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IWC Schaffhausen


IWC Pilot’s Watch collection: A fine balance

Beginning this month, The Journal invites you to travel deeper into the IWC Universe with our bi-monthly themes. Our creative director Christian Knoop starts us off with the theme “Products” and introduces this month’s Journal stories, which focus on our Pilot’s Watches and how this special collection balances history and innovation in every timepiece.


— Christian Knoop, IWC Creative Director

What makes an IWC Pilot’s Watch unique? If you ask three people, you’ll probably get four answers: and all of them would be correct. For some it’s the fact that the lineage of our Pilot’s Watch collection reaches back to 1936, the year we produced the first Special Pilot’s Watch. For others, it’s the aesthetic purity and versatility of a Pilot’s Watch that stands out while others highlight the fact that the Big Pilot’s Watch is a design icon. And there may even be some Pilot’s Watch enthusiasts who are at a loss for words when attempting to explain their attraction. 


IWC was first to solidify the archetype of the Pilot’s Watch for luxury timepieces, not an easy feat. We did this by closely examining the core design and features of the historic pilot’s watch, such as the characteristic dial graphics, the round case, and the straps with the easily identifiable rivets. The result is a fine balance between honoring the past and embracing the future, staying true to the core essence of the Pilot’s Watch with each reference while staying with the times. This approach combining great respect for the history with a fresh creative take on the design makes the IWC collection of Pilot’s watches truly unique.


The IWC Pilot’s Watch history: Then and now

For April and May on The Journal, we continue the Pilot’s Watch story with our new collection. First, we travel to our London boutique for the first episode of our new video series Time Flies. Justin Hast and IWC Museum Curator David Seyffer compare and contrast our Pilot’s Watches of old, including reference 431 Big Pilot and reference 436 Mark IX, with our modern versions, such as the Spitfire Automatic (IW326801) and the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire (IW503601)


If you’re a Pilot’s Watch history enthusiast, forum editor Michael Friedberg offers you an in-depth analysis of the iconic Big Pilot’s watch, starting with the “B-Uhr” and its distinctive dial and pocket watch movements, and continuing to our current Big Pilot’s watch references.


— Dr. David Seyffer, IWC Museum Curator and Justin Hast, watch journalist
— The restored “Silver Spitfire”

A 360-degree look at history

We also invite you to take a seat in the cockpit of a Supermarine Spitfire MK IX for a 360-degree tour. Matt Jones, co-pilot of the Silver Spitfire gives you a first-hand look at the inside of the plane and the controls that make it fly. Matt and his colleague Steve Jones are gearing up for The Longest Flight expedition, which takes off on August 12th, 2019.


The journey of the IWC Pilot’s Watch is a long, exciting and - yes - unique. It follows the path of a timepiece that has transformed from a basic, solid, functional tool to a piece of wearable history. IWC is committed to continuing on this path of balancing the past, the present and the future.


Please join us for the ride.


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IWC Schaffhausen