Unsolicited testimonial – watch industry copywriting - AIRBUS A380 pilot


Copywriters love unsolicited testimonials

As a freelance copywriter, there are few things as affirming as glowing unsolicited testimonials from high credibility commentators. Google Reviews are good, LinkedIn recommendations are great, handwritten letters are amazing. Then, occasionally, something arrives out of the blue that rewards all the hours, weeks and years of study, research, writing and rewriting that go into our craft – in a way that no amount of money can match. I'm loathe to blow my own trumpet; I'd much rather let testimonials and my writing speak for itself (or for your organisation). But today, well, no...

Watch articles, a testimonial and the Airbus A380

You can imagine my delight when I saw the review that headlines this article. It appeared recently on Geckota Ltd's WatchGecko website for which I regularly research and write articles on watches and the watch industry.

Several things stand out about this comment and the testimonial that it contains. Firstly, it was completely unsolicited. That's a great start.

Airbus A380 airliner at Dubai


The 10,000 hour rule...

Secondly, it was from a highly credible source, in this case an Airbus A380 pilot with no less than 12,500 total flying hours. Anyone familiar with pop-psych writer Malcolm Gladwell will be aware of the 10,000-hour rule (actually developed by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson), that has become closely associated with him since he wrote about it in Outliers. Since then, the original researchers disputed Gladwell's usage, and a 2014 Princeton University study by Macnamara, Hambrick and Oswald indicated that other factors are also as (or more) important than just deliberate-practice.

Nevertheless, 12,500 hours (equivalent to 657 return trips between London Heathrow and Vancouver), is lots of flying. The author of the comment clearly knows his stuff, which makes his comment particularly good for Geckota Ltd and myself. The writer could have been a Boeing 737, Beechcraft King Air or Bell 206 pilot and the numbers would still be valid. But an A380 pilot...that's pure gold.

First wing cut metal from A380 hull, August 2002

How many hours do I have behind me?

I've lost count of how many hours I've invested in my copywriting career. By a very conservative estimate (35 hours a week, 47 weeks per year and 12 years), I make that an absolute minimum of 1657 hours. In practice, I reckon you could double that – and then there are the years of in-house and agency copywriting, technical writing and PR writing I'd done before I took the plunge and hung out my own slate as a freelance copywriter.

This comment resonated with me because I've had a bit to do with the Airbus A380 in my time. Working as a technical author in my pre-freelancing days, I contributed to the A380 Tooling & Equipment Manual (TEM). I even have a couple of the special keyrings and presentation packs that Airbus made with swarf from the first UK metal cuttings of the first A380's wings.

I'm not surprised that I've found myself drawn towards aircraft and aviation copywriting, whether for pilots' watches (Geckota), aerospace consultancy (Hawksland Consultants) or technical publications for the aerospace and defence industries (Rheinmetall UK). Given that my parents met at what was then called Bristol Airplane Company (BAC) in Bristol (now BAESYSTEMS and Airbus), where my father worked on the Bristol/Ferrranti Bloodhound anti-aircraft missile, it feels as if a wheel has turned full circle...

Aviation copywriter for Hawksland consultants – corporate brochure

A pilot who's interested in watches...

The next important thing about Luca's review at www.watchgecko.com is that he is clearly interested in watches, and pilots' watches in particular. Modern airline flight deck crew are required to wear functioning timepieces. But pilot wristwatches are no longer a key part of flying operations as they were in the days of the original 1930s Hanhart pilot chronographs, or the original 1952 Breitling Navitimer... you'll need to read the article to learn more...

However, many pilots (as well as even more non-pilots) still wear pilot watches and chronograph watches. This is regardless of them being anachronisms in our digital age of multiple cockpit chronographs linked with the airliner's systems.

Easyjet pilot wearing a pilot watch – or Rodin's 'The Thinker'

The fact is that pilot watches appeal to everyone from planespotters at Gloucestershire's Staverton airport, to A380 jockeys like our comment writer. Whether its a classic Breguet XX, Geckota's fliegeruhren-inspired K1, IWC Big Pilot's Watch or Seiko's much-loved SNA411P1 Flightmaster chronograph, such timepieces exude professionalism, technological mastery and the wearer's identification with the world of flight and flying. They're also rather cool...

