even and stronger luminescence under low light, which again ensure legibility of the dial regardless of the external environment.
The Ventus C-01 Type B
The so called Type-B dial arrangement also shares the same military root, created to provide another means for the wearer to quickly tell time. The dial consists an inner circle and an outer circle indicating hour and minute respectively, with their radius corresponding to the length of the hour/ minute hand for instinctive time reading. Other than that, the Ventus C-01 Type-B shares identical construction with the Ventus C-01, similarly available in brass/ carbon fiber case options.
Final Thoughts and Pricing Information
The Ventus C-01/ Ventus C-01 Type B in brass have a suggested retail price of HKD3,600; both models in carbon fiber retails for HKD5,500. To see dealer locations, go here.