Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pilot's Watches

Pilot's watches are a popular category of wrist-carried men's jewelry today. LIST: 10 of the best pilot's watches -- cleared for take-off.

How many planes are still flying that don't have dashboard clocks? I love watches, I always have a mechanical watch on me, but I'm becoming more and more convinced that watches are becoming more and more useless. ("All art is quite useless. -- Oscar Wilde. Quite right: all art does is to delight us and make life worth living.) When would a pilot need a watch? Maybe if he flew through an EMP which knocked out all of the electronics on the plane, and hopefully didn't also magnetize his mechanical watch and stop it too, because he would, for some reason entirely unknown to me, have to meticulously time his attempt to glide the plane down to a safe landing.

I would actually be interested to know how many pilots wear watches when they fly, and how many of them assert that the watch is useful to their flights, and how many of them, if any, would be right about that.

Okay, I can actually envision a scenario in which a watch would be useful to a pilot: in case of a crash on a deserted island or in the middle of a vast wilderness, it might be helpful to have a watch, after the flight was over. Maybe. Or maybe the watch would just be a counter-productive distraction from the effort needed to survive and re-join civilization.

I'm pretty sure that watches were still useful for pilots as recently as WWII. Maybe as late as 1969, when astronauts -- chosen from the very best of the US military pilots -- when they wore watches on their way to the moon, maybe even then there was some practical justification for it.

There has definitely been a business justification for Omega in their long-term relationship with NASA and other space-exploration programs. For a long time, the Omega Speedmaster was the only watch which NASA astronauts were allowed to wear on their missions. Publicity can't get much better than that.

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