IWC Mark XVII Flieger Chronograph
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IWC Mark XVII Flieger Chronograph

The year was 1916, the height of the First World War. The fledging air forces of both Central and Allied powers were outfitting airplanes for combat. On both sides of the conflict, young men sprang into to the cockpits of their fighter planes and took to the skies.

One of them was Albert Lotter, a young pilot in the Luftwaffe. With him he carried a watch he inherited from his father. Elegant but sturdy, with a 14k gold case, the (elegant but legible) dial bore these words: International Watch Company, Schaffhausen. 

It would be the first watch made by IWC to take to the skies, but it would by no means be the last.

Two decades after Lotter served with distinction in the Great War, the association with IWC and aviation would be forever cemented. At the urging of the sons of IWC’s managing director, Ernst Jakob Homberger, IWC released a watch that was specially designed with the needs of pilots in mind. With its oversized case and large, luminous Arabic numerals, the Special Piot’s Watch would be the first watch of its kind; as such, it would set the mold for all pilot’s watches to follow.

Since then, IWC has drawn inspiration from the purpose-driven military watches of the era by expressing their historical design-language in the popular Fliegeruhr (literally “Pilot's watch”) line.  

In 2010 IWC launched the Fliegeruhr Chronograph, Reference 3777. Larger than the original “Big Pilot,” which was released in 1940, it’s a sturdy 43mm with brushed finish and sharp, polished edges. Like the pilot’s watches that preceded it, the Fliegeruhr (literally, “pilot’s watch”) was made antimagnetic, a measure necessary to protect the watch’s sensitive movement from the magnetic fields inside an aircraft.

With touches like the antireflective coating on the crystal and the luminescent triangle at 12 o’clock, this watch is full of small details that really drive home the brand’s dedication to producing thoughtful and well-executed pilot’s watches. Another detail worth pointing out is the open date window at 3 o’clock, meant by IWC to evoke the altimeter in an airplane’s cockpit. Though not exactly unheard-of for pilot’s watches (Bremont’s first U-22 had a similar feature), it was somewhat controversial when it was first introduced; however, several years on, it’s a design quirk that we’ve come to appreciate.

This particular Fligeruhr comes to us with a bracelet—complete with extra links. The bracelet is comfortable on the wrist, which is an unsung quality of IWC’s watches that bears noting. However, its 22mm width makes strap-changing easy and painless. 

Coming complete with inner and outer boxes, receipt, and warranty card, this is an excellent example of a watch that, in our opinion, has become a modern classic.

Details

SKU: AS02159

Stainless steel case is approximately 43mm (excluding crown). IWC Reference 3777-04. Circa 2012.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with minor signs of wear. Dial is in excellent, as-new condition. IWC crown. IWC case back has some signs of wear.

Includes one 22mm IWC bracelet with IWC-signed clasp. Clap has some signs of "desk-diving" but is in otherwise very good condition.

Also includes inner and outer boxes, receipt, warranty card dated 2012.

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