Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

TeStaF… the new standard for Pilot’s Watches

| By Frank Geelen | 3 min read |

Sinn Watches, EuroCopter and the University of Aachen (Germany) jointly worked on new standards for Pilot Watch, in order to create a new certification process for Pilot watches: TeStaF.

TeStaF is a German abbreviation for ‘Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren’ or Technical Standard for Pilot’s Watches. Until now there were no technical requirements for Pilot’s Watches, like there are the DIN 8306 / ISO 6425 standards for Dive Watches. The new standard sets functional requirements as well as requirements for the stress a watch can be exposed to in practical use.

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Most tool watches, like dive watches and pilot’s watches, can best be characterized as fashion watches. Maybe this sounds like a bold statement, but let’s face it, the design is mostly created for marketing purposes and most (fashion) tool watches never see any of the real life action, they were build to withstand. These designs might of course have a ‘genuine’ origin. Like for instance  was the case with the Type 20 and Type 21 pilot’s watches, like we told you about just a few weeks ago.

Sinn Spezialuhren on the other hand, makes watches to do exactly that what they are designed for. The Sinn Einzets Zeit Messer (EZM) are legendary and have become sought after collector’s items. So it’s not a surprise that this brand participates in a project to create requirements for pilot’s watches.

To create a new ISO/DIN standard would require a long, long way with most likely too many hurdles, so the chosen route seems the practical one. The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Applied Sciences in Aachen, under the supervision of Professor Dr. Frank Janser, developed a technical standard for pilot watches (TeStaF). And they have done this in cooperation with helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter and of course Sinn Spezialsuhren.

Prof.Dr.Ing. Frank Janser and Sinn CEO Lothar Schmidt

The questions that had to be answered first are of course to determine what a professional pilot’s watch is. What purpose pilot’s watches must fulfill for the pilot during flight and what features are essential and which are redundant? The team came up with the answers and set new requirement. When a watch is compliant with the “Technical Standards Pilot’s watches” (TeStaF) it gives users the assurance that the so-designated pilot’s watch:

  • meets the relevant functional, technical, physical and normative requirements for timing devices in the various aircraft classes;
  • allows the pilot to plan and perform maneuvers and thus replacing existing equipment;
  • performs under the physical stresses of normal flight operations as well as by unexpected disruptions and is not limited in its functionality and it is operated under all conditions and can be read easily and safely;
  • forms no potential risk for crew members, or other instruments representing the aircraft.

Let’s take a look at a summary of the requirements of TeStaF…

First functionality:

  • Required functions for visual and instrument flight
  • Excellent readability by day or night
  • Ensure the operability
  • Accuracy and power reserve

Second resistance to external loads:

  • Absolute and cyclic changing ambient pressure
  • Operational temperature range and rapid temperature changes
  • Shock and impact safety, G-loads and vibrations
  • Water resistance
  • Resistance to liquids typical flight operations (including Kerosine)
  • Effects of magnetic fields on the watch

Third Security and Compliance

  • Potential magnetic effects of the watch on the emergency compass
  • No unwanted reflections (anti-glare)
  • Special shape
  • Secure strap attachment

Now what does this all mean? The Technical University of Aachen has developed a demanding test regime for TeStaF, that can be offered to all watch brands. The successful outcome of the tests is attested by a certificate. Only these watches may bear on the dial or case, the protected quality mark “TeStaF”. Now I’m curious which brands will offer their watches for the test!

At the website of Technical University of Aachen you can find more information.

This article is written By Frank Geelen, executive editor for Monochrome Watches.

2 responses

  1. Very neat. It seems a no-brainer to come up with some requirements for the ever-present pilot watch, but as you said, they have become more a fashion statement than an actual tool. But, it’s that simple idea that becomes so obvious in hindsight. Good article.

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