Pre-SIHH 2019: The handsome additions to the IWC Schaffhausen Pilot's collection
Buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, as we're in for a helluva ride. Before the annual Salon de la Haute Horlogerie opens its doors on January 14th, Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen has teased us with the expansion of its iconic Pilot's collection. IWC's first Special Watch for Pilots first took flight in 1936, and had all the trademarks of a functional aviation timepiece: it was oversized, with large luminous hands and numerals. It also featured an onion crown for easy winding, a rotating bezel, shatterproof crystal, an anti-magnetic movement and it was temperature resistant.
The new additions to the collection are more likely to see the interior of a boardroom rather than a cockpit, but IWC in no way compromises the sheer virility of the watches.
Commemorating the single seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force during and after World War II, IWC launched the Spitfire UTC in 1998. For 2019, the watchmaker celebrates "The Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight" expedition that will be undertaken next year, where a restored 1943 aircraft will go on an excursion around the world. The expedition will see the pilots travel over 43,000km to over 30 countries.
To accompany the pilots on their intrepid adventure, IWC has released the limited-edition Pilot's Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition "The Longest Flight", which features the patented Timezoner mechanism that allows the user to set the time in another time zone by turning the bezel. The self-winding timepiece is limited to 250 pieces and is available in stainless steel combined with a black dial and green textile strap.
Bronze has been gaining traction as a bona fide case material in recent years for multiple reasons. The soft metallic tone is subtler than gold, while the patina that it develops over the years imbues it with unique personality. The bronze case paired with an olive-green dial makes for a winning combination on the Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire, but what ups the ante even further is the watch's top-notch technical chops, as it features an in-house chronograph movement from the 69000 calibre family. Measuring 41mm, the timepiece looks good enough on the wrists of both men and women.
Made for the gruelling conditions undertaken by the pilots on the Top Gun programme, the IWC Pilot's Top Gun series are known using hardy case materials. For 2019, IWC pushes the envelope even further with the use of Ceratanium for the first time. Developed by the Swiss watchmaker, the material is an alloy of ceramic and titanium, harnessing the unique advantages of both, namely hardiness, scratch-resistance, lightness and resistance to breakage. The result is a functional tool watch that's incredibly sexy as well.