The first batch of IWC pilot watches from the 1930s and 1940s has set a technical benchmark, and its dial design has deeply affected the appearance of today’s classic IWC pilot watches. Watches designed specifically for flight in the early stages of human flight history are rare, so most pilots need to fly with pocket watches.
IWC’s first watch soaring into the sky
Caliber 53 / no official model / first produced in 1896
IWC “Pilot’s Watch” (1936)
Movement 83 / Model: IW436 / First produced in 1936
IWC led the era, creating the first ‘watch specially made for pilots’ in 1936. The watch was already equipped with a solid glass mirror and a rotating bezel with arrow-shaped indicators to record Shorter time. In addition, the watch has an anti-magnetic escapement system, as well as contrasting, legible hands and numerals.
IWC Large Pilot’s Watch (1940)
52 T.S.C. movement / model: IW431 / first produced in 1940
Since 1940, IWC has begun producing large pilot watches (52 T.S.C.) designed in accordance with military specifications, equipped with homemade movements and large seconds. The watch case has a diameter of 55 mm and weighs 183 grams. Until 2016, it has been the largest watch made by IWC. It met the astronomical watch standards in terms of accuracy, as well as the technical specifications of precision navigation and military watches at the time. The watch’s instrument appearance inspired IWC to design the Mark 11 watch with a 89-type manual winding movement.
Mark Eleven Pilot’s Watch with NATO Strap (1948)
Caliber 89 / no official model-historical model / first produced in 1948
Production is now scheduled to begin in 1948. This IWC’s most famous pilot series model was originally produced by the Royal Air Force and has been in use for more than 30 years. Its movement is surrounded by a soft iron inner case, which protects the movement from magnetic fields.
In 1988, the Pilot’s Chronograph was launched, continuing the long tradition of the Pilot Collection. In 1992, the Pilot’s Chase Chronograph was introduced, equipped with a Chase Chronograph and an automatic movement. The Mark XII Pilot’s Watch was launched in 1994 as the successor of the Mark XII. It was equipped with an automatic movement and date display, which was the pinnacle of that era.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Ceramic Edition (1994)
Calibre 7922 / Model: IW3705 / First produced in 1994
In the same year, IWC led the two major trends through ceramic models of pilot chronographs, which benefited the watchmaking industry. One is the wonderful design of the pilot’s watch all black. Secondly, the watch factory applied ceramic materials with extremely difficult processing for the first time on this watch. The Pilot’s UTC Universal Time Watch can achieve time and date advancement through the crown, which made IWC perfectly respond to the increasing mobility in a globalized world in 1998.
IWC Large Pilot’s Watch (2002)
Calibre 5011 / Model: 5002 / First produced in 2002
In 2002, IWC reinvented the tradition of large pilot watches and launched a new watch with a 7-day power reserve movement and a Pellaton automatic winding system. The size of this watch has attracted attention since its launch. The design of the watch is reminiscent of its larger 1940 predecessor.
Beginning in 2003, under the name of the legendary British Spitfire, IWC launched a pilot watch series. These British fighters and reconnaissance aircraft, advertised as the most successful of all generations, have played a very important role in the Battle of Britain, and their identities have changed from the most produced aircraft model in Britain to the object of worship in their hometown. The Spitfire of the year was a masterpiece of science and technology, but also exudes immortality and elegance, so it became the design model of the IWC watch series of the same name.
Since 2006, IWC has launched a special edition of pilot watches, paying tribute to the great achievements of French poet and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Saint Exupery was a legend in his lifetime. His books have been translated into 50 languages, attracting readers around the world, and his adventure biographies created by his passion for flying are equally fascinating. During the Second World War, he fought against the Germans as an Air Force pilot. On July 31, 1944, ‘Holy Religion’-an emotional alias that his admirers gave him-stepped into its P-38 Lightning fighter cabin and performed reconnaissance missions over French occupation . He never returned. In 2003, the wreckage of his lightning fighter was salvaged in the Mediterranean Sea near Marseille.
Pilot Series TOP GUN Naval Air Force Tracing Chronograph Watch (2007)
A79230 movement / model: IW3799 / first produced in 2007
In 2007, the pilot series TOP GUN navy air force chronograph watch joined the IWC pilot watch queue. The name of the watch comes from the special training course ‘Fighter Tactical Instructor’ provided by the US Navy Fighter Defense School, and its famous alias is Top Gun. Anyone who completes the course will become the world’s most trained, responsive and brave elite pilot.
The flight mission has strict requirements for young pilots, and the pilots also have extremely high requirements for watch materials. No weaknesses are allowed under supersonic flight above the clouds. Because of this, IWC’s designers use two materials. IWC is one of the first watch manufacturers in the world to use these materials in watchmaking: high-tech ceramics for the case and the bottom and operation buttons. Titanium.
2012 is yet another IWC pilot’s watch year. The TOP GUN Navy Air Force watch series debuted with five new models in one fell swoop, making it a stand in the IWC Pilot’s Watch series. Encouraged by the school spirit of the US Marine Pilot School in Miramar, California, IWC launched the first two MIRAMAR watches with an orthodox military style design. The Spitfire series has a modern design, new features and a self-made movement, which has risen in an unstoppable momentum. The IWC Classic Pilot Series covers five timepieces with an orthodox cockpit design.
The new Pilot’s Watch series in 2016 will not only attract players who love original pilot watches, but also watch enthusiasts who love elegant timepieces and rare complications.
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