IWC: New Pilot’s Watches Take Flight at SIHH 2019

by Carol Lee

A celebration of firsts with two novel lines, Spitfire and Top Gun, and the 2019 “Le Petit Prince” special edition.

Having celebrated its 150th anniversary in grand style last year, IWC Schaffhausen welcomed 2019 with a handsome fleet of new Pilot’s watches at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) exhibition in Geneva.

“We will be presenting a full fleet of Pilot’s Watch novelties that exemplify our engineering prowess and our material expertise,” pre-empted Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.

Indeed, the Swiss watchmaker celebrated several firsts through the launch of not one but two new lines of timepieces, alongside a special edition Le Petit Prince Pilot’s Watch that is limited to only 10 pieces in the world.

IWC Pilot’s Watches: A rich heritage of over 80 years

Since the 1930s and 40s, IWC Schaffhausen’s Pilot Watches have enjoyed global renown as timepieces that marry technical expertise with sharp aesthetics. First designed for pilots and navigators, these covetable timepieces have brought the magic of aviation to all who wear them. The most iconic of them all is the Mark 11, which was produced for the Royal Air Force in 1948, and has since inspired the design of all modern Pilot’s Watches, including the Spitfire Line.

Spitfire line: 100% IWC-manufactured calibre

Named after the British fighter aircraft, the Spitfire line is similarly sophisticated in function and sleek in form.

The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire is a striking timepiece that will age well as the bronze case will develop a special patina over time.

Notably, the Pilot’s Watch Chonograph Spitfire is Schaffhausen’s first Pilot’s Chronograph with a movement from the 69000 calibre family, one of the most important developments in IWC-manufactured movements. It incorporates the 69380 calibre, a robust, reliable and high-precision chronograph movement with a classic column wheel design. Ideal for narrower wrists, the Chronograph has a reduced case diameter of 41 millimetres.

Another highlight of the Spitfire Line is the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight”. Yet another first for IWC, The Longest Flight combines the patented Timezoner mechanism with a wholly automatic IWC-manufactured movement.

  • The Silver Spitfire

Limited to only 250 watches, this special edition was developed for British pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones, who seek to be the first to fly around the world in a Spitfire in the summer of 2019.

Top Gun line: First Pilot’s Watch made from Ceratanium

Produced since 2007, IWC’s Top Gun watches are named after the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program in the United States Navy. Like its predecessors, the latest iteration must meet the specific requirements of elite jet pilots who undergo the most gruelling of training regimes.

The matte black cases of the Top Gun line ensure that the pilots are not distracted by sunlight reflecting off their timepieces during flight.

The new Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium is the first to be made of Ceratanium, a material with the lightness and strength of titanium, and the hardness, toughness, and scratch resistance of ceramic. It is also the first Pilot’s Watch to be completely jet black – previous Top Gun timepieces had components such as push-buttons and pin buckles that were not black.

The Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium has an integrated split-seconds hand mechanism for simultaneously measuring short periods of time. Powered by the 79230 calibre with self-winding mechanism, it has a power reserve of 44 hours.

Le Petit Prince: First Pilot’s Watch to feature a Constant-force Tourbillon

Last but not least, IWC once again pays homage to the classic tale, Le Petit Prince, written by the late French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. While several special editions of Le Petit Prince Pilot Watches have been launched in the span of the brand’s 14-year collaboration with the Saint-Exupéry family, this year’s model can be said to be extra special.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “Le Petit Prince”: On the dial at one o’clock, the “Petit Prince” stands on the moon.

Dubbed a masterpiece of haute horlogerie (the high art of watchmaking), the Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “Le Petit Prince” is the first Pilot’s Watch from IWC to feature its extraordinarily precise constant-force tourbillon. Moreover, the watch also marks the first time that Schaffhausen has produced a watch with hard gold, an alloy that is up to 10 times more wear-resistant than conventional red gold, and therefore ideal for crafting the large case and crown of a Big Pilot’s Watch. Limited to 10 watches, this edition is certainly one that collectors will clamour for.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “Le Petit Prince”: On the dial at one o’clock, the “Petit Prince” stands on the moon.


Styled watch images by Curatedition at SIHH 2019, all rights reserved.


Related link:

Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2019

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