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The Evolution of Pilot Watches

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The Evolution of Pilot Watches

There’s one accessory that was always a must-have for all men, regardless of the time they lived in - the wristwatch.

And there’s one wristwatch style that was always preferred among all men - the pilot watch.

Ferro & Company vintage style pilot watch

They fit every style and look good on any man. But do you know where they come from? And how they evolved?

That’s what we set to examine in this article. Buckle up and get ready for some interesting facts about pilot watch history.

The Invention of The Pilot Watch

We need to go back in history to find the origins of the first pilot watch. Pioneer aviators started looking towards the sky at the break of the 19th century. That was the time where most men still wore pocket watches, which were hard to use when you had both your hands on the steering mechanism of unreliable flying machines. That’s why men started strapping their pocket watches on the writs with homemade straps to secure the watch.

The men that we attribute as the inventors of pilot watches are Alberto Santos-Dumont and Louis Cartier. Santos-Dumont was an aviator, and Louis Carter was one of the finest watchmakers of the time. Santos-Dumont needed a reliable way of keeping time in the air, and he turned to Cartier for help. They created what is now known as the first pilot watch in the world. It’s also widely accepted that their design was actually the first official wristwatch. This makes pilot watches as old as wristwatches.


As the years progressed, the pilot watches became more advanced. The machine that flew the air got complex, and the watch industry wasn’t lacking behind. New brands emerged and created highly technological watches for the most extreme conditions. Breitling, IWC, Bell & Ross, and Longines were some of the pioneering pilot watch brands.


The Hero of the Skies - The Spitfire

The world faced two horrendous wars in the first half of the 20th century. These were the times where nothing else really mattered. Nations were compiling all their resources into winning the war. Smart innovators created some of the most important inventions of our time during the wars.

One thing that became important was fighter planes. As technology progressed, the war moved to the sky. That meant that planes got faster and more dangerous. You could not fight your enemies if you did not have strong fighter plane fleets.

One of the most iconic planes of WWII was the Spitfire. The Spitfire was a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. There were many designs of the Spitfire with different wing configurations. Today, the Spitfire is one of the most popular planes among plane and history enthusiasts.


For most of us, when we think of WWII aviation, we think of the Spitfire. And it’s not surprising that Spitfires are of the first associations we have when it comes to pilot watches. The pilots that operated WWII fighter planes in some of the toughest battles the world has ever seen are the personification of bravery and heroism.

Thankfully, most of the world now lives in peace. But we still admire the grit and bravery of the people that flew the skies during the wars. We want to be like them. We want to be as brave and bold as they were.

And the easiest way we can do that is with modern pilot watches.

Why Men Love Pilot Watches

The answer to this question is simple - it’s because of how they make us feel. They make us feel masculine, strong, and bold. They make us confident and ready to take on the world. They give us the courage to do whatever we set to do.

It’s hard to explain why men feel this. It probably has to do with the designs and the association with hero fighter plane pilots of the past. We feel connected to the bravest men that ever lived. And this fills us with pride and energy.

The pilot watch designs are timeless. And they fit almost any style. You can be a C-suite executive or a common worker. Anyone can pull off a pilot watch. You can wear it on a night out with your buddies or on a fancy dinner with your wife. No matter what the occasion, your pilot watch says one thing - that you’re a real man.


How to Pick the Right Pilot Watch

Watch brands around the world know that men love pilot watches. That’s why there are countless different models on the market. The choice can be overwhelming.

First, you need to pick the mechanism. The two main mechanisms you should be considering are Swiss movements and Japanese movements. Is one better than the other? Not really, it comes down to personal preference.

 We like both. That’s why we made sure our latest pilot watch, the AGL 2.0, comes in both mechanisms. This gives you the option to pick the one you prefer.

We also topped the AGL 2.0 with a chronograph and different dial options. 

Click here to visit our Pilot watch collection to pre-order your Pilot Watch at a special offer before it ends.


