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IWC 43mm Schaffhausen Stainless Steel Pilot Chronograph
IWC 43mm Schaffhausen Stainless Steel Pilot Chronograph
$4,250
Seller
Ramerica Fine Jewelry & Watches
 
US
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve
TOP
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve
$8,995
Free shipping
Seller
AJ Watches
44
US
IWC : Pilot 36mm :  IW324002 :  Stainless Steel : NEW
TOP
IWC : Pilot 36mm : IW324002 : Stainless Steel : NEW
$3,895
Seller
BernardWatch.com
138
US
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve White Gold Slate Dial
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve White Gold Slate Dial
$13,500
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC IW501902 Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar, Ceramic &...
IWC IW501902 Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar, Ceramic &...
$11,500
Seller
FeelGoodWatches, Inc.
US
IWC Pilot Doppelchronograph 3713
IWC Pilot Doppelchronograph 3713
$19,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
US
BRANDBOUTIQUE Member
Try something different
Frederique Constant Runabout Moonphase
$2,927
IWC Limited Edition Platinum Big Pilot 103/500 NEW
TOP
IWC Limited Edition Platinum Big Pilot 103/500 NEW
$34,989
Seller
Private seller
 
US
IWC IW500901 Big Pilot SS / Leather (26787)
IWC IW500901 Big Pilot SS / Leather (26787)
$8,700
Seller
European Watch Company
64
US
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar Men's Automatic Watch IW501902
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar Men's Automatic Watch IW501902
$12,500
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
36
US
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
$11,500
Seller
Kronopassion
6
US
IWC Pilot Woldtimer Automatic Stainless Steel
TOP
IWC Pilot Woldtimer Automatic Stainless Steel
$6,495
Free shipping
Seller
AJ Watches
44
US
IWC Spitfire Ardoise Dial Leather Mens Watch
IWC Spitfire Ardoise Dial Leather Mens Watch
$8,750
Seller
Golda Co.
9
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire Silver Dial Chronograph Black Alligator
IWC Pilot Spitfire Silver Dial Chronograph Black Alligator
$6,950
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph
$4,200
Seller
Andante Fine Jewelry
 
