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IWC Pilot

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IWC Die Grosse Fliegeruhr Pilot IW500201
IWC Die Grosse Fliegeruhr Pilot IW500201
£5,950
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
268
UK
IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage
TOP
IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage
£9,288
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
512
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377714
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377714
£3,802
Seller
Your Luxury Time LTD
415
UK
IWC Watch Mark XII IW324101
IWC Watch Mark XII IW324101
£2,750
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Pilots Double Doppel Chrono IW3711
IWC Pilots Double Doppel Chrono IW3711
£3,795
Free shipping
Seller
fitzroviawatches.co.uk
158
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph with Box and Papers
IWC Pilot Chronograph with Box and Papers
£3,795
Seller
Charles Fish
111
UK
IWC Pilot's WorldTimer GMT Stainless Steel Men's IW326201 -...
IWC Pilot's WorldTimer GMT Stainless Steel Men's IW326201 -...
£5,295
Seller
Xupes.com
184
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun
£7,604
Seller
Shreve, Crump & Low
 
US
IWC IW379901 Pilot's Chronograph - Top Gun Special Edition
IWC IW379901 Pilot's Chronograph - Top Gun Special Edition
£6,995
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Club
56
UK
IWC Pilots Mark XV IW325307
IWC Pilots Mark XV IW325307
£2,950
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
268
UK
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Edition Laureus Sport For Good Foundation
TOP
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Edition Laureus Sport For Good Foundation
£5,209
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
512
UK
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph IW377719
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph IW377719
£4,234
Seller
Your Luxury Time LTD
415
UK
IWC Watch Spitfire IW387802
IWC Watch Spitfire IW387802
£5,560
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Pilot Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month
TOP
IWC Pilot Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month
£12,000
Seller
Private Seller
 
UK
IWC Schaffhausen World War II Pilots
IWC Schaffhausen World War II Pilots
£3,362
Seller
Knight Watch & Jewelry Co.
7
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTC
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTC
£2,185
Seller
Elite Chrono Ltd.
299
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph The Last Flight Saint Exupery  IW388006
IWC Pilot Chronograph The Last Flight Saint Exupery IW388006
£12,942
Seller
H&Y Jewellery
39
UK
IWC IW325501 Mark XVI 39mm - Box & Papers
IWC IW325501 Mark XVI 39mm - Box & Papers
£3,250
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Club
56
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW388006
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW388006
£8,500
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
268
UK
IWC Pilots  Military Vintage Rare Dial
IWC Pilots Military Vintage Rare Dial
£6,999
Seller
Watches Of Westminster
31
UK
IWC Big Pilot IW501002
IWC Big Pilot IW501002
£9,835
Seller
Your Luxury Time LTD
415
UK
IWC Watch Pilots UTC IW325101
IWC Watch Pilots UTC IW325101
£2,750
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377701 - Box & Papers - 12-Month Wty
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377701 - Box & Papers - 12-Month Wty
£3,695
Seller
Bloombar Watches
74
UK
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Rose
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Rose
£32,016
Seller
Chad Warrick
16
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
£3,670
Seller
Heritage Watches Ltd
37
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
£2,499
Seller
Private Seller
 
