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Through much of World War II, allied aviators were donning the American-made A-11 service watch. While this tough-as-nails timekeeper performed meritoriously for soldiers and airmen alike, Britain's Ministry of Defense found that the production specifications of the A-11 were too broad and resulted in timepieces too imprecise for effective navigation.
As an answer to the A-11, the MoD issued new standards for the watches going to its RAF pilots. The new standard, coded 6B/346, required chronometer-grade performance and anti-magnetic properties. For the production of this new timepiece, the MoD turned to major European manufactures, eventually giving contracts to two: Jaeger-LeCoultre and International Watch Company.
The resulting timepiece was the Mark XI Pilot's watch.
In addition to the relatively standard features present on the A-11 (center seconds, hacking and a stainless steel case) the Mark XI featured a soft iron dial and dust cover which shielded the movement from magnetism. What really sets the IWC apart from its contemporaries, however, is the use of their outstanding Calibre 89 movement, a masterpiece manufacture movement that is universally lauded as one of the most robust three hand movements of all time. With excellent durability and reliability in the field, Mark XIs saw use in the RAF for decades, transcending the age of piston-driven Spitfires and VTOL Harriers, a testament to the less-is-more philosophy for tool watches.
This particular example was produced in 1948 and was maintained under contract by IWC, featuring a factory-restored original "T" dial and handset with replaced luminescent material on the markers. If you're a fan of military aviation, there might be no more important watch to add to your collection!
Stainless Steel case is approximately 35mm (excluding crown). Calibre 89 Manual Winding Movement. Circa 1948.
Overall condition: Case is in excellent condition overall, showing light normal wear consistent with age and use. Original dial has been factory refurbished by IWC (likely while under military contract). Luminescent plots have patinated nicely. original case back bears military engravings. Fixed spring bars.
Includes two 18mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
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