IWC has been associated with the world of the military watch for decades. It was back in 1936 when the first Pilot’s watch was introduced, featuring a specially designed rotating bezel and a highly innovative antimagnetic escapement. Then in 1948 came the introduction of the Mark 11, produced with the newly unveiled calibre 89, and also featuring a soft iron inner case, which provided unusually protection against magnetic fields and therefore the accuracy of the mechanism wasn’t affected by other instrumentation from the cockpit. Also, it is important to note that, during the Second World War, the highly skilled watchmakers from Schaffhausen were one of the main suppliers of tough, reliable timekeepers to the British Army affirming the famous Probus Scafusia motto.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll find the current range of watches from IWC retain the original ideas and principles. The Classic Pilot’s line keeps a traditional design ethos and combines it with the mechanical innovation and prowess IWC is famous for.
One of those pieces is the Mark XVII, or reference 3265. Introduced as the latest in the long family line of hugely versatile Pilot’s timekeepers, the Mark XVII is clean, straight as an arrow design at it’s best. The beautifully finished stainless steel case measures a perfectly proportioned 41mm and sits comfortably on the wrist, unlikely to look out of place in any situation, be it strapped over the flight suit or tucked neatly under the sharpest of cuffs.
The dial is a crisp matt black and offers the perfect contrast to the bold luminous hands which, combined with the sapphire crystal treated with antireflective coating on both sides, provides supreme legibility in any condition. An absolute must for any aspiring to the Pilot’s watch title. Another interesting note is the date aperture, opened out to offer maximum readability, yet with the red arrow indicator it leaves it’s user in no doubt as to which is current.
The Mark XVII’s central seconds hand is propelled by the automatic 30110 calibre, basic in function but complex in it’s execution. The mechanism is protected against magnetic interruption by a soft iron inner case, just as it’s famous ancestor introduced in 1948. The movement is automatic, unlike the original, and benefits from a 42-hour power reserve.
As a natural progression from the understated Mark XVII comes the inimitable Pilot’s Chronograph. A perfect companion to it’s more sedate brother, the chronograph carries all the distinctive IWC design details from it’s broad propeller-like shaped hands, to the slightly tapered strap, a nod to the famous Big Pilot. This new, updated design takes a classic model from the range and sharpens it’s edges. Despite the slight growth of the case diameter, which grows only 1mm to 43mm, it remains an easily wearable chronograph, not gaining size for size sake as many brands have introduced in recent years. The overall depth being just 15mm it still fits neatly under a double cuff should you so wish.
The chronograph mechanism is the tried and trusted 79320 calibre, offering the user the ability to record times up to 12 hours. Despite the addition of chronograph dials and push pieces, the watch keeps it’s clean lines and bold legibility. A bumped up 44-hour power reserve compliments the added complication. Another small yet vital detail is the date window, much like the Mark XVII it is opened to maximise visibility, but this time with the useful addition of the day indicator. The way the two are positioned is key, almost resembling the altimeter instrumentation from the cockpit of an aircraft.
Once again the Pilot’s Chrono offers infinite versatility when it comes to wear, enabling use of the watch at almost any occasion.
Please note the models shown can also be delivered on steel bracelets that enjoy IWC’s self adjustable link system alongside the summer/winter minor adjustment cleverly integrated and concealed within the clasp. Both pieces featured here are available alongside the remainder of the IWC range from our Boutique – we are official agents for IWC – all enquiries can be made via firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us directly on 00 44 (0)20 7487 5628.
IWC MARK XVII – reference IW326501 – UK RRP £3,700
IWC PILOT’S CHRONOGRAPH – IW377701 – UK RRP £4,600