The IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII comprises three references that are entry-level models and are also the closest thing to a 1940s pilot’s watch in the 2016 IWC collection. They have calfskin straps made by Santoni, with the Italian fashion footwear brand’s signature orange lining, or a metal bracelet. The 40mm case (11 mm in thickness) makes it a size accessible to most wrists, but in any case the 36mm pilot”s watches this year cater for men with small wrist sizes as well as to women.
The other major difference with respect to the previous Mark XVII is the date window, that no longer features the triple date display that was based on altimeter design. This provides more space on the dial. The only problem, in my opinion, is that the date is not where you would expect it – in the position of the numeral 3 – but a little further in. Personally I would have preferred the watch without a date window, but I imagine that IWC listen to what their distributors have to say about what customers want, and I guess that includes requests for the date window. The crown is normal (i.e. not the pilot’s watch conical or oval rounded crown).
Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC Schaffhausen, said, “When designing the dials for the classic pilot’s watches, we had one thing in mind: how could we get closer to the originals established by IWC in the form of the Big Pilot’s Watch and the Mark 11? Because we wanted to get back to an authentic, or historic, Pilot’s Watch look. And that stands or falls on the clarity of the dial, timeless simplicity and a reduction to the essentials. Our entire range of Pilot’s Watches is inspired by the original. That is also why we decided to bring back the figure ‘9’, which disappeared from the dial in 2002 with the redesign of the Big Pilot’s Watch. The triangular index has also reassumed its familiar position at ‘12 o’clock’, just below the chapter ring.” That’s all OK, but Christian’s statement begs the question, if they wanted to get back to an authentic Pilot’s Watch look, why the date window? And the Santoni strap?
The Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII references
There are four different references in the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII range. Two have black dials, one has a silver dial with black numerals, and one has a blue dial. Two-tone NATO-type textile straps are also available for Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII models. They are all powered by the IWC calibre 30110 movement, which is not in-house, and is based on the self-winding ETA 2892-A2, running at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz) with 42 hours power reserve. They all have a soft iron inner case for resistance to magnetic fields, a watch glass secured against drops in air pressure, and 6 bars water resistance.
This watch has a stainless steel case, black dial, black calfskin strap by Santoni with stainless steel pin buckle. Price €4,600 incl.tax, £3,190 incl. VAT. Available from April 2016.
This watch has a stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, black calfskin strap by Santoni with stainless steel pin buckle. Price €4,600 incl.tax, £3,190 incl. VAT. Available from April 2016.
This watch has a stainless steel case, black dial, stainless steel bracelet with fine-adjustment clasp. Price €5,700 incl. tax, £3,950 incl. VAT. Available from April 2016.
Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Le Petit Prince” reference IW327004.
This watch is similar to the previous three references, except that it has a blue dial (hallmark of the Petit Prince models) and a brown calfskin strap by Santoni. The solid caseback is decorated with an engraving depicting the LIttle Prince. Price €4,600 incl.tax, £3,190 incl. VAT. Available from April 2016.