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Introducing Four New Pilot's Watches From IWC's SIHH 2019 Line-Up

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With SIHH a little more than a month away, we are starting to get a peek at what is in store for Geneva's premier watch event. Always a highlight at SIHH, IWC has shared four upcoming new models for their Pilot's collection. From bronze and Ceratanium to worldtime and constant force, these new editions show the breadth of technology, watchmaking, and style available in what is likely IWC's core product line. Let's dig in.

Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium

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First up we have an addition to the TOP GUN range within the Pilot's collection that marks the first use of Ceratanium for the case of an IWC Pilot's watch. This material, which has been created by IWC, is a composite material that offers the scratch resistance of ceramic with the lighter weight and high strength of titanium. For this launch model, the Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium (ref IW371815), the case is 44mm wide and 16.8mm thick with a full matte black finish and a matching stealth treatment to the dial, hands, and textile/rubber strap. 

Surrounded by a soft-iron inner case for added anti-magnetism, the Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium uses IWC's 79230 movement. Based originally on the 7750, the 79230 is a hugely specialized expression of the form that includes a full double chronograph (aka a rattrapante, you can read an amazing piece by Jack about it here). 

While certainly on the larger side for a sports chronograph, the wonderful movement, cutting-edge case material, and generally stealthy vibe of the display make this IWC TOP GUN a natural application for the launch of Ceratanium. While pricing has yet to be officially announced (and can change before the eventual retail launch for this watch or the others in this article), IWC says the IW371815 will retail for around $15,000. As the images make it difficult to predict just how dark the time display is in natural light, this is one I'm very interested to see next month at SIHH.  

Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire (Bronze)

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41mm wide and looking great with a dark olive green dial and a warm bronze case, the new Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire (ref IW387902) takes a shape and size we know well and just mixes up the color and case material. All of the usual hallmarks are here, 15.3mm thickness, 60m water resistance, a sapphire crystal, titanium case back, and IWC's 69380 in-house column-wheel chronograph movement. Interestingly, this is the first 41mm Pilot's chronograph to get a 69000-series movement, using an example from one of IWC's core in-house movement collections. 

I think between the bronze, the green dial, and that brown calf leather strap, they nailed it. The 41mm sizing is classic for the line and I really think it's a great design to see in the sort of old-world vibe that comes with bronze. While pricing is not official and may change, the bronze Spitfire chrono should cost around $6,250. 

Pilot's Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition "The Longest Flight"

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Remember the Timezoner? Originally launched as a chronograph at SIHH 2016, the new Pilot's Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition "The Longest Flight" retains the clever bezel-operated hour jumping mechanism (so fun) for the world time indication but crosses this functionality with an in-house automatic movement from IWC. Despite its considerable 46 x 15.2mm sizing, I really like this non-chronograph implementation of the Timezoner that also integrates some of the styling cues common to IWC's Spitfire models. 

Limited to 250 watches, the ref IW395501 pays tribute to the "Silver Spitfire - The Longest Flight", a daring project to restore a Spitfire and then fly it around the world. As is common to the Spitfire collection, this Timezoner Spitfire uses a steel case, a warm faux-aged lume, and a green textile strap, drawing aesthetic inspiration from the famed warplane.

Using IWC's new 82760 movement, this Timezoner has a 24-hour display just under the 12 o'clock marker (the date is at three). Twisting the bezel advances the local hours hands, 24 hour hand, and the date, effectively updating both the local display and the tracking for the worldtime in one motion. If you didn't get a chance to play with the original Timezoner chronograph, the bezel function feels very mechanical and it is a really interesting way to implement a sort of hybrid GMT/passive worldtimer without the need to unscrew a crown or even push a button. 

Slated to retail for around $12,400 (subject to change before launch), the Pilot's Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition "The Longest Flight" is a cool and noteworthy LE with a unique time zone complication, and I am thrilled to see the brand continue the use Timezoner in general. 

Big Pilot's Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "Le Petit Prince"

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Finally, something rather different from rest. While certainly part of the Pilot family, the new Big Pilot's Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "Le Petit Prince" ensures IWC plays to the "HH" of SIHH. 46.2mm wide in 18k "hard gold", this Big Pilot gets the Le Petit Prince treatment with a radiant blue dial and is limited to just 10 pieces. 

This reference IW59030 is both IWC first pilot's watch to have a constant force tourbillon and the first time that IWC has produced a watch with a "red hard gold" case. Hard gold is a special alloy that is much more scratch resistant (5-10x, according to IWC) than normal red gold. 

Inside that hard gold case (and viewable via a display case back) is IWC's manufacture 94895 movement, which uses a constant-force system combined with a tourbillon for enhanced accuracy. This hand-wound movement also features twin barrels offering 96 hours of power reserve, a moon phase display, and a power reserve. 

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While pricing is not yet final (and is subject to change), the Big Pilot's Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "Le Petit Prince" should retail for around $235,000. Given the complexity of the movement and the case material, the pricing is not exactly surprising and this is far from the first time that we have seen advanced complications applied to the Big Pilot format. 

For more information, visit IWC online and be sure to stay tuned for our hands-on impressions from SIHH next month. 

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