Date — 2016-01-18T07:06:08
For 3 years, Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been returning to the subject of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s little prince with special editions. This year, along with the Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”, we see the launch of three unlimited Pilot’s Watches with the midnight blue dial, brown calfskin strap and back engraving of the little prince: the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince”, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” and the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Le Petit Prince”.
In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s enchanting tale of the “The Little Prince”, the fox says: “There must be well-established customs.” “What is a ‘well-established custom’?” asked the little prince. To which the fox replied: “It is what separates one day from another, one hour from the other hours.” The unveiling of “Le Petit Prince” special editions is now something of a well-established custom at IWC Schaffhausen. “The Little Prince”, published in New York in 1943 during Saint-Exupéry’s exile, has become the most popular work by the French writer and aviation pioneer. It has been printed in 270 languages and, to date, has sold over 150 million copies worldwide.
This year, the series of unlimited editions includes no fewer than three Pilot’s Watches. Two of them, the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW500916) and the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW377714), will be familiar from last year, but have slight modifications to the dial as well as calfskin straps by Santoni. The third is the new Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW327004).
The hallmarks of the watches launched in the name of the little prince are the midnight blue dial and the brown calfskin strap with beige ornamental seams, new from the House of Santoni. Together, they make the elegant sports watches unusually eye-catching. Apart from this, the reverse side of the Pilot’s Watches bears the engraved inscription EDITION LE PETIT PRINCE and shows the little prince with his coat and sword, just the way Antoine de Saint-Exupéry drew him back in the 1940s. The dial design of this Big Pilot’s Watch is clearly modelled on the historic Big Pilot’s Watch of 1940. The historically accurate figure “9”, omitted in the new Big Pilot’s Watch model of 2002, returns to its original position, as does the arrowhead index below the chapter ring at “12 o’clock”. Luminescent white, propeller-like hands and Arabic numerals against a dark background not only make rapid orientation possible in even the worst lighting conditions, but also give the Pilot’s Watches their unmistakable cockpit look. All three timepieces feature the qualities typical of a high-performance wristwatch: precision, functionality and reliability.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince” is equipped with the IWC-manufactured 51111 calibre. Within no time at all, the spring-mounted rotor and Pellaton pawl-winding system build up a power reserve of over 7 days, but release sufficient energy for only 168 hours before the complicated gearing of the power reserve stops the movement mechanically. Stopping the movement before the tension in the spring is exhausted eliminates the danger of diminishing torque in the mainspring, thus ensuring the same level of accuracy all the time the watch is running. The power reserve display in the subdial reliably informs the wearer of the time remaining until the movement comes to a stop. The Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince” has a date display at “6 o’clock” and a central seconds, which is indispensable for airborne navigation. The 46-millimetre stainless-steel case encloses a soft-iron cage that protects the movement against extreme magnetic fields.
The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” is the sportiest-looking of the three Pilot’s Watches, but this in no way detracts from its elegance. The Chronograph is water-resistant to 6 bar and its instrument-inspired appearance is underscored by a clearly structured chapter ring, white hands and numerals, and a triangular index. In the interests of legibility, the 2016 model forgoes the triple date display, making the dial appear more neatly arranged. The robust 79320-calibre chronograph movement functions as a stopwatch with aggregate timing up to 12 hours and is housed inside a soft-iron inner case that optimally shields it against the effects of magnetic fields from outside. Polished and satin-finished elements alternate on the 43-millimetre stainless-steel case.
In both form and function, the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition“ Le Petit Prince” closely follows the ideal of the classic Pilot’s Watches. Like cockpit instrumentation, the clearly arranged dial is reduced to essentials because legibility is a top priority. This explains why IWC designers did away with the triple date display and returned to the idea of a simple date display. The watch, which is water-resistant to 6 bar, is powered by an automatic 30110-calibre movement and has a 42-hour power reserve. As regards precision and ruggedness, the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Le Petit Prince” is like its predecessors and meets all the specifications required of a professional Pilot’s Watch. With its soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields and a front glass secured against sudden drops in pressure, the Mark XVIII takes up a tradition established by its historic forebear, the legendary Mark 11 of 1948.
IWC Schaffhausen has been a partner of the Fondation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry since 2005. The foundation works closely with Sipar in Cambodia, a non-governmental organization that equips school and mobile libraries with reading material, and supplies literature to remote areas. Through this cooperation and thanks to the commitment of IWC Schaffhausen, two school buildings with libraries were opened in 2014 and offer an education to 1,200 children. On top of this, a school building with its own library has also been constructed in the village of Roluos in Siem Reap province.
For 3 years now, Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has taken up the theme of the little prince in special editions. With these, IWC pays tribute to one of the bestselling books in literary history, written by legendary writer, pilot and adventurer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It all started in 2013, when the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW502802) and the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW326506) were launched in honour of the world famous story’s 70th anniversary. A unique example of the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW502801) in platinum was auctioned by Sotheby’s in Geneva. The record sum of CHF 173,000 it raised went to the Fondation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which used it to further the humanitarian heritage of the Frenchman. The series of special limited editions of “Le Petit Prince” continued in 2014 with the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW377706) and the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW500908). In 2015, IWC Schaffhausen presented the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW500909) in red gold in a limited edition of 250 watches. That same year, IWC Schaffhausen launched the new Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW371807) with an innovative day display in the form of a circle comprising seven stars.
* IWC Schaffhausen is not the owner of the Glucydur® trademark.
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