IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Tribute to MKXI

IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Tribute to MKXI

Why We Love It

The IWC Pilot's Watch can trace its history back to the oversized timepieces produced for military aviators in 1940. These enormous pieces were originally designed for maximum legibility in a cockpit setting, and were originally designed to be worn on the pilot's thigh!

Today the Pilot's line is perhaps IWC's most identifiable collection, featuring a variety of case and dial configurations suited for any taste - provided your wrist can handle the larger than average dimensions!

This particular example was released as a limited edition in 2018 as a tribute to the original MKXI from the 1940s. Reasonably sized next to its larger "Big Pilot"sibling, this watch comes in at 40mm and just under 11mm in thickness, and is suitable for nearly any wrist. Featuring a stainless steel case with a matte black dial and the genre-defining large Arabic numerals with matching handset, this watch pays faithful tribute to its forefather, while incorporating a few handy contemporary updates.

In near mint condition with its full original kit, this is a great opportunity to pick up a true contemporary classic packed with heritage, versatility, and pedigree.

The IWC Pilot’s Story

The history of IWC can be said to be one of marriages. For example, a marriage of the Old World to the New, or of the craftsmanship and tradition of the Swiss with American innovations and technology. But perhaps the most enduring association is between IWC and aviation.

When an American watchmaker named Florentine Ariosto Jones arrived in Schauffhausen, Switzerland, he found a city almost frozen in time. Though the Industrial Revolution had swept through America (where Jones worked as a director of a prominent watchmaking company), in Switzerland the situation was very different. Watchmakers still plied their trades by their own firesides, as they had done for centuries; but Jones had in mind something different: an American-style factory where the watches would be designed and assembled in keeping with the old Swiss ways.

His methods caught on, and soon there were 196 people employed at his factory.

Though IWC was founded 35 years before Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first flight, the association between aviation and IWC began just as the aviation age dawned. A pocket watch made by IWC in the 1890s found its way into the pocket of one Robert Albert Lotter. Lotter was a pilot in the German Luftwaffe who served with distinction during the First World War.

Two decades later, in 1936, IWC would release a watch that set the standard, more or less, for what a pilot’s watch is supposed to be—in fact, this watch, the Spezialuhr für Flieger or Special Pilot's Watch, was the first specially-designed pilot’s watch. Another would follow in 1940, the Big Pilot, which has spawned an eponymous model in IWC’s current collection. However, despite the Big Pilot’s current popularity, it was the Special Pilot’s Watch that would lay the cornerstone for IWC’s most iconic line: the Mark series of pilot’s watches.

IWC released the Mark XI in 1948 according to specifications set forth by the British Ministry of Defense. These watches had to be legible, compact, and able to withstand exposure to the magnetic fields emitted by instruments in an airplane’s cockpit. The Mark XI, therefore, had a black dial with large luminous Arabic numbers, and the Calibre 89 movement (regarded as perhaps the best mechanical movement ever produced) was encased in an iron cage.

The Mark XI served as the basis for design inspiration for a robust line of pilot’s watches still being produced today – easily identifiable by their clean, uncluttered dials, robust cases, and outstanding quality.


SKU: AS05081

Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding the crown). Calibre 35111 automatic-winding movement by IWC. IWC Reference IW327007. Circa 2018.

Overall Condition: Case is in outstanding condition overall, showing only light signs of wear from careful use. Luminous matte black dial with printed Arabic numerals is in as-new condition with matching handset. Signed crown.

Includes signed brown leather strap with signed steel pin buckle. Also includes inner and outer boxes, books, tag, polishing cloth, signed nylon NATO-style strap, and warranty card dated 2/13/2018.

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