The Playbook For The Modern Man

On The Wrist: Road Testing The IWC Pilots Watch Mark XVIII

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The following article has been sponsored by IWC Schaffhausen

Amongst the legends of watchmaking, the Pilots Watch from IWC sits firmly on every collector’s hit list. The original Mark XI from IWC was issued to the RAF and the RAAF in the late 1940s and 50s and was used extensively by air wings for navigation.

As such, the watch had to be supremely accurate and be able to withstand the rigours of a cockpit during their time. Specifications from the British Ministry of Defence ensured that the watch had a soft iron inner case to protect it from magnetic fields, a highly accurate movement with hacking for precise time setting, and a stainless steel case that was waterproof to secure the crystal against displacement from a drop in air pressure.


Inside The Mark XVIII

There’s a reason why these historic little details are mentioned. All of the trialled advancements of the past have been passed down to the modern IWC Pilots Watch Mark XVIII, making it a fitting tribute to IWC’s flying history and an entry-model carrier for good solid Schaffhausen craftsmanship.

The IWC Pilots Watch Mark XVIII is available in a black dial which is as close as you can get to the original Mark XI. It is also available in a silver plated dial for those who prefer a lighter hue. Its stainless steel case is executed with masterful precision, sized at a moderate 40mm and featuring brushed flat surfaces befitting of its utilitarian heritage.

Inside the watch beats a self-winding 30110 mechanical movement featuring 21 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve. This movement also drives a date counter at the 3 o’clock mark with the traditional IWC triangle logo sitting atop the 12 o’clock mark.

Watch Design

The Mark XVIII also sports fine polished bevels on its lugs to highlight the shape of the case. The watch is easily legible with its black Arabic numerals contrasting against a lightly coloured dial. All of this is tied together with an exquisite black calf skin strap by Santoni featuring the signature orange lining. A stainless steel bracelet is also available for those who prefer a more formal look.

On the caseback sits a special plane engraving whilst sapphire glass adorns the front face to aid in clarity and robustness. For absolute peace of mind, the Mark XVIII is water resistant for up to 60 metres.

Final Thoughts

The IWC Pilots Watch Mark XVIII is as classic a Pilots Watch can get without the overbearing size. As an entry model of IWC, it’s reliable, versatile and easily serviceable. On the fashion front the watch is totally at home when worn under a French cuff or a luxe hoodie. The real magic however continues to resonate from the illustrious story behind it, earning the Mark XVIII a coveted spot in the world of pilot watches.

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