UK
IWC IW500422 Big Pilot Exupéry - Saint Exupery  'Limited Edition'
IWC IW500422 Big Pilot Exupéry - Saint Exupery 'Limited Edition'
£8,450
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Club
56
UK
IWC Split Seconds Doppel-Chronograph
IWC Split Seconds Doppel-Chronograph
£4,250
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
268
UK
IWC Pilot Mark X11
IWC Pilot Mark X11
£2,600
Seller
Watches Of Westminster
31
UK
IWC PILOT’S WATCH MARK XVIII EDITION «LE PETIT PRINCE» IW327010
IWC PILOT’S WATCH MARK XVIII EDITION «LE PETIT PRINCE» IW327010
£3,542
Seller
Your Luxury Time LTD
415
UK
IWC Watch Pilots Chrono IW388004
IWC Watch Pilots Chrono IW388004
£7,750
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Fliegerchronograph
IWC Fliegerchronograph
£2,650
Seller
Swiss Watch Company Ltd.
260
UK
IWC Big Pilot “Le Petit Prince” Stainless Steel Watch IW501002
IWC Big Pilot “Le Petit Prince” Stainless Steel Watch IW501002
£6,803
Free shipping
Seller
Avi & Co NY
101
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
£3,670
Seller
Heritage Watches Ltd
37
UK
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Boutique Edition
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Boutique Edition
£25,613
Seller
Chad Warrick
16
US
IWC IW501902 Big Pilot Top Gun - Ceramic Case Miramar
IWC IW501902 Big Pilot Top Gun - Ceramic Case Miramar
£7,200
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Club
56
UK
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph IW371705
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph IW371705
£2,950
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
268
UK
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
£7,250
Seller
Watches Of Westminster
31
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377717
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377717
£4,371
Seller
Your Luxury Time LTD
415
UK
IWC Watch Pilots Chrono IW377706
IWC Watch Pilots Chrono IW377706
£4,650
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Pilots 18ct Rose Gold Automatic Chronograph IW371713
IWC Pilots 18ct Rose Gold Automatic Chronograph IW371713
£8,995
Free shipping
Seller
ChronoEdge
188
UK
IWC Mark XVI
IWC Mark XVI
£3,295
Seller
Swiss Watch Company Ltd.
260
UK
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
£9,170
Seller
Heritage Watches Ltd
37
UK
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
£9,205
Seller
Chad Warrick
16
US
IWC IW326201 Pilot's Watch - Full Set World Time
IWC IW326201 Pilot's Watch - Full Set World Time
£4,975
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Club
56
UK
IWC Pilot World Timer IW326201
IWC Pilot World Timer IW326201
£4,950
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
268
UK
IWC Pilot Mark XVI
IWC Pilot Mark XVI
£2,000
Seller
Private Seller
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377713
IWC Pilot Chronograph IW377713
£3,733
Seller
Your Luxury Time LTD
415
UK
IWC Watch Big Pilots IW500917
IWC Watch Big Pilots IW500917
£16,950
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Pilot's Double Chronograph IW377801
IWC Pilot's Double Chronograph IW377801
£7,250
Free shipping
Seller
ChronoEdge
188
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph New Edition
IWC Pilot Chronograph New Edition
£3,642
Seller
Watch Center London
812
UK
IWC Pilot Mark
IWC Pilot Mark
£3,540
Seller
Heritage Watches Ltd
37
UK
IWC Exupery UTC Limited to 500
IWC Exupery UTC Limited to 500
£10,405
Seller
Chad Warrick
16
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTC 3251-01
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTC 3251-01
£2,395
Seller
Chronomaster Ltd
5
UK
IWC PILOT WATCH MARK XV – STAINLESS STEEL – 3253
IWC PILOT WATCH MARK XV – STAINLESS STEEL – 3253
£3,190
Seller
Uk Specialist Watches ltd
8
UK
IWC Big Pilot Antoine de Saint Exupery Limited Edition 7 Days...
IWC Big Pilot Antoine de Saint Exupery Limited Edition 7 Days...
£7,950
Seller
CHRONO WATCH
115
UK
IWC Big Pilot  IW500912
IWC Big Pilot IW500912
£8,651
Seller
Your Luxury Time LTD
415
UK
IWC Watch Mark XVII IW325501
IWC Watch Mark XVII IW325501
£2,805
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Big Pilots Top Gun
IWC Big Pilots Top Gun
£8,595
Seller
Swiss Watch Company Ltd.
260
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph Spitfire
IWC Pilot Chronograph Spitfire
£2,868
Seller
Watch Center London
812
UK
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IWC Pilot's Watches: Pioneers in Aviation

Pilot's watches are IWC's specialty. The Swiss manufacturer has been producing high-quality pilot's watches since 1936, including the classics that make up the Mark series. Currently, they offer around two dozen different pilot's watch series.

Highlights

  • Pilot's watch tradition goes back to 1936
  • Trendy 46-mm Big Pilot watch
  • Mark XVIII, a classic pilot's watch
  • Ceramic, red gold, and stainless steel cases
  • Special editions: Spitfire, Top Gun, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Creating Pilot's Watches in Schaffhausen for Over 80 Years

The International Watch Company, also known as IWC, presented their first pilot's watch in 1936. Since then, IWC has been considered the pioneer in developing and manufacturing pilot's watches.

The original watch from 1936 had a diameter of 37.5 mm, making it relatively large for its time. This special watch had a finely ridged bezel with marker needle, enabling the wearer to record short periods of time. Not all planes were equipped with a fuel indicator in the 1930s, so pilots kept track of the flight time via the watch bezel. This allowed them to monitor the flight time, fuel consumption, and cruising range. Large, light-colored Arabic numerals and a black dial define the look of this special watch. The decentralized seconds is located at six o'clock. The escapement is protected against magnetism, which can negatively impact a timepiece's precision. Many features of this original watch are still being used today. Current pilot's watches have stark color contrasts and luminous hands to make them more legible, and many have streamlined designs featuring protection against magnetism.

The 52-caliber T. S. C. Big Pilot's Watch (reference number 431) followed in 1940 with an impressive 55-mm diameter case. IWC delivered this timepiece to the German Air Force. It was not the watch's size, but rather the rest of its design, that has influenced the look of classic pilot's watches to this day. Black/white dial contrast, sword hands, stick indices, Arabic numerals, and a triangle at 12 o'clock all remain typical design features of classic pilot's watches.

