Onion Crowns (Watches 101)

It’s uncommon for the crown of a watch to take middle stage however within the case of the onion crown, that’s precisely what occurs. While we normally don’t pay a lot consideration to the crown of a watch, there are some crowns that type an integral a part of the type and aesthetic of the watch.  The onion crown is the proper instance because the hanging design of this crown type is difficult to overlook.

An onion crown on a watch refers to a specific form and magnificence of the crown. Normally related to early pilot watches, the onion crown is outsized and has a bulbous form with parallel ribbing etched into the metallic which makes it look similar to – an onion in fact.


The onion crown features the identical as another crown, the small knob usually on the 3 o’clock place is used to wind a mechanical watch and set the time by turning the fingers of a watch. The distinction is the aesthetics of the exterior a part of the crown with its spherical form and the grooves paying homage to an onion.

Although essentially the most noticeable function of those crowns is their form and styling, the origin is predicated extra on sensible performance. In the early days of flying, cockpits have been very chilly and pilots wore heavy gloves throughout flight. Because of that, they wanted a big watch crown they might simply manipulate with out having to take away their gloves. Making the crown bigger and including the ribbing made it simpler to know and switch.

Iconic Watches with Onion Crowns

As talked about above, the onion crown was designed with pilots in thoughts. Because of that, this type crown was usually discovered on classic pilot watches early Flieger watches (designed for German pilots). Although now pilots use way more advanced watches and now not need to take care of cumbersome winter gloves whereas they fly there are some watchmakers which might be nonetheless utilizing onion type crowns to offer watches that retro look of a traditional pilot watch.

Zenith Pilot

Zenith has an extended historical past intertwined with the world of flight and pilots have been sporting the model’s watches since French aviator Louis Blériot strapped one on in 1909 and have become the primary man to fly accros the English Channel. This fashionable model of the Extra Special Pilot Type 20 maintains the classic look and area of a traditional pilot watch and the bronze onion-shaped crown is the primary a part of that aesthetic. The bronze case and crown add to that look as they tackle extra character and patina with age.

Longines Lindbergh

Lindbergh by Longines

Longines is one other model with a detailed connection to the world of flight, having made timepieces and early navigation devices, and onboard flight tools. The watch is a near-exact duplicate of the historic watch that was made by Longines and distributed within the early Nineteen Thirties by Longines-Wittnauer. The watch was designed by Charles Lindbergh himself to assist him in his solo trans-Atlantic flights.

This Lindbergh watch is part of the model’s “Heritage Avigation” line that additionally consists of the Longines Weems Second-Setting Watch, additionally that includes an onion crown.

IWC Big Pilot

IWC Big Pilot


This is a reiteration of the IWC Big Pilot with the crown on the left aspect. The mechanical self-winding motion has an antimagnetic case, 6 bar water resistance and a really spectacular 7 day energy reserve. This was a restricted version mannequin with solely 250 timepieces made. One of essentially the most distinctive fetaures, aside from its elegant onion crown, is that the energy reserve indicator subdial shows in days fairly than hours.

Stowa Flieger 36

Stowa Flieger 36

Stowa is thought for high quality pilot watches and this traditional Flieger 36 is not any exception. The simplistic and minimalist dia on this watch makes the type and class of the crown stand out much more.

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