As we travel this summer, we don't think enough about the individuals ferrying us across the sky while we peacefully nap in the cabin of a luxurious airliner. Being a pilot isn't easy, whether it's for commercial, military, or exploration purposes. This week, we'd like to pay tribute to pilots of all kinds by offering some of the coolest vintage aviation timepieces right here in The HODINKEE Shop. Come check out what's in store, and don't forget to bring your passport!
1956 Rolex Datejust 'Thunderbird' Reference 6609

The Rolex Thunderbird was the watch of choice for the famous aerobatic squadron in the United States Air Force. Fitted with a graduated bi-directional rotating bezel that first appeared on the Turn-O-Graph in 1953, pilots were able to use this feature of the watch for the precise measurement of elapsed time and coordination in-flight. The present example is cased in 18k yellow gold, featuring a champagne dial with alpha hands and arrow-head hour markers. A Turn-O-Graph bezel rotates around a plexiglass crystal with the brand's signature cyclops date window. Driven by the self-winding caliber 1065, this timepiece is yet another fine example of a mid-twentieth century Rolex. Attached to the iconic Jubilee bracelet, also in gold, this 6609 is primed for flight.
1959 Breitling Navitimer Reference 806

The Navitimer is arguably the most quintessential Breitling model ever produced. Celebrated by pilots for its slide rule bezel and logarithmic scales, the Navitimer allows you to calculate everything from airspeed, distance and fuel consumption, and flight time to simple computations like multiplication and division. The Navitimer we are excited to offer you is appealing in that it has an early beaded bezel and rare dial with radium lume and the logo of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). This timepiece is powered by the manually-wound caliber 178 from Venus, a Swiss manufacturer famous for its chronograph production. The 40mm stainless steel case comes with a signed buckle that has been fitted to a HODINKEE Davenport watch strap in Tan too. This Breitling is an incredible timepiece that is hard to find in such well-preserved condition.
1970 Omega Speedmaster Reference 145.022-69 ST

Having just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, you may well know that the Omega Speedmaster was the first watch to be certified by NASA for manned space missions (and the only one ever certified for EVA). With all of the latest Speedy buzz, it's only suitable for us to bring another great example to The HODINKEE Shop. Being a Reference 145.022-69 ST, this Speedmaster was only in production for a short period of time and is the last model to have a caseback featuring the Omega hippocampus logo with no reference to the moon landing engraved on it. It is also the first Speedmaster to use the caliber 861 movement, it features the highly desired "Dot over 90" bezel, and it has a stepped dial. As finding good, clean examples of vintage Speedmasters gets harder each day, we are pleased to present you with such an iconic timepiece at a great price.
The Full Set

This week we also have a beautiful 1970 Rolex Datejust "Wide Boy" Reference 1603 and a collectible 1960s Royce Chronograph "Reverse Panda" Reference 13-19. Take a closer look here in the HODINKEE Shop.