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IWC Classic Pilot Mark XVI Black 39mm Stainless Date IW325501...
IWC Classic Pilot Mark XVI Black 39mm Stainless Date IW325501...
$2,794
Seller
Collectors Coins & Jewelry
 
US
IWC Pilot Chrono yr. 2016 B&P MINT conditon
IWC Pilot Chrono yr. 2016 B&P MINT conditon
$4,500
Seller
Orlando Watch Company
 
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTC
IWC Pilot Spitfire UTC
$3,250
Seller
Oliver Smith Jeweler
 
US
IWC Pilot's Top Gun Double Chronograph IW3799-01 Watch with...
IWC Pilot's Top Gun Double Chronograph IW3799-01 Watch with...
$6,950
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Big Pilot Spitfire, Annual Calendar
TOP
IWC Big Pilot Spitfire, Annual Calendar
$15,990
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
IWC Der Flieger Pilots Chronograph Steel Automatic Watch 3706
IWC Der Flieger Pilots Chronograph Steel Automatic Watch 3706
$3,450
Seller
Jewels in Time
26
US
IWC Big Pilot Bronze
IWC Big Pilot Bronze
$12,875
Seller
Harley's Time LLC
46
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
$4,200
Free shipping
Seller
SLS TIME
32
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Pink
IWC Pilot Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Pink
$29,500
Seller
Raffi Boyadjian Watches Inc.
12
US
IWC 2017 IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Automatic Black Ceramic 46mm 7...
IWC 2017 IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Automatic Black Ceramic 46mm 7...
$9,994
Seller
Collectors Coins & Jewelry
 
US
IWC IW325301 Mark XV SS / Strap Black Dial (28377)
IWC IW325301 Mark XV SS / Strap Black Dial (28377)
$3,750
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
IWC Antoine de Saint Exupéry Chronograph
IWC Antoine de Saint Exupéry Chronograph
$8,750
Free shipping
Seller
Essence of Time, Inc.
22
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition IW5026-18...
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition IW5026-18...
$22,500
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII  Heritage Titanium 327006 - Factory Warrany
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Heritage Titanium 327006 - Factory Warrany
$3,695
Seller
Watch Exchange Co.
50
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar 18k Rose Gold Brazil Box/Pape...
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar 18k Rose Gold Brazil Box/Pape...
$39,888
Seller
Jewels in Time
26
US
IWC Big Pilot Iw500901 Stainless Steel
IWC Big Pilot Iw500901 Stainless Steel
$7,895
Seller
OCWG Inc.
28
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$9,700
Free shipping
Seller
SLS TIME
32
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar
$26,500
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
IWC 2017 SERVICED IWC Double Chronograph Pilot Black 46mm...
IWC 2017 SERVICED IWC Double Chronograph Pilot Black 46mm...
$6,994
Seller
Collectors Coins & Jewelry
 
US
IWC IW502618 Big Pilot Orange Perpetual Calendar SS LIMITED...
IWC IW502618 Big Pilot Orange Perpetual Calendar SS LIMITED...
$24,500
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
IWC Pilot Top Gun Edition IW3880-01
IWC Pilot Top Gun Edition IW3880-01
$7,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
IWC Big Pilot's Annual Calendar IW5027-02 Watch with Leather...
IWC Big Pilot's Annual Calendar IW5027-02 Watch with Leather...
$14,250
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Black Ceramic IW502001
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Black Ceramic IW502001
$9,500
Seller
E.D. Marshall Jewelers Inc
19
US
IWC Big Pilot Steel 7 Day Power Reserve Automatic Mens Watch...
IWC Big Pilot Steel 7 Day Power Reserve Automatic Mens Watch...
$9,150
Seller
Jewels in Time
26
US
IWC Pilot Automatic Chrono Day Date Mens watch IW3706
IWC Pilot Automatic Chrono Day Date Mens watch IW3706
$3,300
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
108
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph
IWC Pilot Chronograph
$4,200
Free shipping
Seller
SLS TIME
32
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Top Gun Ceramic Calendar
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Top Gun Ceramic Calendar
$19,999
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
IWC 2017 IWC Pilot Midnight Mark XVIII 40mm Le Petit Prince...
IWC 2017 IWC Pilot Midnight Mark XVIII 40mm Le Petit Prince...
$3,393
Seller
Collectors Coins & Jewelry
 
