Schaffhausen, 1st June 2023: IWC Schaffhausen celebrates the 75th anniversary of its Mark series and launches two new versions of the Pilot’s Watch Mark XX. Harking back to the legendary Mark 11 developed for the British Royal Air Force, the Mark XX is the latest addition to the series. The two stainless steel novelties feature silver-plated dials and complement the colour line-up that already includes blue, green and black dials.
Over 70 years ago, IWC Schaffhausen stood at the forefront of an unprecedented success story when it engineered the Mark 11 for the British Royal Air Force (RAF). This instrument watch for pilots and navigators was not only the start of the legendary Mark series, it also set the benchmark for the technical features and functional instrument design of most modern pilot’s watches. In 2022, IWC introduced the Pilot’s Watch Mark XX as the latest addition to the series. After presenting the model with blue, green and black dials, IWC is now completing the line-up with two silver-plated dial versions. One is fitted with a black calfskin strap (Ref. IW328207), and the other features a high-grade 5-link stainless steel bracelet (Ref. IW328208).
The Pilot’s Watch Mark XX features a 40-millimetre stainless steel case, thoroughly re-engineered with a revised side profile and an improved lug geometry. The slimmer and more curved lugs provide an even better fit on all wrists. The graphics for the numerals and indices on the high-contrast dial have been refined to the smallest detail. Luminescent elements on the dial and the black hands ensure perfect readability in all lighting conditions. The Pilot’s Watch Mark XX is powered by the IWC-manufactured 32111 calibre. The automatic movement features a silicon escapement and a double pawl winding system, building up a five-day power reserve. The front glass is specially secured to remain in place even in the event of a sudden pressure drop in the cockpit.
Another practical feature is the integrated EasX-CHANGE® system, which lets the wearer change the strap or bracelet quickly and easily without any tools. A wide variety of straps and bracelets are available as accessories, allowing the wearer to customise their timepiece to their liking. The selection ranges from calfskin straps and stainless steel bracelets to durable, flexible and water-proof rubber straps in fresh and vibrant colours. This versatility, combined with the 10-bar water-resistant case, makes the Pilot’s Watch Mark XX a quintessential sports watch.
A SUCCESS STORY THAT BEGAN 75 YEARS AGO
In the early days of aviation, pilots relied on astronomical navigation to determine their position in the sky. Relying on celestial bodies such as the sun or the moon to determine latitude and longitude, this procedure requires a sextant and a chronometer – a highly precise watch to measure the elapsed time. However, existing navigation watches back then were prone to numerous problems. Particularly challenging were the radar screens used during the approach phase as they generated strong magnetic fields, which could harm the accuracy of the watches. These issues made the RAF request the development of an entirely new navigation watch.
SETTING THE BENCHMARK FOR MODERN PILOT’S WATCHES
Following the RAF’s request, IWC Schaffhausen developed the Mark 11. Officially designated as the “navigator’s wristwatch Mk. 11 – Stores Ref. 6B/346”, it was delivered to them in 1948. Its 89 calibre was housed in a soft-iron inner case to protect it from magnetic fields. Another essential requirement was perfect legibility. The Mark 11, therefore, featured a high-contrast dial with luminescence, which made it easy to read the time whenever visibility was limited. This functional design in the style of an easy-to-read cockpit instrument remains a signature feature of IWC Pilot’s Watches. During the following decades, the Mark 11 was continuously upgraded and refined. Even as interference-free radio beacons made astronomical navigation obsolete, the Mark 11 remained a critical “backup instrument” for pilots in various Commonwealth countries well into the 1980s.
The new versions of the Pilot’s Watch Mark XX are available immediately through IWC boutiques, authorised retail partners or online at IWC.com. Additionally, they are eligible for registration under the My IWC care program, benefitting from a 6-year extension to the standard 2-year International Limited Warranty.