Compared to a diver’s watch, which has rather strict definitions of what it is required to have before it can be classed as such, the pilot’s watch remains in a kind of no-man’s land. What constitutes a pilot’s watch then depends rather more on opinion than objective fact.  The fluidity at which opinion changes as to what a pilot’s watch is can sometimes be laughable when we sometimes see an average watch taking on the dress code of a vintage pilot watch design, and being marked as something useful for the aviator. What difference is there is those instances?

The Breitling Emergency 2, stands as one of those watches that comes closest to the ideal specification of a pilot’s watch, being, in my opinion, the only truly useful watch that any pilot can consider wearing in the cockpit. It is as close as one can get to being a real pilot’s instrument where there are no fantasies involved. Preservation of life is what this watch is all about, with it’s signalling antennas that can be activated in the event of a crash.  I spoke to two separate pilots on the Emergency series of watches before, and it’s worth a look at these videos below (in two parts, Part 1 and Part 2) to see why the Breitling Emergency is not a toy.

In Baselworld this year, I got the rare chance to see the new Emergency 2 up close. Even though the watch was announced last year, there still remains limited availability of this specialised professional instrument. Owners are after-all required to sign a contract relating to the use of the emergency functions when buying this watch, making this unique piece available at certain retail points only. The Emergency 2 itself is bigger than the previous Emergency having grown to 51mm from 43mm. While both versions are bulky on the wrist and not at all suitable for wearing with a suit, they remain extremely lightweight due to the case being made of titanium.


Breitling Emergency 2 in Black Titanium and with Black Dial


Two Back Dial versions of the Breitling Emergency 2, one in Black Titanium on rubber Driver Pro strap and the other on a titanium Professional Bracelet.


Side view of the watch and the crown for releasing the emergency antenna.


Side view of the watch and the crown for releasing the emergency antenna.


The case of the Breitling Emergency 2 is massive and quite thick, though it is lightweight enough to be comfortable.


A distinct presence on the wrist, but one suited more on a flight suit than a tuxedo.


A view of the electrical points where the Li-On battery of the watch is charged.


Distinctive both in looks and function, this is the true pilot watch of our modern era.


This watch pictured is fitted with a titanium bracelet that has the Co-Pilot module, allowing many of the digital functions of the watch to be performed separately.


Orange Dial version.


Yellow Dial version.