At SIHH 2016, IWC has a new entry-level pilot watch. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII is just 40 mm in diameter and 11 mm in height. It is a no frills watch with just a date complication in an aperture at the 3 o’clock position and three hands. The watch has a water rating of 60 meters.
There are 3 options to choose from, the Reference IW327001, Reference IW327002 and Reference IW327011 (from left to right). The base material is stainless steel. My personal favorite is the white dial version.
There are a number of changes to the Mark XVIII compared to the previous Mark XVII. First was the drop in diameter by 1 mm to 40 mm on the Mark XVIII. Second is the elimination of the triple date window on the Mark XVII with simple date window. Third, the addition of the Arabic numbering “6” and “9“ back onto the dial. Finally, a slight redesign of the 12 o’clock icon to be more in line with the rest of the numerals and markers.
On the solid screw-down case back, you’ll see the etching of the Junkers Ju 52 airplane, which was the most common aircraft used for civilian travel in the 1930s.
Powering the Mark XVIII is the calibre 30110 operating at a frequency of 4 Hertz or 28,800 vph. The caliber uses 21 jewels and the main spring is capable of retaining 42 hours of power reserve. This calibre is based on an ETA Ebauche.
Additionally, apart from the three standard options, there are also two limited edition pieces under the Mark XVIII category. The first is the limited edition IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII “Le Petit Prince” Reference 327004. This piece is made in honor of the French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The limited edition “Le Petit Prince” has the exact same specifications of the Mark XVIII but with an elegant blue dial. The strap provided is a brown Santoni calfskin strap.
The second limited edition piece is the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun/Miramar line Reference 324702. This example has more differences than the standard Mark XVIII. Although similar in dimensions, the casing for this limited edition piece case is polished ceramic. The dial is anthracite-colored and is attached to an embossed green calfskin strap with a titanium pin buckle.
I actually like the Mark XVIII. The size is just right and the watch is practical without any embellishments. My only issue is the pricing. I was made to understand the basic models are priced at USD3,950 for the leather strap version and USD4,950 for the bracelet version. The massive price difference for the bracelet version is due to fact that the bracelet incorporates IWC’s ingenious link pin disconnect mechanism in every link in the bracelet which allows one to disengage the bracelet pins with just a simple push with a thin object (such as a wooden toothpick).
In the photo above, you will note the circle at the corner end of every link. Push on the center of the point and the link pins will disconnect and you can start your resizing quickly and effortlessly. Having this capability does have its cost. A replacement bracelet could set you back by a couple of thousand USD and it contributes substantially to the overall weight of the watch. My advice: if you ever get a chance to buy this watch, choose the bracelet model. It is always cheaper to get leather or rubber replacement then the other way around.
Meor Amri is a passionate watch collector from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Having bitten by the horology bug in 2010, he has written extensively about the watch scene and has assembled a large collection of watches (excessively!!!) on his own free time. His blogs on the same subject are: Eastern Watch & Western WatchRead his articles here