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What’s the Difference: Quartz Movement vs. Automatic

Posted by Neil Patel on

There are two different types of watch movements: quartz or mechanical. “Movement” refers to the engine that runs the watch. Mechanical movement includes both self-winding and manual-winding, but when we talk about “automatic” we’re referring to self-winding. 

So what is the difference between quartz movement watches and automatic movement watches? Don’t they both operate without the need for winding? Is there a reason to choose one over the other--and if there is, how do I choose?

We’ll look at how each watch works and help you decide which is right for you.

What is Quartz Movement

Quartz movement is the standard movement for many watches. The vast majority of watches currently made have quartz movements They have been around since the late 1960s and although they started life as extremely expensive, technology has advanced with these watches to make them very affordable, which is why there are so many of them.

Quartz watches are powered by a battery. The battery sends a signal to a tiny piece of quartz crystal in the watch’s circuitry. Why quartz? Because when electricity is sent through it, quartz oscillates on a very specific frequency: 32,728 times per second. This constant oscillation is what the watches use to keep time. Quartz can be used in either digital or analog watches and is considered very reliable--they only need to have the battery replaced every few years. 

What is Automatic Movement?

All clocks and watches used to be mechanical, but the innovation of the self-winding (automatic movement) watch is a more modern invention. 

Basically, the watch winds itself by the movement of your wrist. These watches are made up of hundreds of tiny parts which are very sensitive to movement, and when you wear the watch in just your day-to-day life, the movements you make--whether it’s swinging your arm while you walk, or rotate your wrist as you turn a steering wheel, or move your hand while you eat--all cause an internal weight inside the watch to rotate and transfer energy to a power reserve. 

As long as you wear the watch consistently, it will always remain “charged”. (An automatic watch has a power reserve of a little less than two days on average.)

Because of all the tiny parts and intricate and complex design, these watches are more rare and expensive than quartz movement watches.

How Do I Know What’s Right For Me?

Choosing the right watch for you is all about what you find important. Quartz is definitely a cheaper option, because it’s easier to make. It also is extremely reliable--more accurate than an automatic watch when looked at over long periods of time. 

They also require very little maintenance, other than changing a battery every few years (automatic watches require a little maintenance every few years as well, but that maintenance needs to be done at a watch shop and is a little more intensive.)

On the other hand, automatic movements are prestigious, partially because they’re more rare but also because they’re such complicated machines. Aesthetically, these watches are often more interesting to look at--some have clear backs that let you see the movement inside, and there is also some interest to be found in the sweeping motion of the second hand. (In a quartz watch, the second hand ticks once per second, while an automatic watch glides along seamlessly.) 

But automatic watches are also the watches worn by connoisseurs and aficionados who care about the internal movements, history, and mechanics of watch in the same way that a clothes horse cares about their sartorial choices, or the way a car enthusiast cares about what’s under the hood of their car. 

Make no mistake: quartz watches are not bargain-basement watches. The technology is considered very advanced, and the best quartz watches are in any watch collector’s repertoire. On the other hand, it’s rare to find an automatic movement watch that sells for less than $500. 

Ultimately, when choosing a watch, you’ll want to make your decision based on aesthetics, durability, design, accuracy, price, and the need for maintenance. Regardless of what you choose, you can end up with a work of art that also functions as a daily tool.

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8 Reasons to Choose a Vintage Style Watch

Posted by Neil Patel on

There are many reasons that someone will choose to buy a vintage style watch, whether they are interested in history or are interested in art, or it’s simply a hobby. Vintage style watches offer a unique flair that can’t be had with other watches. 

Aside from turning heads a watch with a story can open doors, close business deals, and help you make connections. Here are ten reasons why you should choose a vintage style watch.

The History

Collecting vintage style watches is like collecting a snapshot of time, a time long past where different people wore this style of watch in very different circumstances in very different places.

A vintage watch may have traveled the world, seen wars, been pawned to pay the rent during the depression, been worn during a wedding. Every watch has a story to tell, and learning all that you can about the timepiece makes it come alive and brings you even closer to the original owner--or the many owners--that the watch has had over the years.