US
IWC Pilot's Spitfire Chronograph IW3878-03
IWC Pilot's Spitfire Chronograph IW3878-03
$13,500
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
US
IWC : Pilot's Mark XVIII :  IW327001 :  Stainless Steel
IWC : Pilot's Mark XVIII : IW327001 : Stainless Steel
$2,950
Seller
BernardWatch.com
138
US
IWC IW502618 Big Pilot OrangePerpetual Calendar SS LIMITED...
IWC IW502618 Big Pilot OrangePerpetual Calendar SS LIMITED...
$27,900
Seller
European Watch Company
64
US
IWC Pilots Chronograph
IWC Pilots Chronograph
$4,950
Seller
WatchBox
53
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
$9,500
Seller
Kronopassion
6
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTZ TZC IW325102 Stainless Steel Automatic
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTZ TZC IW325102 Stainless Steel Automatic
$2,699
Seller
Phigora
73
US
IWC titanium Top Gun
IWC titanium Top Gun
$5,000
Seller
Paul Duggan Co., Inc
45
US
IWC Big Pilots Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery
IWC Big Pilots Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery
$15,950
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Mens Automatic Watch IW501901
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Mens Automatic Watch IW501901
$14,560
Seller
Luxury Bazaar
36
US
IWC Spitfire Chronograph IW3878-02
IWC Spitfire Chronograph IW3878-02
$5,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
US
IWC : Spitfire Flyback Chronograph :  IW387804 :  Stainless Steel
IWC : Spitfire Flyback Chronograph : IW387804 : Stainless Steel
$5,870
Seller
BernardWatch.com
138
US
IWC IW377709 Flieger Pilot Chronograph SS (27162)
IWC IW377709 Flieger Pilot Chronograph SS (27162)
$3,600
Seller
European Watch Company
64
US
IWC Pilot's Double Chronograph Limited Edition
IWC Pilot's Double Chronograph Limited Edition
$9,995
Seller
WatchBox
53
US
IWC Authentic Men's Schaffhausen IW371701 Pilot's...
IWC Authentic Men's Schaffhausen IW371701 Pilot's...
$4,795
Free shipping
Seller
Luxury Horology
93
US
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar IW501902
TOP
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar IW501902
$8,680
Seller
Scorpio Luxury Corp
6
US
IWC stainless steel Mark XVI
IWC stainless steel Mark XVI
$3,500
Seller
Paul Duggan Co., Inc
45
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Timezoner Chronograph 46mm
IWC Pilot's Watch Timezoner Chronograph 46mm
$10,950
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph
$8,200
Seller
Golda Co.
9
US
IWC Spitfire Perpetual Digital Date-Month IW3791-07
IWC Spitfire Perpetual Digital Date-Month IW3791-07
$19,500
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
US
IWC : Pilot's World Timer :  IW326201 :  Stainless Steel
IWC : Pilot's World Timer : IW326201 : Stainless Steel
$4,840
Seller
BernardWatch.com
138
US
IWC IW371807 Pilot Double Chronograph "Le Petit Prince&#34...
IWC IW371807 Pilot Double Chronograph "Le Petit Prince"...
$8,900
Seller
European Watch Company
64
US
IWC Big Pilot IW5103-01
IWC Big Pilot IW5103-01
$10,950
Seller
WatchBox
53
US
IWC Pilot's UTC Antoine de Saint Exupery
IWC Pilot's UTC Antoine de Saint Exupery
$4,950
Seller
Kronopassion
6
US
IWC Authentic Midsize  Pilot IW325604 Automatic 34MM Steel
IWC Authentic Midsize Pilot IW325604 Automatic 34MM Steel
$2,245
Free shipping
Seller
Luxury Horology
93
US
IWC Spitfire Pilot Chronograph, Mens, Automatic, Stainless...
IWC Spitfire Pilot Chronograph, Mens, Automatic, Stainless...
$4,195
Free shipping
Seller
Estates Consignments
 
US
IWC Big Pilot Slow Beat
IWC Big Pilot Slow Beat
$9,950
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
$18,995
Seller
Watcheslikenew.com
 
US
IWC Pilot's Mark XVII IW3265-04
IWC Pilot's Mark XVII IW3265-04
$3,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
US
IWC : Pilot's Mark XVIII :  IW327001 :  Stainless Steel : NEW
IWC : Pilot's Mark XVIII : IW327001 : Stainless Steel : NEW
$3,395
Seller
BernardWatch.com
138
US
IWC 378601 Pilot Split Second Ceramic LIMITED (26299)
IWC 378601 Pilot Split Second Ceramic LIMITED (26299)
$9,600
Seller
European Watch Company
64
US
IWC Top Gun Miramar Chronograph IW3880-02
IWC Top Gun Miramar Chronograph IW3880-02
$7,950
Seller
WatchBox
53
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun
$7,900
Seller
Kronopassion
6
US
IWC Big Pilot Black Dial Black Leather Straps Automatic Men...
IWC Big Pilot Black Dial Black Leather Straps Automatic Men...
$11,900
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Warehouse USA
 
US
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph
$5,400
Seller
The Watchmaker's Shop
 
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Antoine de Saint Exupéry
IWC Pilot Chronograph Antoine de Saint Exupéry
$12,950
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph 18kt Gold/Brown
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph 18kt Gold/Brown
$13,480
Free shipping
Seller
The Luxury Well
54
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII IW3270-11
IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII IW3270-11
$3,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
US
IWC : Mark XVII :  IW326504 :  Stainless Steel
IWC : Mark XVII : IW326504 : Stainless Steel
$3,555
Seller
BernardWatch.com
138
US
IWC IW370607 Pilot Chronograph Black Dial SS (26637)
IWC IW370607 Pilot Chronograph Black Dial SS (26637)
$3,850
Seller
European Watch Company
64
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Edition Antoine de Saint-Exu...
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Edition Antoine de Saint-Exu...
$16,950
Seller
WatchBox
53
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph St Exupery Edition
IWC Pilot Spitfire Chronograph St Exupery Edition
$9,750
Seller
Kronopassion
6
US
IWC Pilot 36 Silver Plated Dial Steel Bracelet Swiss Automatic...
IWC Pilot 36 Silver Plated Dial Steel Bracelet Swiss Automatic...
$4,106
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Warehouse USA
 
