These features certainly make the Heritage 48 a more-usable everyday watch, and while not as pure in intent as the Heritage 55, is certainly the watch that will find favor with a large number of buyers who might want to evoke the spirit of aviation in the old days, with no compromise to modern function. Indeed such was the importance of keeping a good balance between the looks and the function that one might ask the question of where the power-reserve indicator is, that the movement should surely have? Well, look to the rear of the watch, and find a small viewing port in the caseback to find it. Don’t worry about the antimagnetic shielding since this is a Pilot’s watch after all. The viewing port is small enough that magnetic protection isn’t compromised at all.
Certainly then, with the special nature of both these watches, it comes as no surprise that they are both limited editions. The Big Pilot Heritage 55 is limited to 100 pieces, while the Big Pilot Heritage 48, perhaps to reference the total number of IWC B-Uhr watches ever made, is limited to 1,000 pieces.
The second biggest launch this year for 2016, comes in the form of the Mark XVIII, the latest member of the legendary Mark series. In modern times, it has taken a place as the entry-level pilot’s watch for IWC, becoming popular not just for its affordability but also for its place in being descended from the legendary Mark 11. Its place in the collection has allowed many converts to the brand to have in one watch, everything that IWC represents in the world of aviation.
Indeed, what’s significant about the Mark XVIII this year is how it gives lovers of the Mark series, a new basic watch that simplifies the date aperture of the previous Mark XVII at a smaller size of 40mm (compared to the 41mm diameter of the previous Mark XVII), a more-convenient watch to wear every day.
Indeed one of the reasons why the Mark XVIII of 2016 is so important is because it is the latest member of a line that a great number of watch lovers are interested in. Whenever a new version appears, it is in the details that watch lovers look to, to approve or to criticize. In this instance, the Mark XVIII has got everyone very excited for the way it has managed to simplify and return a well-loved watch to its origins in a clearer way.
In this latest version, the controversial triple-date aperture window, loved and hated in equal measure by watch fans, has been changed to a single-line date window. Certainly, while the triple-date aperture window was a functional design that allowed the reading of the date when the hands covered any one of the exposed numerals, and further, had been inspired by cockpit instrumentation, there were watch fans who did not like it as it took too much space on the dial. This new single line takes a more-traditional look, and has the advantage of being cleaner in feel. In addition, the numeral “9”, previously done away with in the mark XVII has been brought back, and the position of the triangle with two dots has brought down lower on the dial, much like the Mark XV.
Elsewhere in the Classics pillar, we find the same design considerations extended to two well-loved staples of the line, the Pilot Chronograph (IW377709) and the standard Big Pilot (IW500912). Like the aforementioned Mark XVIII, the triple-date aperture, which was a design feature in the previous Pilot Chronograph ref. 3777, has now been reduced to a single line in this year’s version, bringing it in line with the older Pilot Chronograph ref. 3717 that was well loved in collector circles. Essentially, the new Pilot Chronograph of 2016 takes the best attributes from the previous two versions, the single-line day/date indication and the bigger size of 43mm, and brings it together into one watch.
In addition, the standard Big Pilot that we know has been updated with a slight facelift — most significantly, modifying the size and position of the Arabic numerals to make space for the numeral “9” that had previously been omitted. This adjustment, as with the position of the triangle at 12 o’clock, now brought to a lower position, brings the look of the Big Pilot in line with the original B-Uhr as well as the two limited-edition Big Pilot Heritage models.
In keeping with the range of choices in the Classics pillar, the Pilot’s range sees, as well, a new model based on the Mark XVIII, now sized at 36mm. Keeping to the same size as the legendary Mark 11, the new Pilot’s Automatic Watch 36 is the smallest watch on offer in the collection and has the potential to appeal to those wanting a more vintage correct case size, or men and women with smaller wrists. Slightly dressier in the details, (note the recessed circle inside the minute track) and coming in a range of dial colors and variations on bracelet and Santoni leather straps, this simplified version of the IWC Pilot’s Watch has all the right ingredients for broad and lasting appeal.
Lastly, to round out the Classics pillar, comes a watch that breaks new ground in the technical capabilities expressed by the Pilot range. The technically brilliant Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph (IW395001), while not having the traditional aesthetics of the range, comes with a never-before-seen complication that allows time zones to be quickly changed via a unique mechanism. By turning the bezel to find the reference city that you want at the 12 o’clock position, the hour hand and the red 24-hour hand (acting as a day/night indicator) move into position to show the correct time there. Coming with a chronograph, this unique watch is definately something that a pilot will find useful and convenient.