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If there is one thing that the International Watch Company is known for, it’s an impressive devotion to the development and production of an outstanding pilot’s watch. Mark XI pilot’s watches are among some of the most sought after WWII mil-spec watches today, and for good reason. With incredible accuracy and incorporated anti-magnetic designs, these timepieces were an essential part of an aircraft’s kit, and are widely lauded for their service during combat raids and sorties.
Since WWII, IWC has maintained its focus on developing functional (as well as beautiful) timepieces for pilots, drawing on what has become an iconic style – clean matte black dials with bright, legible hour markers and hands doused in luminous material.
The presence of a second time zone function has been an important fixture in pilots’ watches since the dawn of the jet set era, with flight paths traversing time zones more readily than they had ever before. With a joint standard time zone, pilots’ time charts and communications would be synchronized, regardless of which local time zone they were in. The advent of the GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) complication – a fixed 24-hour hand – changed the criteria for what a pilot’s watch should be, and before long, many brands were incorporating GMT functions into their timepieces.
For years, GMT was the gold standard with regard to global navigation, but in the early 1960s, scientists noted that the addition of leap seconds could greatly simplify time measurements that are thrown off by Earth’s tilt on its elliptical orbit. The creation of this method of regulation necessitated a new time zone – UTC, or Universal Time Coordinated.
The IWC Fleigeruhr was the first design to incorporate UTC in an open window displaying a rotating 24-hour wheel, enabling the wearer to adjust the position of the hour hand so that the watch reads local and UTC at a simple glance.
Even with its innovative design, the UTC Ref. 3251 doesn’t sacrifice hallowed IWC roots: It’s movement is still enclosed in a soft lead sarcophagus like it’s predecessors and enjoys the benefit of the decades of shock and g-force protection engineering for which IWC is famous.
Last, but certainly not least, the brushed stainless case weighs in at a subtle 39mm excluding crown, making this technologically relevant watch a pleasure to wear. For the modern pilot, traveler, or plain old aviation enthusiast, there are few watches better suited than the UTC Fleigeruhr.
Stainless Steel case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). IWC Reference 3251. 1999.
Overall Condition: The watch is in excellent condition over all with only the faintest of marks from wear. Case back bear one faint scratch. Original matte black dial is exceptional, as are original hands and date and UTC wheels. Original screw-down IWC-signed crown.
Includes original IWC brown leather strap with matching signed buckle. Also includes original inner and outer boxes, booklet and papers.