IWC Schaffhausen and the Mercedes Formula 1 team have unveiled their first official team watch – a stunning titanium chronograph that’s IWC’s answer to the ‘Tiffany Blue’ craze that’s taken over the watch world.
Formula 1 is enjoying a ~moment~. The world’s fastest motorsport has never been more popular, in no small part thanks to the star power of drivers like Lewis Hamilton as well as the insane success of Netflix’s Drive To Survive.
Of course, watches and Formula 1 go together like strawberries and cream: all the F1 teams active in the sport right now have partnerships with watch brands. Red Bull has TAG Heuer, Williams has Bremont, multiple teams are sponsored by Richard Mille…
But the highest-profile watch/F1 team tie-up – and the one that’s produced the most interesting watches, in our opinion – is IWC Schaffhausen’s long-running relationship with Mercedes. It’s a pretty perfect alignment, actually: F1 drivers are often called pilots, so it makes sense that they’d want to team up with a watchmaker famous for durable, utilitarian pilot’s watches.
Now, in 2022, the two companies have teamed up on a rather special timepiece. Ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, IWC and Mercedes have unveiled their first official team watch. Bold, brash, tough and unique, the IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” (ref. IW388108) is one hell of a watch – and just as F1 has captivated scores of people who’ve never been interested in motorsports before, we reckon this watch will drive watch fans of all stripes crazy.
First of all, the cool thing about this watch is that it will be worn by the entire Mercedes team, including designers, aerodynamicists, race engineers, strategists and mechanics. It’ll mean that F1 fans will see a lot more of this cool timepiece throughout 2022.
Now, to get down to brass tacks. Unlike most Pilot’s Chronos in IWC’s model range, the ref. IW388108 is crafted from grade 5 titanium. Not only does this make it remarkably light on the wrist, but it also brings to mind the high-performance parts Mercedes uses in the construction of its F1 cars. It’s a striking look.
Even more striking is the watch’s dial treatment. All the printing and luminescence on the watch’s dial is in ‘Petronas Green’: the Mercedes F1 team’s signature shade. On top of that, the two strap options for the watch – an embossed calfskin strap and a comfy rubber strap – also feature Petronas Green, the former with Petronas Green stitching and the latter entirely featuring the eye-catching hue.
It’s this use of Petronas Green that we think will really captivate watch fans, as it’s strikingly similar to the watch colour of the moment: ‘Tiffany Blue’.
Why pay stupid money for a Patek Philippe or a Rolex when you can get an IWC that’s more comfortable, more technical and frankly, more unique? That’s our thought at least. In any case, we love the way the ref. IW388108 looks, Tiffany or F1 associations aside.
“Both fine watchmaking and racing are all about precision, craftsmanship and performance engineering. But it’s the human factor – the passion the love and the dedication that make all the difference between good and great. This notion perfectly describes our long-standing partnership with [Mercedes] and we are celebrating this partnership with the launch of the new team watch in Miami,” IWC CEO Chris Grainger-Herr explains.
The ref. IW388108 will be available exclusively online on iwc.com. It’s not a limited edition per se, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the current production run gets snapped up quicker than Lewis Hamilton on a hot lap around Silverstone. So get in quick before they’re all Russelled up (get it?)