The enduring fascination of pilots' watches

It's always been that way, since the first first Cartier Santos was crafted in 1904, or the original Longines Lindbergh hour-angle watch was launched in the 1920s. To be honest, pilot watches (like dive watched) are so practical and engaging that they're irresistible to anyone even remotely associated with aircraft, airports and flight. You only need to visit the Baselworld watch fair, held in March each year, to appreciate their enduring appeal

A selection of pilot watches from Geckota and other brands

Aerospace or watch industry copywriting? Let's talk...

So there you have it, a site visitor takes the time out of a busy professional pilot's schedule to write succinct, but incredibly complimentary, praise for a copywriter. The result is that a chain of connections and nostalgic memories were set off.

It also gives me the opportunity to remind you that aerospace and watch industry copywriting are two of my specialities, that I've served my time and built up a wealth of skills and experience, and that what I write is a match for the most rigorous professional scrutiny. I can help you and your business; we just need to get in touch.

If you don't have the time, specialist skills or inclination to write your own watch industry website, aircraft leasing brochure, airline case study or horological PR copy, I can help. Writing may not be your thing (it isn't everyone's), but, as you can see, it is mine...

To discuss your watch writing or aviation copywriting, please call 01242 520 573 or email me


Al Hidden Gloucestershire Copywriter in Boeing 737 Cockpit Simulator







Professional Body

Member of the Professional Copywriters' Network

Watch Industry Copywriter

Do you need to get writing about watches off your to-do list? Click the image below...

Watch industry copywriter

Uchi Horology Series

Watch Industry Copywriter for the Uchi Horology Series of timepiece art prints and clothing


Aerospace Copywriting

Harness my experience in aerospace, aerospace tech pubs and aviation copywriting. Click the image...

Aerospace copywriter

What clients say

'Engaging copy...more web enquiries...excellent results...pure genius as always.' – see what my clients say

Travel & Holiday Copywriter

Website copywriter for a top cycling holidays company...

Travel, Tourism & Holiday copywriter

A Copywriter's A to Z of the Baselworld Watch Show

Take a copywriter for watch companies (me) Then mention 'Baselworld'. Here's what it's all about – from A to Z...

Copywriter for Watch Companies - Baselworld A to Z

Harness the power of customer case studies

They're a powerful write-once-use-many-times way to get customers to sell the benefits of your products and services in their words – learn more here

Defence Industry Client Case Study Writer

Style & Fashion Writer

Copywriting for businesses in the style, fashion and watch industries...

Gloucestershire Style & Fashion Writer


Projects for clients facing similar copywriting challenges to you – read more

copywriter portfolio

Automotive Copywriter

Writing about cars, car parts and the businesses that mend and drive them.

automotive copywriter for audi vw specialist centre website

Engineering Copywriter

Experienced copywriter seeks more engineering copywriting opportunities – read more

Image of engineering copywriting samples

Luxury Watch Writer

Writing digital and conventional copy for, and about, luxury watch brands...

Luxury watch writer

Executive chauffeurs

Need a copywriter who understands your industry? Click the image!

copywriter for chaffeur businesses

Get words working harder for your UK helicopter business

Experienced copywriter seeks more helicopter-related UK writing opportunities – read more

Travel Copywriter

Here's one I wrote earlier. My take on Öckerö, Sweden. Wanderlust, I'm coming...

Bikes are a great way to get around on Ockero

How Good is your Website Content?

You missed my October 2014 Business Kitchen mini workshop in Cheltenham? Read the handout notes...

Handout for How Good is your Website Content?

As Featured in Gloucestershire's The Local Answer

Could you use some of the writing that engages Gloucestershire readers of The Local Answer? Click here to get in touch...

Local Answer Travel Writer & Fashion Writer


Visit Copywriters Gloucestershire: Writing Now