IWC celebrates its 150th anniversary with a generous line-up of 27 limited editions of the brand’s icons – including this popular Pilot’s Watch Chronograph, also known as the “FliegerChronograph“. The “150 Years” watch displays elapsed times against a glossy, white lacquered dial that pays tribute to the enamel dials of IWC’s historic pocket watches.
Flight path of IWC’s pilot watches
IWC took to the skies in 1936 with the launch of its first pilot watches and eventually supplied pilots of Britain’s Royal Air Force and Germany’s Luftwaffe. Hallmark traits of these early cockpit allies -in the form of large cases, easy-to-read black dials with white numerals, luminous triangular markers at 12 o’clock and the oversized ratcheted crown to allow for manipulation when wearing gloves – have characterised the IWC’s squadron of pilot watches since then.
Completely overhauled in 2016 during IWC’s thematic ‘Year of the Pilot’, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph shed its triple date window, expanded its diameter to 43mm, removed the numerals on the minute track and pared down the dial – more in line with the spirit of a pilot’s watch where legibility is paramount. For its Jubilee festivities in 2018, the popular chronograph is decked out in a handsome white and black suit exalting the legibility of the functions.
A dial to evoke the past
The most salient feature of this anniversary chronograph ref. IW377725 is the eye-catching white dial. In fact, all 27 of the Jubilee pieces will be boasting new lacquered dials, or, to be more exact, “dials with a lacquered finish” in rich blue and glossy white tones. For a brand not renowned for its cultivation of the métiers d’art, the addition of a lacquered dial might come as a surprise. However, in light of IWC’s grand 150th birthday, designers wanted to reference the beautiful enamel dials that graced IWC’s pocket watches in the 19th century, in particular, the creamy white dials of IWC’s Pallweber pocket watches. The result of a complex process, the dial of the anniversary Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is coated with up to 12 layers of translucent lacquer, polished, brushed and then printed with the numerals and markers.
Flight ready for action
As with previous editions of this model, the chronograph counters respond to a Valjoux layout and occupy the left side of the dial relaying elapsed minutes at 12 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock and hours at 6 o’clock. The white lacquered chronograph registers are slightly recessed and, like the central hour, minute and seconds hands of the watch, are indicated with blued hands treated with luminescent material. The Valjoux layout works well here given the fact that there are day-and-date windows at 3 o’clock. The black Arabic numerals and markers are particularly glossy and plump – a nice touch that pays homage to the hand-painted enamel dials of yesteryear – while the rectangular markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and the traditional triangle at 12 o’clock are treated with luminescent material.
The 43mm steel case remains unchanged and is equipped with a soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields and a sapphire glass designed to withstand oscillations in air pressure at extreme altitudes. Limited to just 1,000 pieces, the case back is engraved with IWC’s Jubilee insignia. Fitted with IWC’s automatic calibre 79320 (based on the 7750-architecture), the watch vibrates at 28,000vph, has a power reserve of 44 hours, is water-resistant to 60 metres and features hacking seconds allowing you to stop the seconds function while setting the watch.
Like the other commemorative Jubilee models, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph comes with a black alligator strap. it will be priced at EUR 5,600. iwc.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.