Date — 25 September, 2013
Schaffhausen, 25 September 2013 – IWC Schaffhausen celebrates the 70th birthday of the highly popular novella “The Little Prince” with the launch of two limited special editions: the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” and the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince”. With these, the Swiss watch manufacturer pays tribute to one of the best-selling books in literary history, written by legendary writer, pilot and adventurer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Since 2006, the Schaffhausen luxury watch manufacturer has maintained a cordial partnership with Saint-Exupéry’s heirs and their charitable organization, the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Seventy years ago, this quotation and others like it literally enchanted the world when illustrious author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry published his parable “The Little Prince”. This profound tale about the little boy with the wheaten hair is one of the bestselling books in world literature and has been translated into more than 270 languages. “With our long tradition of manufacturing Pilot’s Watches, we feel bound to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in many ways,” explains Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. “We were inspired by a man who was also a passionate designer and who obtained his first aeronautical patent in 1936, the very year IWC unveiled its first Special Pilot’s Watch. We have enormous admiration for a pilot who was prepared to risk his life in the name of technological progress. And we are honouring Saint-Exupéry, the great writer and humanist, with whose works many of us grew up.”
For generations, this modern fairy tale about friendship and humanity has fascinated young and old from the most diverse cultures, religions and parts of the world. “The Little Prince” is timeless and universal: the sensitive nature of the little blonde boy from another planet teaches adults to see the world through the eyes of children and at the same time gives children an insight into the world of grown-ups. In 2013, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella in praise of humanity celebrates its 70th anniversary. Watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen, partner of the charitable Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, is using the occasion to present two special editions devoted to this classic of literary history: the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW502802) in red gold, limited to 270 watches, and the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW326506) in stainless steel, limited to 1,000 watches.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” fuses elegance and mechanical craftsmanship of the highest order. The new special edition is packed with technical highlights, including the impressive IWC-manufactured 51613 calibre with Pellaton automatic winding and 7-day power reserve. The latter’s display in the counter at “3 o’clock” is a constant reminder of the movement’s high efficiency. It generates enough energy to fuel a wealth of watchmaking complications, such as the perpetual calendar with its four-digit year display as well as displays for the date, day and month. All the displays are easily adjusted via the crown and advance automatically. The perpetual calendar will not require intervention by a watchmaker until 2100, a year that breaks with the conventional 4-year cycle and will not be a leap year. The midnight blue dial contrasts the characteristically bold cockpit design with the more understated displays of the perpetual calendar. The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” is the first of IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watches to feature the classic moon phase display. Here, the moon is further ornamented by the little prince, who gazes at the star-studded night sky from his own tiny planet. The figure is derived from the famous original drawing by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that decorates the front cover of his best-known work. The 18-carat gold medallion on the rotor also features the little prince and can be admired on the reverse side of the watch through the sapphire-glass back. The original title of the first edition, namely “LE PETIT PRINCE”, can be found engraved on the winding rotor. The special edition in red gold is limited to 270 watches. Also included with the watch is a high-class edition featuring two rarities produced exclusively for IWC: first, a reproduction of the original first edition in English entitled “The Little Prince”; and, second, a reprint of the original handwritten manuscript in French, “Le Petit Prince”.
With our long tradition of manufacturing Pilot’s Watches, we feel bound to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in many ways,
In both form and function, the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII Edition“ Le Petit Prince” closely follows the classic Pilot’s Watches from IWC Schaffhausen. In terms of precision, reliability and authentic cockpit-style design, it embodies their fundamental values. Like cockpit instrumentation, the midnight blue dial is reduced to essentials, and legibility is a top priority. Additionally with this model, IWC’s designers have modified the date window to make it look more like a board instrument, with its vertically arranged numerals giving the impression of an altimeter. The current date is indicated by a triangle. Another elegant detail that subtly references the little prince is the counterpoise in the form of a small star at the rear end of the seconds hand. It is a gentle reminder that the boy was the prince of a minuscule star before he started to explore the earth. The watch, which is water-resistant to 6 bar, is powered by an automatic 30110-calibre movement and has a 42-hour power reserve. In terms of precision and robustness – like all its predecessors – the Mark XVII meets the full schedule of specifications for professional Pilot’s Watches from Schaffhausen. With its soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields and a front glass secured against sudden drops in pressure, the Mark XVII takes up a tradition established by its historical forebear, the legendary Mark 11 of the 1940s. The case back is decorated with an engraving that shows the little prince with his fluttering scarf standing on a tiny asteroid. The Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince” in stainless steel is limited to 1,000 watches.
We were inspired by a man who was also a passionate designer and who obtained his first aeronautical patent in 1936, the very year IWC unveiled its first Special Pilot’s Watch.
“Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has remained a paragon of courage, pioneering spirit and passion to this day,” comments IWC CEO Georges Kern. “His determination to inspire and get things moving was exemplary. As a company with a strong sense of social responsibility we are proud to have been the partners of the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation since 2006. The organization is fully dedicated to preserving its namesake’s humanitarian ideas.” In Cambodia, for example, the Foundation works closely with Sipar, a non-government organization that equips school and mobile libraries, and supplies reading material to remote areas. “Children in Cambodia are lacking basic necessities; among other things, many do not have access to a school and therefore are denied the ability to read. In 2009, IWC opened a library in Cambodia in collaboration with Sipar and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation. Education is key in the battle against illiteracy, and this library was our first contribution to this quest. The next step will be dedicated to building a school,” comments IWC CEO Georges Kern on the existing library and the planned school project. As part of the collaboration, and with the support of IWC Schaffhausen, a new school building with an adjoining library is currently being constructed in the village of Roluos in the province of Siem Reap, which will be completed by spring 2014. In addition, part of the proceeds from sales of the special editions Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” and the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince” will go to the Foundation to support its worldwide commitment against illiteracy. Quite in keeping with the thinking of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who once wrote: “Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.”
Since the start of its cooperation with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s heirs, IWC has used its Pilot’s Watch special editions to commemorate the immortal French author and pilot. In the initial years of the partnership, limited-edition Pilot’s Watches with unusual engravings were dedicated to his literary works with strong ties to the pioneering age of aviation. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph launched in 2006, for example, was a tribute to the novel “Night Flight”. This was followed in 2007 by the Pilot’s Watch Automatic, which paid homage to his gripping work “Southern Mail”, and in 2008 by the Pilot’s Watch UTC, to mark his poetic novel “Wind, Sand and Stars”. In 2009 and 2010, IWC launched the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Antoine de Saint Exupéry in honour of his outstanding life’s work. The special edition selected for 2011 was the rarely manufactured Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar. In 2012, the year of IWC’s Pilot’s Watches, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition Antoine de Saint Exupéry was a reminder of how the aviator, poet and humanist discovered his great passion. In 2013, we turn our attention to perhaps the best-known little blonde boy on the planet. Even now, 70 years later, the little prince continues to find enthusiasts prepared to embark with him on an unforgettable journey.
*IWC Schaffhausen is not the owner of the Glucydur® and Super-LumiNova® trademarks.
*IWC Schaffhausen is not the owner of the Super-LumiNova® trademark.
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