US
IWC Big Pilot "le Petit Prince" Stainless Steel Blue...
IWC Big Pilot "le Petit Prince" Stainless Steel Blue...
$11,950
Seller
Philippe's Watches
 
US
IWC IW500908 Big Pilot Special Edition - Limited to 1000pcs -...
IWC IW500908 Big Pilot Special Edition - Limited to 1000pcs -...
$16,000
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
17
US
IWC Pilot Big Pilot Perpetual Saint-Exupery IW502617
IWC Pilot Big Pilot Perpetual Saint-Exupery IW502617
$42,330
Seller
Gemnation
105
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph IW3706
IWC Pilot's Chronograph IW3706
$3,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
US

IWC Pilot's Watches: Pioneers in Aviation

Pilot's watches are IWC's specialty. The Swiss manufacturer has been producing high-quality pilot's watches since 1936, including the classics that make up the Mark series. Currently, they offer around two dozen different pilot's watch series.

Highlights

  • Pilot's watch tradition goes back to 1936
  • Trendy 46-mm Big Pilot watch
  • Mark XVIII, a classic pilot's watch
  • Ceramic, red gold, and stainless steel cases
  • Special editions: Spitfire, Top Gun, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Creating Pilot's Watches in Schaffhausen for Over 80 Years

The International Watch Company, also known as IWC, presented their first pilot's watch in 1936. Since then, IWC has been considered the pioneer in developing and manufacturing pilot's watches.
The original watch from 1936 had a diameter of 37.5 mm, making it relatively large for its time. This special watch had a finely ridged bezel with marker needle, enabling the wearer to record short periods of time. Not all planes were equipped with a fuel indicator in the 1930s, so pilots kept track of the flight time via the watch bezel. This allowed them to monitor the flight time, fuel consumption, and cruising range. Large, light-colored Arabic numerals and a black dial define the look of this special watch. The decentralized seconds is located at six o'clock. The escapement is protected against magnetism, which can negatively impact a timepiece's precision. Many features of this original watch are still being used today. Current pilot's watches have stark color contrasts and luminous hands to make them more legible, and many have streamlined designs featuring protection against magnetism.
The 52-caliber T. S. C. Big Pilot's Watch (reference number 431) followed in 1940 with an impressive 55-mm diameter case. IWC delivered this timepiece to the German Air Force. It was not the watch's size, but rather the rest of its design, that has influenced the look of classic pilot's watches to this day. Black/white dial contrast, sword hands, stick indices, Arabic numerals, and a triangle at 12 o'clock all remain typical design features of classic pilot's watches.

Big Pilot

The watch from the 1940s was succeeded by the Big Pilot. IWC has been producing this 46-mm stainless steel watch with a black dial since 2002. The watch isn't as big as its predecessors, but its new size is more practical. The 55-mm cases were meant to be worn over flight suits and weren't created for everyday civilian use. The Big Pilot has a seven-day power reserve thanks to a long mainspring and a special winding mechanism, the Pellaton winding system. It's named after its inventor, Albert Pellaton, who was the technical director at IWC for many years. In 1950, he patented this new technology whereby an automatic watch is wound bidirectionally by the natural movements of the wearer's arm. The round power reserve display is located at three o'clock.

