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A MAINSTAY COLLECTION OF IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN, THE PILOT’S WATCH WAS BORN OUT OF A STORIED PAST WITH AVIATION THAT DATES BACK FOR OVER 80 YEARS

A MAINSTAY COLLECTION OF IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN, THE PILOT’S WATCH WAS BORN OUT OF A STORIED PAST WITH AVIATION THAT DATES BACK FOR OVER 80 YEARS

IWC Schaffhausen’s relationship with the world of aviation dates back to the 1930s, the same period of time when man truly began to push the envelope in developing flying machines. Fittingly, as the advancement of flight took off, the brand became a trusted supplier of timepieces for aviators. As such its rather fitting to see why the IWC Pilot’s Watch has not only become a signature piece from the watchmaker but the wristwatch that aficionados most identify the brand with.

Today, there is a wide selection of models from the range, all of which have managed to strike a chord with a wide spectrum of watch collectors. We all have our respective favourites but the common underlying appeal is that they have all been born out of passion for flying and, literally, the dream of reaching greater heights in both flight as well as watchmaking.

As we look towards the future of the range, it’s only fitting we start by looking at the past to see how the IWC Pilot’s Watch really took off.

Time Takes Flight

IWC’s linkage to aviation began in the 1930s when mankind began to push the envelope in aviation. Spurred on by the need to create machines that flew higher, faster and longer, the industry of flight was born and it created an avenue for a watchmaker like IWC to come in and supply its expertise. Pushing the limitations of flight required precise timing instruments, which was something the brand was well known for.

A Pioneer Of Pilot’s Watches

1936 saw the birth of IWC’s first ever Pilot’s Watch. The timepiece containing a Caliber 83 movement boasted features such as a shatterproof crystal, high-contrast hands and numerals and a rotating bezel with a time index as well as an antimagnetic escapement. All features desperately needed by pilots. It was also built to withstand harsh temperature fluctuations, all the while functioning perfectly to fulfil the important calculations needed during flight.

The Evolution Of Time & Flight

The IWC Pilot’s Watch was built on the promise of delivering maximum reliability under the toughest conditions. But the focus of the timepiece was still on pilots and as such, IWC began designing its watches to specifically cater to the needs of these brave professionals.  The watches were given large conical crowns for better grip with the dials reworked to offer better readability. A common thread emerged – clean dials with contrasting numerals and hands as well as luminescent displays. Most significantly was the insertion of the triangular index at 12 o’clock, which allowed pilots to instantly recognise the position of the hands and time at a glance.

Trusted By The Airforce

The IW431 stands as the first IWC Big Pilot’s Watch. Equipped with a Caliber 52 T.S.C. it featured a large 55mm case and was exclusively supplied to the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) in 1940. Eight years later IWC created a timepiece for the British Royal Air Force (RAF), which could be shielded from magnetic fields. The legendary IWC Mark 11, which was fitted with the Caliber 89, would serve alongside airborne personnel of the RAF for decades.

Building On Tradition

Over forty years later, IWC revealed two editions of its Pilot’s Watch Chronograph (Ref. IW3740 and Ref. 3705), which were primarily meant for modern aviation. The latter – released in 1994 –was of particular interest as it featured a tough zirconium oxide ceramic case. The same period, IWC also paid tribute to its Mark 11 with the Pilot’s Watch Mark XII (Ref. IW3241). Serving as a contemporary edition of the iconic watch, the model featured an automatic Caliber A8842 movement, a screw-in crown, date display and a convex sapphire glass.

The Watch For High Fliers

The late 90s marked the arrival of the Pilot’s Watch UTC (Ref. IW3251), which satisfied the needs of global travellers by displaying different times and dates around the world. At the turn of the century, the brand introduced a new edition of its Big Pilot’s Watch, outfitted with the high-performance IWC-manufactured Caliber 5011 movement. In 2007, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition Top Gun was born. Featuring black ceramic cases, it was the first of many to feature the name of the world famous US Navy Fighter Weapons School.

Icons Of Flight

Over the years IWC continued to break new ground with its Pilot’s Watches. The Top Gun collection was established as a line of its own and IWC also released several edition time pieces with trademarked blue dials, which paid tribute to the iconic character created by French author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

This year, the brand continues to reach for the skies with new enticing editions. It delivered a new Spitfire collection, a range it first revealed in 2003, that honoured the legendary Spitfire fighter aircraft.  The new line features models such as the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire, Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight”, Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire, Pilot’s Watch UTC Spitfire Edition, Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire and the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire.