Big Pilot

The watch from the 1940s was succeeded by the Big Pilot. IWC has been producing this 46-mm stainless steel watch with a black dial since 2002. The watch isn't as big as its predecessors, but its new size is more practical. The 55-mm cases were meant to be worn over flight suits and weren't created for everyday civilian use. The Big Pilot has a seven-day power reserve thanks to a long mainspring and a special winding mechanism, the Pellaton winding system. It's named after its inventor, Albert Pellaton, who was the technical director at IWC for many years. In 1950, he patented this new technology whereby an automatic watch is wound bidirectionally by the natural movements of the wearer's arm. The round power reserve display is located at three o'clock.

From the Mark 11 to the Mark XVIII

One of IWC's top pilot's watches, the Mark XVIII, has its roots in 1948. IWC introduced the simple pilot's watch Mark 11 in that year; a watch that served as the Royal Air Force's service watch for 30 years. The name "Mark" comes from the RAF as well; the British used the term to refer to all interchangeable air force equipment that came from different manufacturers. In 1981, the RAF gradually phased out the Mark 11. By that time, IWC had made 8,000 timepieces for the military and 1,500 for civilian use. In 1994, IWC presented the watch's successor and switched to using Roman numerals for the name Mark XII.

The Mark XVIII, with a diameter of 40 mm and a thickness of 11 mm, has been available since 2016. Visually, it's not too different from the Mark 11. The wide sword hands, which replaced the older baton hands, immediately catch the eye. However, IWC made some concessions to keep the watch technologically up to date: The watch features a date display and an automatic movement instead of the legendary manual Caliber 89.

IWC also produces the Pilot's Watch Automatic 36. It's modeled after the Mark XVIII in terms of design, but has a smaller case diameter of 36 mm.

Pilot's Chronograph

The Pilot's Watch Chronograph isn't as minimalistic as the Mark XVIII. The 43-mm watch features a stopwatch function as well as three subdials. The small seconds at nine o'clock catches the eye thanks to a small red seconds hand standing out against the black/white color scheme. Its caliber, caliber 79320, is based on the popular Valjoux 7750 movement produced by the world's largest ébauche manufacturer, the ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse (ETA).

Dedicated to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

One of IWC's series is dedicated to the pilot and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. The Frenchman was presumed dead in 1944 after disappearing during a reconnaissance mission while flying his Lockheed P-38. The series has a distinctive retro touch and the watches stand out with their characteristic blue or brown dial. They all come with a brown calfskin strap. The watches' case backs feature Saint-Exupéry related engravings, such as a P-38 or a portrait of the man himself. The collection also features a split-seconds chronograph. With this chronograph, you can time intervals while continuing to time another event.

Honoring the Spitfire

The Spitfire series pays homage to the most well-known pursuit plane from the Second World War. The case back features an engraving of the plane's silhouette from a bird's eye view. Most Spitfire watches can be identified by a slate gray dial.

Top Gun: The US Navy's Fighter Pilots

IWC entered the era of jet planes with their Top Gun series. The name refers to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, more commonly known as Top Gun. Top Gun is also the name of a successful 1986 film starring Tom Cruise. The watches in the Top Gun series all feature a ceramic case, setting them apart from the other pilot's watches. The backside features an engraving of the Top Gun logo. The series also includes variations on other well-known IWC pilot's watches, such as the Big Pilot's Watch Top Gun, based on the Big Pilot. The case, strap, crown, and dial are completely black, while the hands, numerals, and stick indices are white.

Buying Advice

Do you want an authentic pilot's watch? IWC has been producing pilot's watches for civilian and military use since the 1930s. Very few Swiss manufacturers have a connection to aviation like IWC does. Their most significant competitor in this regard is Breitling.

If you want to stay trendy with a larger watch, then the 46-mm Big Pilot is a good choice. New versions made of stainless steel cost around 10,000 euros. If you prefer a red gold case, then the Big Pilot from the Spitfire series costs a total of 21,000 euros new.

Some of these pilot's watches also offer special complications. The Timezoner Chronograph can display multiple time zones. The Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar from the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry series has a perpetual calendar and perpetual moon phase display and shows the date, day of the week, month, and year.

The Mark XVIII is much less complicated; it features only one complication, a date display. The watch closely resembles the legendary Mark 11 used by the RAF. New, you can buy a simple Mark XVIII for around 3,500 euros. A vintage Mark 11 from the 1950s costs double that. The original Mark 11 had a diameter of 36 mm, but pilot's watches that size have become rare. IWC brought back the standard 36-mm size with their Pilot's Watch Automatic 36. New, it costs between 3,000 and 4,000 euros.

IWC: Success After a Rocky Start

IWC was manufacturing watches well before their first pilot's watches were made in 1936. However, they had a bit of a bumpy start. Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841 - 1916), an American, founded the International Watch Company in 1868 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Jones wanted to produce watches cheaply in Switzerland and sell them for profit in the United States. However, expensive import taxes prevented this from being a successful business model. After switching owners multiple times and declaring bankruptcy twice, IWC remained in the hands of the Rauschenbach and Homberger families from 1880 to 1978. IWC was heavily affected by the Quartz Crisis and again switched owners. Since 2000, the company has been a part of the Richemont Group along with other luxury brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, and Panerai.

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