From the Mark 11 to the Mark XVIII

One of IWC's top pilot's watches, the Mark XVIII, has its roots in 1948. IWC introduced the simple pilot's watch Mark 11 in that year; a watch that served as the Royal Air Force's service watch for 30 years. The name "Mark" comes from the RAF as well; the British used the term to refer to all interchangeable air force equipment that came from different manufacturers. In 1981, the RAF gradually phased out the Mark 11. By that time, IWC had made 8,000 timepieces for the military and 1,500 for civilian use. In 1994, IWC presented the watch's successor and switched to using Roman numerals for the name Mark XII.
The Mark XVIII, with a diameter of 40 mm and a thickness of 11 mm, has been available since 2016. Visually, it's not too different from the Mark 11. The wide sword hands, which replaced the older baton hands, immediately catch the eye. However, IWC made some concessions to keep the watch technologically up to date: The watch features a date display and an automatic movement instead of the legendary manual Caliber 89.
IWC also produces the Pilot's Watch Automatic 36. It's modeled after the Mark XVIII in terms of design, but has a smaller case diameter of 36 mm.

Pilot's Chronograph

The Pilot's Watch Chronograph isn't as minimalistic as the Mark XVIII. The 43-mm watch features a stopwatch function as well as three subdials. The small seconds at nine o'clock catches the eye thanks to a small red seconds hand standing out against the black/white color scheme. Its caliber, caliber 79320, is based on the popular Valjoux 7750 movement produced by the world's largest ébauche manufacturer, the ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse (ETA).

Dedicated to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

One of IWC's series is dedicated to the pilot and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. The Frenchman was presumed dead in 1944 after disappearing during a reconnaissance mission while flying his Lockheed P-38. The series has a distinctive retro touch and the watches stand out with their characteristic blue or brown dial. They all come with a brown calfskin strap. The watches' case backs feature Saint-Exupéry related engravings, such as a P-38 or a portrait of the man himself. The collection also features a split-seconds chronograph. With this chronograph, you can time intervals while continuing to time another event.

Honoring the Spitfire

The Spitfire series pays homage to the most well-known pursuit plane from the Second World War. The case back features an engraving of the plane's silhouette from a bird's eye view. Most Spitfire watches can be identified by a slate gray dial.

Top Gun: The US Navy's Fighter Pilots

IWC entered the era of jet planes with their Top Gun series. The name refers to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, more commonly known as Top Gun. Top Gun is also the name of a successful 1986 film starring Tom Cruise. The watches in the Top Gun series all feature a ceramic case, setting them apart from the other pilot's watches. The backside features an engraving of the Top Gun logo. The series also includes variations on other well-known IWC pilot's watches, such as the Big Pilot's Watch Top Gun, based on the Big Pilot. The case, strap, crown, and dial are completely black, while the hands, numerals, and stick indices are white.

Buying Advice

Do you want an authentic pilot's watch? IWC has been producing pilot's watches for civilian and military use since the 1930s. Very few Swiss manufacturers have a connection to aviation like IWC does. Their most significant competitor in this regard is Breitling.
If you want to stay trendy with a larger watch, then the 46-mm Big Pilot is a good choice. New versions made of stainless steel cost around 10,000 euros. If you prefer a red gold case, then the Big Pilot from the Spitfire series costs a total of 21,000 euros new.
Some of these pilot's watches also offer special complications. The Timezoner Chronograph can display multiple time zones. The Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar from the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry series has a perpetual calendar and perpetual moon phase display and shows the date, day of the week, month, and year.
The Mark XVIII is much less complicated; it features only one complication, a date display. The watch closely resembles the legendary Mark 11 used by the RAF. New, you can buy a simple Mark XVIII for around 3,500 euros. A vintage Mark 11 from the 1950s costs double that. The original Mark 11 had a diameter of 36 mm, but pilot's watches that size have become rare. IWC brought back the standard 36-mm size with their Pilot's Watch Automatic 36. New, it costs between 3,000 and 4,000 euros.

IWC: Success After a Rocky Start

IWC was manufacturing watches well before their first pilot's watches were made in 1936. However, they had a bit of a bumpy start. Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841 - 1916), an American, founded the International Watch Company in 1868 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Jones wanted to produce watches cheaply in Switzerland and sell them for profit in the United States. However, expensive import taxes prevented this from being a successful business model. After switching owners multiple times and declaring bankruptcy twice, IWC remained in the hands of the Rauschenbach and Homberger families from 1880 to 1978. IWC was heavily affected by the Quartz Crisis and again switched owners. Since 2000, the company has been a part of the Richemont Group along with other luxury brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, and Panerai.