Introducing IWC Schaffhausen Pilot Watches
Tuesday - 18 August 2020
Aviation-inspired timepieces are geared towards individuals who like to live life to the full. With so many brands capitalizing on the popular pilot watch style, it’s hard to seek out those with a design formula that will remain both memorable and functional for years to come. Pilot watches have an instantly recognisable DNA. Their cockpit-friendly dials, Arabic numeral hour tracks and pronounced push-pieces are just a few examples to note.
IWC Schaffhausen’s collection of Pilot’s watches certainly hits the sweet spot for avid flyers and adventure-seekers, not to mention lovers of the Swiss-based manufacturer. The timepieces from the range combine an easily readable dial with traditional manufacturing techniques that prove ingenious time and time again.
Our range of IWC Pilot’s watches here at Jura Watches include models from the Mark XVIII sub-family, chronograph versions and timepieces from the Big Pilot line. Just two years ago, we saw IWC Schaffhausen launch a handful of limited-edition Pilot’s watches to mark the company’s 150th anniversary adorned with beautifully lacquered dials and equipped with bread-and-butter complications. Long before this, however, IWC Schaffhausen was pioneering indispensable tools for professional pilots and the aviation industry. The year 1936 to be precise. Coveted special editions like the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Le Petit Prince make this range of IWC watches an incredibly exciting one to explore, as well as instruments that resemble some truly iconic historical predecessors.
From simple three-handed designs to perpetual calendars, moonphase models, tourbillons and a range of materials and colours to choose from - the IWC Pilot’s watch range can appeal to anyone with an interest in 1940’s aviation watches to novice modern-day collectors.
The Pilot Mark XVIII range
What makes an IWC Pilot’s watch so interesting to collect is the vast array of models on offer, each one with a distinguishable design and a unique story to tell. The ref: IW327003 for example, is the Mark XVIII Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” model, which features a chocolate brown dial, a special engraving that depicts the profile of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft on its caseback, and a comfortable brown calfskin strap inspired by the French author and pilot’s flying suit.
The Pilot’s Watch ref: IW327006, on the other hand, is the Mark XVIII Heritage timepiece which presents the time on a retro-inspired dial that nods to the Big Pilot’s Watch 52 T.S.C. Other models from the Mark XVIII collection include the references IW327015 and IW327016 – the latter of which is the Edition “Le Petit Prince” watch – a dedication to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince novel. Both models present the time on a spacious, well-balanced three-handed dial with the date window located at 3 o’clock.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire ref: IW326802 is a timepiece made for purists, with its bronze case and contrasting deep olive-green dial. The design of this IWC Pilot’s Watch remains faithful to an important instrument of the past – the Mark II navigation watch produced for the British Royal Airforce from 1948 onwards. The cleverly crafted case of this Automatic Spitfire watch develops a patina over time, adding character and charm to the wrist as any noteworthy collectable should do.
For something a little more contemporary the IWC Automatic Top Gun watch ref: IW326901 belongs to a line of timekeeping instruments developed from materials utilized by the likes of the US Navy’s flying crews. These include ceramic, titanium and corrosion-resistant components for guaranteeing uncompromised reliability. This watch features a case made from non-reflecting, black zirconium oxide ceramic, which provides suitable protection over the in-house developed 32110 calibre (capable of a 72-hour power reserve).
The Pilot Chronograph range
There’s plenty of choice from the chronograph range of IWC Pilot’s watches, especially when it comes to deciding on dial and strap colours. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire model on a material strap combines the convenience of a day-date feature located to the east side of the dial with a 12-6-9 chronograph layout. Thanks to luminous elements on the dial, this pilot’s watch remains simple enough for accessing vital timekeeping information at a glance.
IWC’s midnight blue dial is a trademark feature seen throughout the Maison’s catalogue. Used in the ref: IW377714 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” it creates a vivid backdrop for white Arabic numerals and the distinct triangular indexes residing at 12 o’clock. Resistance against magnetic fields is an area of expertise that IWC Schaffhausen has focussed deeply on throughout its heritage. Each mechanical engine, including this 79320 Calibre, is surrounded by a soft-iron inner case for maximum protection.
The Big Pilot range
The Big Pilot watch range by IWC Schaffhausen sets its self apart as a direct descendant of the original 55mm Big Pilot’s watch from the 1940’s – the Große Fliegeruhr. Retaining its distinct conical crown (which makes operating the watch easy through gloves), these models still live up to their name. The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince” ref: IW501002 boasts superior legibility with a striking blue dial and a red-accented 7-day power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock.
Models IW501001 and IW501004 echo a similar design, with a useful date aperture taking up residence at 6 o’clock. The black dial with matching black leather strap deems the stainless steel IW501001 model a classic companion for wearing with office attire, while the black dial and brown calfskin design of the titanium IW501004 model will pair easily with an informal wardrobe.