Behind The Build #002 - Pilot Mods
With the advent of modern airplanes, came the need for specialist instruments to keep track of time while in the air. In the early days of aviation, wrist watches weren't seen as reliable enough to be used on long flights, although there are reliable stories that Cartier created the Santos for Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont in 1904.
Above: Alberto Santos-Dumont, the namesake for one of the earliest pilot/aviation wristwatches in history (Source: Robb Report)
Many pilots opted to use timekeeping instruments that were mounted in the aircraft, which made legibility much easier. Power reserve also wasn't an issue, as large clocks could be built with massive mainsprings that allowed for days of power reserve.
The first pilot's wristwatches that were built to be used professionally are thought to be the flieger watches that were built by the German air force in the late 1930's. These classic timepieces were huge by today's standards, and were supplied on a mission-by-mission basis to German flight crews.
Above: This is what 55mm of watch looks like on the wrist. (Source: Horologium)
Known as the B-Uhr (short for “Beobachtungs-uhr”, which translates to "Observation watches"), these early pilot watches came in at a whopping 55mm in diameter. They were large for two main reasons - they had to accommodate the pocket watch movements of the era, which were around 42mm-46mm. The other reason was, unsurprisingly, legibility. To further ensure that visibility would never be an issue, the classic B-Uhr dial features a triangle and dot design at the 12 o'clock that allows for clear dial orientation during night flights, and bad weather conditions.
Above: When worn over thick pilot jackets, these larges tool watches don't look THAT strange. (Source: Watchtime.net)
Another trademark design feature of these pilot watches are their huge onion crown - an extremely welcome design choice when you're wearing thick, unwieldy leather gloves. Some other interesting specifications that defined the B-Uhrs of the time were a 200m water resistance, anti-magnetic properties, and shock resistance. A hacking seconds hand was also a must for ensuring accurate time-keeping.
With this rich heritage in mind, it's no surprise that SKX pilot mods are so popular. We think that these classic designs work really well with the SKX case, and we manufacture everything you need to do a SKX pilot mod. Alternatively, you can also buy all your Seiko mod parts from us, and do a custom SKX pilot mod from the ground up. Whatever way you choose to do it, the a Pilot style mod is definitely one that you should have in your collection.
The Seiko SKX Pilot Bezel
Let's face it, the SXK pilot bezel changes everything about how the SKX looks.
We make a range of Seiko pilot bezel options, and all of them will take you a long way in your Seiko flieger build. You will want to choose the overall direction of your SKX007 pilot or SKX013 pilot build from the get-go, so you can create the look that you love.
Once you see how much the right pilot bezel changes the overall look of the SKX007 pilot or SKX013 pilot case, it will be easy to see why so many Seiko fans are choosing this as a mod. Check out these parts to see what we make, and also to look at a well executed SKX pilot mod.
Above: The SKX013 gets a Pilot-style makeover. (Source: namokiMODS)
Have a look at those skeletonized SKX hands!
One thing you might be noticing is that pilot watches have the same kind of look you might see in a field watch, or even an Alpinist.
The good news is that we offer loads of hand sets to choose from, including sword hands and cathedral hands. You can go vintage or modern with a SKX pilot mod, and we can help you put the right parts together for your new modded Seiko pilot.
Getting the SKX Pilot Mod Right
There really is only one way to go for a SKX pilot bezel, but the choices you have for a dial are seemingly endless. Have a look at this great SKX pilot mod to see how the modder used a Rolex 1655-esque MKII dial to pull off an amazing build.
Above: A quick and clean pilot mod - Hard to believe this was once an SKX007! (Source: Adventures in Amateur Watch Fettling)
Once you have a good case for the SKX pilot mod in hand, you actually have a lot of choices for the dial and handset you use. While we do offer classic flieger dials, you can also use dials that were designed for field watches, or other dials that ooze that purpose-built aesthetic that pilot watches are known for.
Above: The IWC Spitfire automatic - a modern take on a classic. (Source: Worn & Wound)
If you are looking for a flieger that takes inspiration from the IWC pilot's watch, have a look at these kunai hands. One of the best things about building a SKX pilot mod is that you have so many options for the dial and hands you choose, which makes creating unique pieces easy.
SKX013 Pilot Builds are Great!
If you want to use the smaller SKX013 case to build a pilot watch, there are also lots of options for you to choose from. This modder used a classic MM dial and hands together with a matte pilot bezel to make a great looking pilot watch build, which also features a president bracelet that makes the watch extremely versatile.
We think that our vintage Explorer dial is an amazing fit for a SKX013 pilot mod, and would work with a variety of handsets. The cathedral hands would be great to use, and we offer them in a variety of finishes. The black variation of our cathedral hands would be especially interesting when matched with our black SKX013 case, if you want to go for a "blacked out", stealth kind of aesthetic.
Mod Better with Namoki
We know that there are loads of options out there for Seiko modders, which is why we focus on delivering the best Seiko modding parts in the industry. We love the craft as much as you do, and want our clients to have solid parts on their wrist that will be as good as OEM (or better).
If you have any question about modding, or suggestions about parts you would love for us to make – please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We value your ideas and opinions, and would love to design more products that the modding community can get creative with.