Earlier this year, IWC released the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince”, featuring an innovative and delightful “jumping star” function. This was unusual for IWC. The Schaffhausen watchmaking company is known for its finely engineered timekeeping instruments that exhibit performance and reliability in every component. It is only in one area — its watches associated with the novella Le Petit Prince by French writer-philosopher-aviator Antoine de St-Exupéry — that IWC allows a streak of whimsy to come to the surface.
The 2013 Pilot’s Watch novelties, for example, included IWC’s iconic perpetual calendar with its moonphase disk swapped out for a disk depicting the Little Prince, of St-Exupéry’s most famous work, standing on a rocky planet. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII “Le Petit Prince” featured a central seconds hand counterpoised by the lopsided star that illuminated the landscapes of St-Exupéry’s original artwork for the book.
The “jumping star” of the new Doppelchronograph is a new complication for the manufacture — a ring of seven star-shaped apertures encircles the centre of the dial, and a gold disc leaps about non-sequentially beneath, bringing out a different star each day. The stars represent the planets visited by the eponymous prince in the St-Exupéry tale, one of which holds the rose that he loves.
There is a reference chart engraved on the back of the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” for easy identification of which planet the prince is visiting that day as indicated by the gold star. The wearer can change the prince’s location by activating the pusher at four o’clock and making the star jump.
On 10 November 2015, a special edition of the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” will be auctioned by Sotheby’s Geneva in aid of the Antoine de St-Exupéry Youth Foundation.
IWC’s partnership with the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – d’Agay Foundation is the company’s most enduring and prolific of its charitable associations, having begun in 2005 and the first ST-Exupéry timepieces produced in 2006. The partnership has produced 14 watches over 10 years — 29 if you include all the different case materials as separate references — and is committed to increasing education and literacy in children worldwide.
Although the St-Exupéry watches represent the largest share of IWC’s frequent and regular efforts to promote a culture of social responsibility, there are various other causes that benefit from IWC’s contributions.
The Laureus Sports For Good Foundation uses sports as a rallying point for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to offer them a good education and the chance to overcome the social and economic issues they face on a daily basis. Every year, an art competition is held, with participation open to all children involved in Laureus projects. The winning entry is replicated on an engraving on the caseback of a limited-edition watch, and a donation is made to the foundation out of the sales of this annual limited edition. Nine Laureus Sports for Good Foundation special editions have been released so far.
Limited by number and also limited by the collection that best projects the nature of this association are the Aquatimer watches made by IWC to raise awareness of the Cousteau Society. There have been six of these watches — made in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014. This makes the Cousteau Society the longest-running collaboration out of IWC’s current CSR commitments.
Reinforcing the message of environmental protection are the watches made in conjunction with the Charles Darwin Foundation, which began in 2010 with the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands”, followed in 2014 with three more special-edition Aquatimer chronographs. The sale of these watches propels donations from IWC towards the Charles Darwin Foundation in their extensive array of research, development and advisory activities.
When REVOLUTION approached IWC in the making of a timepiece to commemorate our 10th anniversary, we already knew that we wanted to take this opportunity to raise funds and awareness of a particular charity that’s extremely close to our hearts. Thanks to IWC’s rock-solid support, we were able to do this very thing.