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Smart watch - any benefit to pilots?

This came through by email from Transair.

Amongst other features it has a WAAS database, barometer, you can do a NRST search, load waypoints and flight plans, it has an altitude pre-select and altitude deviation alert, it will show bearings and glide ratios. OK, its now a replacement for any of the approved or non-approved navigation devices or aids, and actually will it tell you anything you didn't already know anyhow, but as a watch I'd say it's quite cool. And at £365, that is not a bad price compared to the some the Citizen Red Arrows watches priced at £400 and have none of these features.

And some additional pictures

I guess this is a piece of equipment (does it show the time?) in a wristwatch housing, whereas a good watch is a piece of art.

Aufwind GmbH
EKPB, Germany

A work of art it is not. It looks as though the time display is large and clear but as Garmin have yet to start shipping who knows what the reality will be.

EHLE / Lelystad, Netherlands, Netherlands

Can it be that this is the first "pilot watches" thread after one year of EuroGA ;-) ? Or did I miss something?

This thing looks very much like my 1990ies diving computer (from Oceanic IIRC), only uglier...

EDDS - Stuttgart

It might indeed be the first one - first time for everything

I like this one


  • it's a silly price
  • the date is too small for me to read (being over 50...)
  • it is mechanical so not very accurate

BUT then you will get one of these

which you definitely won't get anywhere near with the Garmin watch.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Can it be that this is the first "pilot watches" thread after one year of EuroGA ;-) ?

What's an aviation forum without a watches thread ;-) I did think maybe it would be lowering the tones of the rightly acclaimed seriousness of this site but just as 1980's 'Yuppie' Investment Bankers like Porsches (maybe some still do), Pilots like watches. But trying to be serious for a moment, its interesting that Garmin, one of the biggest avionics manufactures is 1: branching into a different market 2: actually sees a need for this.

As I said, I don't think it's of much practical use. I'd either fly a plane with proper panel mounted kit and/or a non-fixed system like SkyDemon, or I'd just fly the old way with a chart and PLOG. I'd probably not go up in the Piper Cub attempting to navigate with my Garmin watch. But I still think from a technology perspective it is interesting, and I wonder if either a) it will die a relatively quick death 2) Jepp and the others will follow suit.

Yeah, watches are fun

But I find it hard to imagine a real use for the Garmin watch. The only time I have used my watch for anything in flying was in

  • IR tests

  • flying holds (almost never happens, but the watch is easier to reach than the other means elsewhere of timing the ~ 1 minute)

Stuff like ETA, ETE, etc, are read off the panel mounted GPS, together with the fuel reserve etc.

I thought bankers went mainly for Aston Martins?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The only time I have used my watch for anything in flying was in...

In thirtyfive years of flying, twentythree of which instrument rated, I have not yet used a writswatch for anything on board an aeroplane yet. There are always panel mounted stopwatches of some kind (either dedicated ones or bulit into the ADF, transponder, GPS receiver, EFIS) that are much easier to use than a wristwatch which needs two hands to operate and that always points the wrong way when you hold on to the yoke... And the panel mounted ones glow in the dark.

On many days, including flying days, I don't wear a watch at all.

EDDS - Stuttgart

First thing I did when I stopped working 4 years ago was to take of my wrist watch. I have never missed it since


I actually like watches but never use one in the plane and cannot see the point of this one. A WAAS database, whatever for?

EGTK Oxford
101 Posts
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