Aviation pioneer and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a legend in his own lifetime. In 2005 IWC Schaffhausen, which had a long tradition of making Pilot’s Watches, sealed its partnership with the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – d’Agay Estate. The heirs of the man who was so passionate about flying established the society to preserve the great adventurer’s spiritual legacy. IWC’s cooperation also extends to its charitable arm, which works under the name of the Fondation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for Youth to ensure that the famous Frenchman’s humanist ideas remain alive.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry dedicated almost his entire life to flying but secured his place in the hearts of a worldwide readership as the author of “The Little Prince”, “Southern Mail” and “Night Flight”. Olivier d’Agay, a great-nephew of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, works to keep the legacy of the great adventurer and author alive. His Estate Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – d’Agay manages the great Frenchman’s spiritual bequest. IWC’s partnership is a wonderful homage to flying and at the same time a tribute to a Pilot’s Watch tradition going back more than 70 years.
IWC Schaffhausen and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – d’Agay Estate have joined forces for a string of projects focusing on aviation. The start of their joint activities was marked by the inauguration of the Espace IWC-Saint-Exupéry, extending over an area of 1,000 m² at the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace in Le Bourget near Paris. It is an expedition that puts the spotlight on time, flying and – naturally – Pilot’s Watches. The Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace is one of the world’s oldest museums dedicated to aeronautics.
The series of IWC special edition watches honouring Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was launched in 2006 with the Pilot’s Watch Chrono Automatic. In 2007, the Pilot’s Watch Automatic followed, and in 2008 the series continued with the Pilot’s Watch UTC. In 2009, the fourth special edition, the Big Pilot’s Watch, completed the collection of exclusive timepieces designed by IWC to honour this renowned aviator and humanist. Common to all the special editions is that each one has featured a single model in platinum, which has gone up for auction. How the proceeds from the auction are used is decided in cooperation with the Fondation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for Youth, which ensures that the donation reflects values held dear by Saint-Exupéry.
The Fondation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for Youth was created by the heirs of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Its development depends on partnerships with companies and corporations that share the same values. IWC Schaffhausen is a partner of the Fondation, because too many young people in the world grow up in difficult, often hostile environments, where they are confronted daily with conflicts that follow them all the way into adulthood. Together, we want to give them practical support by helping them build their own futures and encourage them to take an active role in society. We believe that any help given to the youth of today is also a service to mankind in general, in all its cultural diversity. The work of the Fondation is based on the humanist values of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which are universally shared across the planet. It relies on a vast international charity network, which already implements numerous local projects that represent these values.