Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Saint-Exupéry, by now a world-famous pilot, was attached to a reconnaissance squadron. Demobilized after the ceasefire of 1940, he obtained permission to return to active military service in 1943. This coincided with the publication of his greatest literary success, “The Little Prince”. This profound tale about the little boy with the golden hair is one of the best-selling books in world literature and has been translated into more than 260 languages and dialects. In 2013, IWC Schaffhausen marked the 70th anniversary of what was ostensibly a children’s book with two spectacular special editions.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” in 18-carat red gold (Ref. IW502802) has a moon phase display and a gold medallion that both depict the little prince, standing on his tiny asteroid and looking up at the star-studded night sky. The second watch in honour of the tale is the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince” in stainless steel (Ref. IW326506), whose midnight blue dial, much like the instruments in a cockpit, is reduced to the bare essentials, giving legibility absolute priority. One unique example of the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW502801) in platinum was auctioned by Sotheby’s Geneva for a staggering CHF 173,000.
IWC and the Antoinede Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation used the proceeds to open two school buildings with their own library in Cambodia, providing an education to 1,200 children. On top of this, a school building with its own library was also constructed in the village of Roluos in Siem Reap province. The Foundation works closely with Sipar, a non-governmental organization that has fought a battle against illiteracy in Cambodia for the past 23 years. “‘The Little Prince’ is a passionate plea for comradeship and humanity, but also for the significance of having a mission, a duty and a responsibility in life,” explains Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. “As a globally active corporation, we take our social responsibility very seriously, and our commitment is helping to increase literacy among disadvantaged children.”