This week at Watches & Wonders Geneva, IWC Schaffhausen unveils a host of new watches, including one that we got to go hands-on with even before the fair began: the IWC 41mm Pilot Watch Chronograph with in-house movement. The new size, the in-house caliber and the great color dials – bold blue and rich green – of the 41mm Chronograph Pilot watches makes them a real hit, especially since they are priced right, as well.
Crafted in stainless steel, the watches feature a brushed finish on the case with a polished finish on the pushers, crown and bezel. This subtle change in finishes offers a distinctive look. The 41mm size is great because the watch still looks good on a bigger wrist but can also be worn on a thinner wrist without looking oversized. The blue dial version that I wore was paired with a brown calfskin strap with white stitching for a vintage appeal. The new 41mm Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is also offered with a stainless steel bracelet and, thanks to a new quick-change strap system, customers can even opt for a rubber strap.
As expected of any good pilot’s watch, the dial is highly legible for a chronograph and even features a day and date indication at 3:00 beneath the IWC logo. It boasts Arabic numerals as well as markers – all enhanced with Super-LumiNova, and the 12:00 spot is marked with a triangle of Super-LumiNova for perfect orientation in the dark. The three subsidiary dials are located at 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00 and there is a central seconds hand. All of the hands are rhodium plated and coated with Super-LumiNova.
The new pilot’s watch houses a Manufacture movement, caliber 69385, which is nicely finished. The movement is visible via a transparent sapphire crystal. The reworked case design for the 41mm chronograph also offers water resistance to 10 bar. The strap versions retail for $6,500 and the bracelet model sells for $7,200.
In all, the watch looks good, is sized right and feels good on the wrist. One of the nice things about the size, as well as the interchangeable straps, is that the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph now has a lot more versatility and wearability. It can go from a flight to a swim and even to the boardroom with ease.
IWC is particularly known for its mastery of pilot’s watches, and was one of the first watch brands to introduce aviation timepieces back in the 1930’s. In fact, the CEO of the brand had two sons who were both pilots and who encouraged their father to create a watch for them when flying. The first watch was born in 1936 and boasted an anti-magnetic movement and shatter-proof front glass. Later, IWC was the watch of choice for the British Royal Air Force. Decades later, IWC formed a bond with the United States Navy’s Elite Tactical School known as Top Gun and continues to make Top Gun series pilot watches. In fact, IWC unveils a few new versions this year, as well. But that’s another story.