With vintage-style watches you get the story built into a magnificent new timepiece. Our pilot watches are an excellent example: they’re built to bring you back to an age of Spitfires and Mustang P-51s. While these watches may not have seen action in the war, they carry with them the feeling of history, and the likeness of a true historical timepiece. 


There’s a lot to be said for the unique flavor of a vintage-style watch. Anyone can go out and buy the latest flashy watch advertised by the newest James Bond film, but how many people will have a recreation of an aviator’s watch from World War Two? Or a watch that brings you back to the golden era of motorsports?  Each watch tells a story, and a vintage-style watch does it in a style that is all its own.


There’s a level of enjoyment that comes from owning a vintage-style watch--and that’s really why you should be buying them, after all. Whether that enjoyment comes from knowing so much about its related history (or imagining so much about a history lost to time), or from the aesthetic beauty of the watch, it’s a hobby that grows on you and fills you with great pride as you choose from a selection of vintage-style watches when you get ready for a big date, a big meeting, or a big life event. 

The Joy of the Hunt

Watch hunting is addictive. The more you get into watch history, learning about which watches are valuable and why, the more you get thrilled by the glimpse of a rare watch in a catalog or online. 

Watch collecting is infectious. It’s addictive. You pour through old pictures of watches that are lost to time only to find that a recreation of that vintage watch--a watch inspired by a vintage Le Mans.  The thrill of the chase adds to the fun of collecting. Just like some people may look for Mickey Mantle’s rookie card, you’re looking for that one watch style that continues to elude you--until you find it and snatch it up.

It Creates Opportunity

Vintage-style watches open doors for you that may have previously been closed. When you go in to interview for a job, or when you’re meeting with a client to close a deal, your vintage watch--a sign that you know and appreciate the finer things in life--may be the thing that makes them make the offer or sign on the dotted line. A watch is a status symbol, as well as a piece of history. It creates opportunities.

Enhances Your Style

A vintage-style watch not only looks good, but it makes you look better. Whether you’re going to mingle at a swanky soiree, or go dancing on your anniversary, or meet a first date, a vintage watch makes a style statement. It finishes the look. The watch shows that you are a person of fine taste, but it’s a different kind of taste--you don’t buy the most gaudy expensive watch you can find, you buy one with character. And that will show through.

A Topic of Conversation

A vintage-style watch, with all of the history and art behind it, is a great conversation starter. People will ask about it. You can show it around. The conversations that get started will be interesting and deep, because you’re not just talking about an expensive bauble, but you’re talking about something of personal value, something with a story behind it. You’ll find that it opens doors.

It’s an Art Piece

A vintage-style watch is an art piece. It may be quirky, it may be different from the watches that are being mass produced, but that’s where the beauty lies. A vintage watch carries with it the style of the era from which it is inspired. Is it Art Deco? Art Nouveau? Older? Newer? A vintage-style watch is like wearing a piece of artwork on your wrist that you can show off--or that people can admire at a distance. It’s something special.

View our vintage style watch collection

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What Makes a Dress Watch?

Posted by Arash Shahbakhshi on

What is a dress watch?

In the classical sense, a dress watch is an elegant watch that is typically worn with a formal suit or tuxedo. However, these days it can also be sported with casual attire like polo and jeans with which it pairs equally fabulously.

What makes a watch a Dress watch?

As the rules of dressing are being rewritten we’re witnessing a change in fashion that blends style and comfort.Suits now pair as acceptably with sneakers as they do with oxfords and high-end pieces mix with low without the batting of an eye. The same sentiment applies when it comes to timepieces. Wearing a dress watch now is not a result of sartorially-oppressive norms, it is a means of self-expression and freedom of choice. 

