Date — 16 January, 2012
For over 70 years, IWC Schaffhausen has been making professional timepieces for pilots and their passengers. In 2012, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Classics collection will be appearing with five models in the authentic cockpit-style design. The basic qualities of these classics remain timeless: precision, functionality and reliability.
In 1936, the Schaffhausen-based manufacturer unveiled its first IWC Special Pilot’s Watch. It already featured rugged glass, a rotating bezel with an arrowhead index for keeping track of short periods of time and an antimagnetic escapement, together with high-contrast, luminescent hands and numerals. It was followed in 1940 by the Big Pilot’s Watch, equipped with an original pocket watch movement and a large central hacking seconds. This made the Big Pilot’s Watch particularly attractive to pilots and navigators because it enabled them to synchronize their watches with down-to-the-second precision. With a case diameter of 55 millimetres, it is by far the bulkiest wristwatch ever built by IWC. The most celebrated IWC Pilot’s Watch, however, was the Mark 11 with the hand-wound 89-calibre movement, produced from 1948. It was one of the very first watches to meet the demanding requirements of a professional pilot’s watch. Its movement was enclosed in a soft-iron inner case in order to shield the mechanism from magnetic fields.
The basic qualities of these classics remain timeless: precision, functionality and reliability
The legend lives on
The timepieces made by IWC in the 1930s and 1940s established a legend that lives on in the current Pilot’s Watch collection. It includes the Big Pilot’s Watch, the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII, the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph and the Pilot’s Watch Worldtimer. The most conspicuous change compared with their predecessors – with the exception of the Big Pilot’s Watch – is the uniform vertical triple date display at “3 o’clock” with the signal red triangular index. Its shape is reminiscent of the altimeters used in historical cockpits and underscores the instrument look even more emphatically. The Big Pilot’s Watch launches into 2012 with its proven design and the high-performance IWC-manufactured 51111 calibre. Compared with its predecessor, the Mark XVI, the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII is 2 millimetres larger in diameter and now comes in at 41 millimetres. With its new red design features, the dial of the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph is even more attractive, and, thanks to a larger case – now 46 millimetres – it is significantly more legible. The stainless-steel case of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph has increased by a modest 1 millimetre to 43 millimetres. The Pilot’s Watch Worldtimer has a 24-hour ring that enables the wearer to read off the time of all 24 zones, including Universal Time Coordinated (UTC). The city ring shows the names of 23 cities around the globe, each of which represents a time zone. The dial continues to show local time. It can be advanced or turned back in one-hour steps to show the new local time, even when crossing the International Date Line.
The new metal bracelets for the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII and for the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph feature a fine-adjustment clasp that permits fast, easy and, above all, precise fitting to the wearer’s wrist. This means that slight variations in wrist girth – caused by fluctuating outdoor temperatures, for instance – can now be accommodated at any time without the need for tools. To lengthen the wristband, the wearer simply pushes the IWC button in the folding clasp; this allows the bracelet to be pulled apart in six steps up to 6 millimetres. To shorten it, the bracelet is simply pushed together to the desired length. The designs of the pin buckle and folding clasp have been modified to make them slightly bolder and to match the larger diameter of the case.
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