If there’s one event in the world that every man should visit at least once in their life, it’s the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, more commonly known as SIHH.
D’Marge is on the ground at this year’s grand exhibition in Geneva to bring you comprehensive coverage on the latest luxury timepieces from around the world.
This year, IWC Schaffhausen will be one Swiss luxury watchmaker to keep an eye on. In an exciting move the company has revamped their entire Pilot’s Watch collection to include smaller timepieces to broaden its appeal in the entry-level segment. More importantly though, they’ve done so without diluting the brand’s rich and unique heritage.
There’s also an acknowledgement of what IWC is renowned for – a new sizeable Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch set in two variants which reverberates the same aesthetic cues of an iconic model dating back to 1940.
As such, our pick of the standout IWC pieces to look out for at this year’s show includes the Pilot’s Watch Heritage 48, the Automatic 36, the Timezoner Chronograph, the Big Pilot Topgun Rodeo Drive Boutique Edition and the Le Petit Prince Big Pilot Annual Calendar.
Here is a rundown of everything you need to know about each model.
Big Pilot Heritage Watch 48
The Heritage 48 plays the smaller brother to the sizeable Heritage 55 (55mm case), a piece which revives the observer’s watch that first appeared in the IWC range 75 years ago. Taking the same historical cues, the Heritage 48 successfully merges classic design with a few concessions towards today’s expectations of modern aesthetics and comfort.
What this means is that you’ll get a less imposing and lightweight 48mm titanium case made especially for everyday use. An in-house 59215 calibre movement looks after timekeeping whilst a soft iron inner case prevents any interference from external magnetic fields.
Within the black dial there’s also a date display window and a small hacking seconds at the 6 o’clock marker. Being a Pilot’s Watch, a sophisticated feature also includes a sapphire glass window on the back which is secured against displacement from a drop in air pressure – a common occurrence for pilots tackling the rapidly changing heights whilst flying.
The Heritage 48 has water resistance of up to 6 bar with a power reserve of eight days. It comes complete with a brown calfskin strap with contrast stitching and is limited to 1,000 pieces.
Final pricing of the Heritage 48 is yet to be confirmed.
Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36
The Automatic 36 is where IWC is really pushing to broaden its appeal in 2016. The new Pilot’s Watch is made specifically for those with smaller wrists, both males and females, who are after a more elegant looking timepiece. A smaller package doesn’t equate to less features though. The 36mm case is the smallest in IWC’s collection today but it extends its options with five different models to choose from with three different dials encased in stainless steel.
Following the traditions of old, the Automatic 36 is modelled off the legendary Mark 11 which also came with a 36mm case on its debut. Elegance is the key to the watch’s three-hand design which promotes clean and uncluttered timekeeping. A very cool touch of luxury is added via the mirror-polished bezel and sun-pattern finish on the dials, which make incident light appear to move around it in circles.
The mechanical automatic movement of the timepiece is a 35111 calibre with anti-magnetic protection derived from a soft inner iron case. It has a power reserve of 42 hours. The five variants of the Automatic 36 all feature the same 36mm stainless steel case and butterfly clasp.
The design variations include a slate coloured dial with a Santoni dark brown alligator leather strap (Ref. IW324001), a slate coloured dial with a stainless steel bracelet (Ref. IW324002), a silver-plated dial with Santoni blue alligator leather strap (Ref. IW324003), a silver-plated dial with a stainless-steel bracelet (Ref. IW324004) and a silver-plated dial with a dark brown alligator leather strap by Santoni (Ref. IW324005).
Pricing of the Automatic 36 is yet to be confirmed.
Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph
Innovation lies at the very heart of this radical new timepiece from IWC. For the first time in watchmaking, the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph will allow a wearer to set a new time zone by simply turning the watch’s rotating bezel. This function redefines the convention of world time watches through simplicity, practicality and elegance.
The process works like this: Push the bezel down, turn it to the desired time zone, release bezel. Done. The procedure also changes the watch’s date and 24-hour hand whilst only one time of day is shown, making it is impossible to mix up the different zones. Reverting back to the original timezone is a simple case of repeating the procedure in reverse.
The mechanical chronograph movement featuring a 24-hour display, date, stopwatch function, flyback function and small hacking seconds is encased in a 45mm stainless steel case with a special back engraving. Power reserve is 68 hours on the Timezoner whilst on the aesthetic side of things, the watch receives a black dial paired with a black calfskin strap by Santoni complete with a stainless-steel folding clasp. The piece comes with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
Final pricing of the Timezoner Chronograph is yet to be confirmed.
Big Pilot Topgun Rodeo Drive Boutique Edition
The fall of 2015 saw the opening of a brand new IWC store on Beverly Hills’ iconic Rodeo Drive. As part of this occasion, IWC launched a 250 limited edition run of their Big Pilot Topgun timepiece.
What you get is more wearable and comfortable piece than its predecessor, due largely in part to the reduction in case size from 48mm to the current 46mm. The case is also crafted from black ceramic whilst the dial is set in a deep bold blue which plays extremely well with refracted light.
The automatic movement remains the same as the previous Big Pilot Topgun with an in-house IWC calibre 5111 featuring a seven day power reserve. The power reserve indicator itself shares the same space as the the date dial.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Boutique Rodeo Drive is paired with a black calf leather strap with fabric embossed patterns.
Pricing for the Big Pilot Topgun Rodeo Drive Boutique Edition is set at $US14,700.
Big Pilot Annual Calendar Le Petit Prince
Dedicated to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a leading figure in poetry who penned the story of ‘The Little Prince’, the Big Pilot Annual Calendar Le Petit Prince marks the convergence of IWC’s world of flying with writing, technology and poetry.
This unique partnership brings forth an elegant special edition timepiece featuring a stunning 46mm, 18-carat red gold case limited to just 250 pieces. The beauty however lies on the reverse side, with the original decoration of the rotor illustrating a leitmotif in the work of writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
A mechanical movement featuring a Pellaton automatic winding shows off the annual calendar with date, day and month displays as well as a small hacking seconds at 9 o’clock.
The aesthetics of the watch is finished off with a shimmering blue sun pattern dial, a dark brown calfskin strap by Santoni and an 18-carat red gold folding clasp.
Final pricing of the Big Pilot Annual Calendar Le Petit Prince is yet to be confirmed.
Luc Wiesman is covering SIHH 2016 as a guest of Richemont Australia