Therefore, in these modern times, you can wear a dress watch with jeans and you’ll find that it complements the casual look superbly and just as effortlessly. In fact, that’s what makes a dress watch - one that can instantly elevate the overall appeal, lending a modern but graceful appearance to any attire, be it business suits, sports jackets, or polo and jeans.

What should you wear with a dress watch?

Essentially, a dress watch is a timepiece designed to be worn with a suit or some other formal attire, though it can also be worn with semi-formal and even business casual attire depending on the outfits. Can you wear a dress watch casually with jeans and a t-shirt? Absolutely.

What watch band goes with a dress watch?

Traditionally speaking, dress watches are paired with cow or alligator fine leather straps and come with polished or dual polished cases.Truth be told, both of these straps tend to pair best with a dress watch, whether you’re going to an upscale or casual event. If you’re thinking how to choose watch strap color, it’s best to stick with the classic black, brown or navy colors for formal occasions and experiment with fun colors for a casual night out.

So, what are some of the hallmarks of a dress watch?

Perhaps the biggest is the simplicity of it. Most dress watches have no complications or have at most a second hand and a date window.Besides elegance, minimalism is what makes a dress watch.

What makes a dress watch still relevant today? A watch is still one of the most acceptable ways for men to wear jewelry. Then, there’s versatility: pairing a classic watch with the latest street wear adds luxury to the cool factor. A fine dress classic watch will anchor your otherwise of-the-moment look and you can wear it with anything from your Rag & Bone flannel shirt to a Tom Ford suit. 

Anatomy of a dress watch

Dress Watch with Hand Wound Swiss ETA 6498 Movement

A dress watch with Hand Wound ETA 6498 Movement

A dress watch is supposed to be elegant and modest.A watch that is minimalistic and adds a touch of style, flair, and sophistication, regardless of whether it is worn with formal, semi-formal, or casual attire, is a dress watch.

In terms of its making, in the traditional sense, a fine dress watch is encased in a precious metal exterior like gold or platinum. However, the definition of a dress watch has evolved over the years and now encompasses watches with dress casings constructed of other metals like stainless steel.

In fact, even luxury watchmakers these days present dress watches with casings of stainless steel. And why not? It looks just as elegant, if not more so!

How much does a good dress watch cost?

One of the most obvious examples of this is the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony. But that is a $20,000 watch. Not something everyone can afford. There are a handful of high-end Swiss brands that make good dress watches, but the down side is they drain your bank account, unless you can drop $3-$20K for a watch.

However the good news is that contrary to popular or rather traditional perception, a good dress watch doesn’t have to be expensive.So, if you are in the market for a well Swiss Made dress watch for less than $1000, check out our Swiss Made Traditum Series – best dress watches under $1,000

Traditum Series:  A classic dress watch for gentlemen. A Limited Edition collection available in Hand Wound Swiss ETA 6498 Movements. 

You can also explore Ferro & Company's other collections and options of refurbished watches to create your look. Make sure to pair the right watch accessory with your time piece to keep it classy.

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What is a One Hand or Single Hand Watch?

Posted by Arash Shahbakhshi on

Singe hand watches are very unique in style and are getting quite popular amongst those that are living in a more relaxed pace when accurate time reading is not very crucial, unless if you are a heart surgeon and need to get to the operation room just on time. Some One Hand Watches come with a super slow hand which rotates fully once every 24 hours, and most models are with slow hour hand which rotates once every 12 hours.

Normally the indices between the hours represent minutes, quarters and half hours. By looking at the one hand watch you can tell the time within +/- 2 to 5 minute discrepancy .

Here is an interesting Single hand watch that we have recently introduced. This particular design is inspired by the iconic 356 Speedsters Tachometer. 

Single hand watch with Swiss ETA 6498 Hand Wound Movement Inspired by Porsche 356

Reading the time with a single hand watch is easy. Below is an example showing different times.

Single hand or one hand watch with Hand Wound ETA 6498 Movement

Ferro & Company Single Hand Watches are available exclusively at our online store. For the 356 Series that is inspired by Porsche 356 please visit "356" One hand series

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