Early this year, IWC also unveiled a new Top Gun collection. Models such as the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph TOP GUN Ceratanium, Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN, Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN and the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert”, which solidified the brand’s standing as being the choice timepieces for jet setters everywhere.

IWC Schaffhausen’s relationship with the world of aviation dates back to the 1930s, the same period of time when man truly began to push the envelope in developing flying machines. Fittingly, as the advancement of flight took off, the brand became a trusted supplier of timepieces for aviators. As such its rather fitting to see why the IWC Pilot’s Watch has not only become a signature piece from the watchmaker but the wristwatch that aficionados most identify the brand with.

Today, there is a wide selection of models from the range, all of which have managed to strike a chord with a wide spectrum of watch collectors. We all have our respective favourites but the common underlying appeal is that they have all been born out of passion for flying and, literally, the dream of reaching greater heights in both flight as well as watchmaking.

As we look towards the future of the range, it’s only fitting we start by looking at the past to see how the IWC Pilot’s Watch really took off.

Time Takes Flight

IWC’s linkage to aviation began in the 1930s when mankind began to push the envelope in aviation. Spurred on by the need to create machines that flew higher, faster and longer, the industry of flight was born and it created an avenue for a watchmaker like IWC to come in and supply its expertise. Pushing the limitations of flight required precise timing instruments, which was something the brand was well known for.

A Pioneer Of Pilot’s Watches

1936 saw the birth of IWC’s first ever Pilot’s Watch. The timepiece containing a Caliber 83 movement boasted features such as a shatterproof crystal, high-contrast hands and numerals and a rotating bezel with a time index as well as an antimagnetic escapement. All features desperately needed by pilots. It was also built to withstand harsh temperature fluctuations, all the while functioning perfectly to fulfil the important calculations needed during flight.

The Evolution Of Time & Flight

The IWC Pilot’s Watch was built on the promise of delivering maximum reliability under the toughest conditions. But the focus of the timepiece was still on pilots and as such, IWC began designing its watches to specifically cater to the needs of these brave professionals. The watches were given large conical crowns for better grip with the dials reworked to offer better readability. A common thread emerged – clean dials with contrasting numerals and hands as well as luminescent displays. Most significantly was the insertion of the triangular index at 12 o’clock, which allowed pilots to instantly recognise the position of the hands and time at a glance.

Trusted By The Airforce

The IW431 stands as the first IWC Big Pilot’s Watch. Equipped with a Caliber 52 T.S.C. it featured a large 55mm case and was exclusively supplied to the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) in 1940. Eight years later IWC created a timepiece for the British Royal Air Force (RAF), which could be shielded from magnetic fields. The legendary IWC Mark 11, which was fitted with the Caliber 89, would serve alongside airborne personnel of the RAF for decades.

Building On Tradition

Over forty years later, IWC revealed two editions of its Pilot’s Watch Chronograph (Ref. IW3740 and Ref. 3705), which were primarily meant for modern aviation. The latter – released in 1994 –was of particular interest as it featured a tough zirconium oxide ceramic case. The same period, IWC also paid tribute to its Mark 11 with the Pilot’s Watch Mark XII (Ref. IW3241). Serving as a contemporary edition of the iconic watch, the model featured an automatic Caliber A8842 movement, a screw-in crown, date display and a convex sapphire glass.

The Watch For High Fliers

The late 90s marked the arrival of the Pilot’s Watch UTC (Ref. IW3251), which satisfied the needs of global travellers by displaying different times and dates around the world. At the turn of the century, the brand introduced a new edition of its Big Pilot’s Watch, outfitted with the high-performance IWC-manufactured Caliber 5011 movement. In 2007, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition Top Gun was born. Featuring black ceramic cases, it was the first of many to feature the name of the world famous US Navy Fighter Weapons School.

Icons Of Flight

Over the years IWC continued to break new ground with its Pilot’s Watches. The Top Gun collection was established as a line of its own and IWC also released several edition time pieces with trademarked blue dials, which paid tribute to the iconic character created by French author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

This year, the brand continues to reach for the skies with new enticing editions. It delivered a new Spitfire collection, a range it first revealed in 2003, that honoured the legendary Spitfire fighter aircraft.  The new line features models such as the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire, Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight”, Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire, Pilot’s Watch UTC Spitfire Edition, Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire and the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire.

Early this year, IWC also unveiled a new Top Gun collection. Models such as the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph TOP GUN Ceratanium, Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN, Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN and the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert”, which solidified the brand’s standing as being the choice timepieces for jet setters everywhere.