It’s the year of the Pilot’s watch at IWC, expect handsome pieces that meld elegance with performance and hardiness that define what an aviator’s watch ought to be. It’s a very broad range, straddling history (Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch and Mark XVIII), accessibility (Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36), and complications (Timezoner Chronograph); made complete with special editions from “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” and “Le Petit Prince” collections. IWC has also introduced minor design tweaks to current models including the Top Gun collection that generally return the aesthetics to something more in line with tradition. Most obvious change in this regard: not a triple-date in sight, anywhere.

Says Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen in explaining IWC’s intent for the year, “In 2016, we’re widening our range to include smaller Pilot’s Watches in the entry-level segment, without neglecting our traditional heritage.”

Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch

Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55

Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55 (back)

Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48

Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48 (back)

Two versions have been released for this: the Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55, and Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48, with the numbers denoting the case size in mm. Both are heavily inspired by the Big Pilot’s Watch which IWC supplied to the German Air Force from 1940, huge watches engineered for optimal precision and legibility.

Dial markings and indices on the 55 and 48 are in beige Superluminova, a nod to the original which had these slathered with a thick coat of beige-coloured radium.

Looks aside, the 55 and 48 are thoroughly modern and state-of-the-art. Both are cased in lightweight sandblasted titanium for comfort, weighing 150g and 120g respectively compared the original’s 183g cased in steel. Both also feature soft-iron inner cases for protection against magnetic fields, and their manual wind movements are protected against overwinding.

The 55 has a power reserve of 46 hours and is in a limited edition of 100 pieces. The 48 is issued to 1,000 pieces, and despite its inner case, features a sapphire window at its back that displays its power reserve of up to 192 hours!

Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII

Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII

Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII (back)

Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII (silvered dial)

Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII (steel bracelet)

A handsome entry-level model that comes from a distinguished line of pilot’s watches that began with the Mark 11 issued to Britain’s royal Air Force from 1949. It’s dropped the triple date window of the preceding Mark XVII, and has had its steel case diameter reduced by 1mm, to 40mm. Self-winding, with 42 hours’ power reserve, available with Santoni calfskin leather strap or steel bracelet.

Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36

Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 (slate dial)

Silvered dial

Silvered dial

With bracelet

A more genteel entry-level watch than the Mark XVIII, it’s the smallest watch in IWC’s repertoire at 36mm – the same size as the Mark 11 – and is ideal for women as well as men with slimmer wrists. Automatic with 42 hours’ power reserve and soft-iron inner case, and three dial choices. A modest-sized watch with huge ambitions of bringing new clientele into the IWC fold.

Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph

Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph

(back)

Using bezel expertise from developing its Aquatimer collection, IWC has produced a watch that will tell the hour in any city simply by turning the bezel back and forth as desired, and the date will follow too. Self-winding with 68 hours’ power reserve, and there’s even a flyback chronograph. 45mm, in steel.

Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”

The tribute to “The Little Prince” by author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the solid gold rotor that powers the watch is an asteroid on which the titular prince is standing, based on a drawing by Saint-Exupéry himself. Self-winding with 7 day power reserve, in 46mm red gold case. Limited to 250 pieces.

“Le Petit Prince” unlimited editions (midnight blue dials)

Big Pilot’s Watch

Pilot’s Watch Chronograph

Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII

Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII (back)

Very attractive watches, and no better excuse to have one’s fave IWC in beautiful blue, these are available in unlimited editions with back engraving.

Big Pilot’s Watch. Soft iron inner case, self-winding with 7 days’ power reserve, in 46mm steel.

Pilot’s Watch Chronograph. Soft iron inner case, self-winding with 44 hours’ power reserve, in 43mm steel.

Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII. Soft iron inner case, self-winding with 42 hours’ power reserve, in 40mm steel.

“Antoine de Saint Exupéry” editions (tobacco brown dials)

Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar

(back)

Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph

(back)

Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry”. This won’t need date correction until 2100, and the moon phase is accurate to 1 day in 577.5 years. Self-winding with 7 days’ power reserve. Limited to 750 pieces, in 46mm steel.

Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry”. Self-winding with 44 hours’ power reserve, in 44mm steel with soft iron inner case. Limited to 1,000 pieces.

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