Whhen you think of pilot’s watches, you probably think IWC – and when you think IWC, you probably think pilot’s watches. The two are definitely linked and have been for the better part of a century. While IWC Replica made watches for aviators before the 1948 introduction of the Mark XI military pilot’s watch, it’s this model that started the lineage that brings us to the IWC pilot’s of today. The watch we have here is an embodiment of that unbroken history, merging the new Mark XVIII with its earliest antecedent.
The full name of this watch is a mouthful – the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Tribute to Mark XI.” For the sake of simplicity and clarity, we’ll be referring to it simply as the Tribute to Mark XI. However, the full moniker reveals that at its core this watch is a thoroughly modern Mark XVIII pilot’s replica watch, with all that that entails. This means the replica watch has a stainless steel case that measures 40mm across and 10.8mm thick and that the IWC caliber 35111 movement inside (based on the Sellita SW300-1) is protected by a soft iron inner case for anti-magnetic protection. The center seconds are hacking and there’s a date window at three o’clock.
What makes this watch special though is that the dial and hands have been changed to recall the mid-century looks of the original Mark XI. This means the matte black dial has four small luminous rectangles at the poles and an inset luminous triangle at 12 o’clock (notice the lack of dots on either side, which you’ll find on all modern IWC pilot’s replica watches). Look closely and you’ll also see that all the markings around the perimeter of the dial are slimmer and more discrete than those found on the standard Mark XVIII.
Additionally, the usual handset has been swapped for a vintage-inspired set that includes the flat baton hour hand. All the lume on both the hands and the dial has a creamy color reminiscent of aged tritium. Finishing things off is a green nylon NATO strap in place of a bracelet or alligator strap, which is definitely a better fit for this tribute to a military legend.
The Tribute to Mark XI is a limited edition of 1,948 pieces, an obvious nod to the original Mark XI’s birth year. The watch goes on sale July 1, but with a catch – for the first three months, the watch is exclusive to Harrods in London. The retail price there will be £3,790 (approximately $4,865 at time of publishing, including VAT), and when it comes to the U.S. later this year it will retail for $4,150.
For more, visit IWC online.