Attention aviation enthusiasts: we’re excited to announce our first limited-edition Watches of Switzerland wristwatch in partnership with IWC Schaffhausen. Our Luxury Watch Buyer, Lisa Broun, introduces the IWC Watches of Switzerland Pilot’s Edition
It’s the year of the pilot’s watch at IWC Schaffhausen. At the SIHH watch fair in January, the Swiss watch brand unveiled a fleet of new aviation-inspired timepieces to waiting press, buyers and watch enthusiasts, against the magnificent backdrop of a restored silver Spitfire from 1943.
For fans of the brand and pilot’s watch enthusiasts alike, the new launches represent a return to what IWC does best. The watch house has been a pioneer in practical and functional pilot’s watches since 1936 when its Special Watch for Pilots first took to the skies. Word of its reliable, hardwearing tool watches soon reached the British Royal Air Force, and in 1949 IWC began supplying its now-legendary Mark 11 navigator’s wristwatch to the RAF (with whom it remained in service until 1981). Generations of civilians around the world have also fallen for IWC’s selection of covetable pilot’s watches, and they’re a must-have for any plugged-in watch collector. That’s why it’s so exciting to see this year’s aviation-inspired designs champion the brand’s glory days, from smaller case sizes to pared-back, legible dials.
Among all the new launches at the fair, we were thrilled to be one of the first to clap eyes on a special limited-edition IWC pilot’s watch — and what’s more, we helped design it. The IWC Watches of Switzerland Pilot’s Edition is our first collaboration with the Swiss brand, and it will be exclusively available across our network of Watches of Switzerland showrooms from April. Only 50 numbered pieces are being produced, and if you hurry you can even pick your lucky number when you pre-order the watch.
Our Head of Watch Buying, Mark Toulson, played a role in the design of the watch, which was more than a year in the making. Based on the IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium, our limited edition features a 44mm case cast in classic stainless steel — always a versatile material for everyday wear. We also went further and imbued it with Watches of Switzerland’s signature red, as seen on the bold red hand and sub-dial hands, which contrast beautifully with the black dial and silver chronograph sub-dials. This detail really allows the timepiece to stand out among IWC’s Pilot’s watch range and draws the wearer’s eye to its functionality. If you’re a fan of our exclusive timepieces, you may also recall the red colourways seen on our Zenith Cronometro and Hublot Classic Fusion collaborations last year.
It was so important for us that the watch retained the cockpit-instrument look and feel of vintage IWC pilot’s watches. After all, the
But perhaps the watch’s standout feature is its integrated
IWC certainly has form when it comes to the double chronograph, and it’s thrilling to see this mechanism in a ction on our limited-edition watch. The brand first presented an automatic double chronograph in 1992 on its Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph or Doppelchronograph Ref 3711. That watch took its design cues from the 1949 Mark 11, as seen in its stripped-back dial and legible Arabic numerals and indexes, and it arguably paved the way for the IWC Fliegerchronograph Ref 3705 in 1994 — an iconic pilot’s chronograph cast in innovative zirconium oxide that remains hugely sought-after today.
The addition of a split-seconds chronograph to the IWC range proved so popular that the brand rolled it out across its modern pilot’s watch range, notably the Top Gun and Spitfire lines, housing it in ceramic, gold and platinum cases. It has even popped up in the brand’s Ingenieur and Portuguese families – and it’s great to see its return to the IWC Pilot’s collection this year.
Day to day, the IWC Watches of Switzerland Pilot’s Edition is a robust tool watch with a bold presence on the wrist. Its 44mm case size, though chunky, feels perfectly pitched, allowing the dial to remain legible, and the stainless steel is comfortable and easy to wear from day to night. Inside ticks the automatic IWC calibre 79420, which packs a 44-hour power reserve and powers a date and day window at 3 o’clock.
The watch comes on a handsome black calfskin leather strap with white stitching, and if you turn it over you’ll see our Watches of Switzerland logo engraved on the case back. This is an unmissable opportunity if you’re looking for a special collector’s piece from the Schaffhausen brand. It’s priced at £9,990 and it’s available to pre-order now. Register your interest here to be among the few to get your hands on one before it lands in April.