US
IWC IW500401 Big Pilot 7 Day SS (28310)
IWC IW500401 Big Pilot 7 Day SS (28310)
$8,350
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Doppelchronograph IW3713-19
IWC Pilot's Watch Doppelchronograph IW3713-19
$7,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition IW3718-08 Watch...
IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition IW3718-08 Watch...
$7,350
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Spitfire Pilot Chron, Mens, Auto, Stainless Steel, IW370628
IWC Spitfire Pilot Chron, Mens, Auto, Stainless Steel, IW370628
$4,075
Free shipping
Seller
Estates Consignments
30
US
IWC Big Pilot's Perpetual Calendar ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPERY
IWC Big Pilot's Perpetual Calendar ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPERY
$19,900
Seller
BlackTagWatches
52
US
IWC : Mark XVIII Heritage :  IW327006 :  Titanium
IWC : Mark XVIII Heritage : IW327006 : Titanium
$3,810
Seller
BernardWatch.com
212
US
IWC Pilot Mark
IWC Pilot Mark
$3,500
Free shipping
Seller
SLS TIME
32
US
IWC Fleiger Chrono Pilot Stainless with IWC original leather...
IWC Fleiger Chrono Pilot Stainless with IWC original leather...
$1,700
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
IWC Classic Pilot Chronograph Black Day Date 42mm 3717 3717-01...
IWC Classic Pilot Chronograph Black Day Date 42mm 3717 3717-01...
$4,293
Seller
Collectors Coins & Jewelry
 
US
IWC 3253-09 Mark XV White Dial SS RARE (28095)
IWC 3253-09 Mark XV White Dial SS RARE (28095)
$6,400
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
IWC Pilot Spitfire Doppelchronograph IW3711
IWC Pilot Spitfire Doppelchronograph IW3711
$17,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
IWC Spitfire Automatic Chronograph IW3717-05 Watch with...
IWC Spitfire Automatic Chronograph IW3717-05 Watch with...
$3,950
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Big Pilot Platinum IW500202 46mm Limited Edition
IWC Big Pilot Platinum IW500202 46mm Limited Edition
$23,500
Free shipping
Seller
Chronostore
130
US
IWC Pilots  Le Petit Price Edition Blue Dial Midnight Blue...
IWC Pilots Le Petit Price Edition Blue Dial Midnight Blue...
$3,400
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
108
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun
$11,200
Free shipping
Seller
Fine Watch Bank
17
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$11,400
Free shipping
Seller
SLS TIME
32
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$7,900
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
IWC MINT Men's IWC Big Pilot Black 7-Day 46mm 5004 5004-01...
IWC MINT Men's IWC Big Pilot Black 7-Day 46mm 5004 5004-01...
$8,193
Seller
Collectors Coins & Jewelry
 
US
IWC IW5009-16 Big Pilot "LE PETIT PRINCE" Blue Dial (28059)
IWC IW5009-16 Big Pilot "LE PETIT PRINCE" Blue Dial (28059)
$11,500
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
IWC Pilot's Spitfire Chronograph IW3706-13
IWC Pilot's Spitfire Chronograph IW3706-13
$3,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph IW3717-01 Watch with Leather Bracelet...
IWC Pilot's Chronograph IW3717-01 Watch with Leather Bracelet...
$3,550
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph iw377717 Le Petit Prince
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph iw377717 Le Petit Prince
$5,057
Free shipping
Seller
Prestige Time LLC
79
US
IWC : Spitfire Flyback Chronograph :  IW387804 :  Stainless Steel
IWC : Spitfire Flyback Chronograph : IW387804 : Stainless Steel
$5,695
Seller
BernardWatch.com
212
US
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph
IWC Pilot Double Chronograph
$10,500
Free shipping
Seller
Fine Watch Bank
17
US
IWC Pilot Mark
IWC Pilot Mark
$4,450
Free shipping
Seller
SLS TIME
32
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince
TOP
IWC Pilot Chronograph Le Petit Prince
$4,500
Seller
Private Seller
US
IWC Pilot Collection UTC TZC Platinum 39mm Blue Dial Limited...
IWC Pilot Collection UTC TZC Platinum 39mm Blue Dial Limited...
$10,975
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
112
US
IWC IW389002 Top Gun Miramar Chronograph Ceramic (28193)
IWC IW389002 Top Gun Miramar Chronograph Ceramic (28193)
$8,950
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
IWC Spitfire Ju Air Limited Edition IW3878-09
IWC Spitfire Ju Air Limited Edition IW3878-09
$5,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
IWC Big Pilot's Heritage IW5103-01 Watch with Leather Bracelet...
IWC Big Pilot's Heritage IW5103-01 Watch with Leather Bracelet...
$10,500
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Automatic IW327001
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Automatic IW327001
$3,150
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
63
US
IWC : Classic Pilot's Chronograph :  IW371701 :  Stainless Steel
IWC : Classic Pilot's Chronograph : IW371701 : Stainless Steel
$3,600
Seller
BernardWatch.com
212
US
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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.

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