I have a Breitling B1. Love it but its a little on the pricey side. I used to have one of those navihawks. Good watch but no back lighting so hard to see in the dark plus everyone has them. A friend of mine has an Omega that is real nice also, but they get up their in price. Fortis watches are also cool, a basic one is around 400-500, they get real cool for around 1200.
One of my favorite subjects, besides aviation, of course, and Denver Bronco football.
There are dozens of watch makes, high-end and low-end, but most seem to use the same basic movements. Most of the regular mechanical watches seem to use the ETA 2824 and its variants, and chronographs seem to use the Valjoux 7750 and its variants. These are good Swiss movements, but it is true that you can pay a lot for the name.
For example, the low-end Fortis that "Answerguy" mentioned uses the ETA 2824. I am sure the cool Fortis that Answerguy mentioned uses the 7750. A chronograph made by Rolex, called the Tudor Prince Date Chronograph, uses the Valjoux 7750. That watch costs something like $2K retail. Several Breitlings use modified Valjoux 7750s. These are all fine watches. On the other hand, Limes, which is a lesser-known make but very good, uses the ETA 2824 movement in it Nightflight line, which sells for $350, and the Valjoux 7750 in its Outback line, which goes for something like $850. I have a Limes Nightflight II and I really like it. Check out Limes at http://limes-watches.com/en/intro.html I also have an Aristo "Bomber" watch that I ordered from Germany that uses the same ETA 2824 movement used in the Limes and Fortis. I have an Omega that I wore for years. It is rugged, but I wasn't that impressed with its accuracy.
Do plenty of shopping and ask plenty of questions about who makes the movement of the watch you want. Ask about guarantees. You can figure out a lot about movements from studying a watch catalogue. Most salespeople I've met know squat about the movements in their watches.
Without a doubt this was more information than you really wanted or needed , but I hope it helps. Good luck with your selection. I'm no expert on watches by any means, but I've loved them since I was a child (the same time period that I have loved airplanes ). Send me a private if you have questions.
Timex. Twenty four bucks at Walmart, last forever, easy to see in the dark, has a stopwatch, calander, and a bunch of cool features nobody can use (because the manual is in Japanese), a built in compass, does dishes, is lightweight, makes a handy emergency caribiner in a pinch, the lens starts fires and is a handy flash signalling device, and I don't have to listen to people comment about pilots who compensate for personal flaws with a big watches.
I use a Casio "Illuminator". It cost me about $16 at Wal Mart and is the best watch I have ever had. All digital, shows the day of the week (important because I can never remember what day it is...), the date and time. Three pushes of a button and I have Zulu as the main time with local time a little smaller above it. Works great, last long time. And it gives my wife something to rib me about - "you are a major airline pilot, what are you doing with a $16 watch from Wal Mart?"
In all honesty, I use to own one of those big, fancy, expensive, pilot watches when I was a young man and God's gift to aviation. I soon learned that it was a pain in the back side to set, didn't keep good time and my left arm was gitting bigger than my right due to a 2.5 pounds of watch hanging from my wrist.
Merry Christmas to all.
Last August I spent my tax rebate on a Citizen Eco-drive. The face contains a solar cell so the battery is good for life. Ambient room light is sufficient for charging and the battery stores enough juice to keep the thing running in the dark for weeks. Unfortunately no backlight. But like a digital watch it knows the year so the date is always correct. Plus the band is titanium and extremely light. It's also got a neat-o feature whereby a button push and a flick of the knob changes the hour +/- one.
And perhaps most importantly, it's very smart-looking without looking geeky.
I have a Timex Expedition that I purchased at Target for $26. It has sweep hands and a digital display that can store two time zones. The sweep hands operate independently of the digital displays. When I'm on the road, the sweep hands are set to local time, and the two digital displays are set to GMT (UCT, Zulu, or whatever it's called now) and my home time (So I don't call my wife at 3:00AM).
Best feature is that it doesn't scream pilot like some of the other watches do.... ;-)