Le Petit Prince
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Line Gets a Complicated Addition
Upshot: In December we saw IWC add some beautiful new pieces to its Pilot’s Watch line ahead of SIHH 2019. Now that the show is here, we have some more cool new stuff to show you, including this Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. Notably, this is the first instance in which IWC has combined a perpetual calendar with a chronograph in a pilot’s watch.
Who It’s For: This piece seems aimed squarely at collectors, with a price tag to boot ($38,300). There is so much watch in this watch that actual time-telling seems like an almost superfluous function. Indeed, if you simply need to know what time it is and you’re an IWC fan, a Mark series watch will likely do just fine. If you want something über-complicated, limited (250 pieces) and in a precious metal case, then maybe this is the watch for you.
First Impressions: Given the feasibility (though, admittedly, also the difficulty) of incorporating the horological functionality present here into a smaller case size (think of what Patek Philippe was able to do way back in the 1940s while people elsewhere were busy killing one another), my ultimate hope is that IWC will eventually decide to release pieces of this complexity and beauty in smaller cases. I’m 5’7″ — I can’t wear a 43mm, 15.9mm-thick gold watch (I also couldn’t afford one, but that’s beside the point). This piece is hefty, and, while that doesn’t detract from its aesthetic beauty, I can’t help but wonder why its necessary to release a piece this large, even with all the calendar and chronograph information present on the dial.
Insight: All the above being said, the watch is certainly pretty, and includes some seriously impressive engineering. Drawing upon Kurt Klaus’s perpetual calendar development in the 1980s, the Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (a utilitarian moniker if ever there were one) uses a movement comprised of just 80 or so parts that will work until the year 2100 without the need for manual adjustment. All calendar displays can be changed via the crown and are synched for easy adjustment, and the in-house calibre 89630 also features a chronograph function. Once again, this is by no means a small piece, but given all the functionality on offer, there’s also the chance that the wearer will be grateful for the extra size for ease of reading. Much of this, of course, is down to personal preference.
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