In March 2016, for the first time in decades, a new German watch standard was published: DIN 8330 Horology – Aviator watches. In June, the Hamburg-based company SEACOTEC helped carry out the first tests in accordance with the new standard and was able to confirm the certification of the world’s first DIN 8330-compliant watches by a conformity assessment body.
In this first run, the models 103 Ti IFR, 103 Ti UTC IFR and 857 UTC VFR from Sinn Spezialuhren GmbH successfully fulfilled the strict test criteria. Special confirmation was received from Dr Robert Surma, Managing Director of SEACOTEC, on 24 June at Aachen University of Applied Sciences.
In the run-up to this certification process, Sinn Spezialuhren reconfigured these three timepieces with regard to the requirements of the DIN 8330 Horology – Aviator watches. This primarily involved ensuring compliance with the functional and design guidelines. One of the aims was also to further enhance readability of the dial in order to help the wearer focus even better on the features critical for flight manoeuvres.
The basis for the DIN 8330 Horology – Aviator watches is the TESTAF (technical standard for pilot watches) released in 2012. TESTAF ensures that a pilot watch meets all modern-day requirements during flight operations in accordance with visual and instrument flight rules and is qualified for professional use to the highest level.
It was developed on the initiative of Sinn Spezialuhren and the Faculty of Aerospace Technology at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences (FH).
In 2013, the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), again at the request of Sinn Spezialuhren, resolved to establish a working group for pilot watches to develop a new standard for pilot watches based on the TESTAF standard.
In addition to Sinn Spezialuhren, other members of the working group included Aachen University of Applied Sciences and DNV GL (formerly Germanischer Lloyd), Lufthansa Cargo, Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter), Stowa, Laco and Glashütte Original. The draft version of the new DIN 8330 Horology – Aviator watches was passed in October 2015 and it came into force in March 2016.
German industrial standards command a high level of respect both nationally and internationally, and represent the very highest level of quality. Thanks to the DIN 8330 Horology – Aviator watches, we hope that pilot watches will once again be defined as watches offering special functional and technical features.
The DIN-certified watches are geared towards fully assuming the functions of the instruments for time measurement in aircraft and helicopters in the event of outages or suspected failures. After all, the DIN standard takes the uncompromisingly high demands placed on aircraft and helicopter equipment and applies them to wristwatches.
The DIN 8330 Horology – Aviator watches means that the tests already devised for TESTAF are standardised, precise, systematic and up to date. In the same way as the DIN 8306 standard for diver’s watches, it defines the requirements and test criteria for reliable, functional and safe pilot watches and highlights what a pilot watch needs to be able to do and the strains it has to be able to withstand.
This includes fast, clear readability of the dial both during the day and at night, the ability to operate the watch even while wearing pilot gloves, temperature changes, impact load and centrifugal force, as well as accuracy not only at room temperature but also at ranges of between –15°C and +55°C.
In addition, the DIN standard also defines more precise criteria, including for vibration resistance, magnetic field protection, resistance to liquids commonly encountered in the aviation industry (fuel, lubricants, cleaning fluids and de-icer) and compatibility with night-vision equipment. It also serves to expand the range of watches that are able to adhere to it in line with TESTAF – for example, by incorporating quartz or distinctly practice-oriented requirements in terms of the permissible magnetic signature of a pilot watch. As a result, the DIN-certified watches not only mean increased safety in the air but also increased suitability for everyday use, going far beyond the shock-resistant and waterproof characteristics of standard watches.
With its support for the TESTAF and DIN 8330 Horology – Aviator watches initiatives, Sinn Spezialuhren underlines its aspiration to create functional, high-quality and high-tech watches. For the German watchmaking industry, the new standard for pilot watches provides major impetus to maintain and expand on its leading role in this segment among the international competition.