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From IWC's earliest days, the brand established itself as a manufacturer of aviation watches. This marriage of IWC and aviation began with the production of the first watch ever developed solely for aviation, the Spezialuhr für Flieger or Special Pilot's Watch, in 1936. The Special Pilot's Watch later became known to collectors as the Mark IX, the progenitor of IWC's fabled Mark series of pilot's watches.
The Mark IX more or less set the standard for what aviator's watches would look and feel like. It had a black dial, large luminescent numerals and indices, and--most importantly--a shock-absorbent movement, the caliber 83. Production of the Mark IX ceased in 1944 and the model was supplanted by the Mark X. Produced from 1944 to 1948, the Mark X saw combat during World War II. This is one of the famous "Dirty Dozen" produced by the twelve manufacturers that met standards passed down by the British Ministry of Defense. With case backs stamped "WWW" for "Watch Wristlet Waterproof," these watches were, as one can infer from the name, waterproof, shock-absorbent, and bore the looks (black dial, luminous hands) already typified by the "Mark IX."
Prompted by 6B/346, the MOD's new standard for military-issue timepieces, IWC (along with JLC) won a patent to supply Britain's armed forces with yet another watch, this time meeting stringent anti-magnetic qualifications. The Mark XI entered military service in 1949 and was decommissioned in 1981. It was not replaced until 1993, when the Mark XII was introduced. The Mark XII maintained the look and the feel of the Mark XI, but featured an automatic movement and a date wheel. The movement, the IWC caliber 884/2, was based on the JLC caliber 889/2.
It was the Mark XII that ushered in an new era for IWC's current "Mark" series. The Mark XVII, which we offer here, is clearly the direct descendent of the Mark XI, and hallmarks of that mid-century flyer can be seen throughout its design. But where other models, like the popular Mark XII, favored dial designs that were closer in styling to that of the WWII pieces, the Mark VXII has a modernized take with its characteristic "open date" display, a design choice that sets it apart from its ancestors. With slightly longer, slimmer lugs and a thinner overall feel than older models on the wrist, the Mark XVII has a more modern touch while retaining its authentic DNA, and wears great!
Adding to the modern feel of the piece is the slightly domed polarized crystal--a feature introduced to the line to help decrease glare and reflection in the high-light settings in which modern wearers often find themselves. With its traditionally-styled Arabic hour markers and luminous handset, the Mark XVII feels linked to IWC's long line of function-driven pilot's watches, striking us as a perfect every-day-wear IWC--it's got all the looks of its vintage brethren, a robust high-grade movement and a case that was designed to take a beating.
All in all, it's a great timepiece that we'd never shy away from strapping to our wrist.
Stainless steel case is approximately 41mm (excluding crown). 3265-01. IWC Calibre 30110 Automatic movement. Circa 2010.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in excellent condition overall, with very faint signs of light use and wear. Dial is likewise is in excellent, like-new condition with no fading to the hour markers or hands. IWC crown. IWC case back is in very good condition with faint wear marks.
Includes original 20 IWC black leather strap with IWC buckle. Also includes two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle
Also includes inner and outer box, papers, books, and warranty card.