Think Diving; think Rolex. Think Motorsport; think Heuer. Think Aviation; think IWC.
The first IWC ‘Spezialuhr für Flieger’ (Special Pilot’s Watch) was made in 1936 and today, IWC’s Pilot, or “Mark” series; represents one of the company’s longest-running and by far, its most recognisable series of watches.
They were created with the specific needs of a very special breed of professional, the aviator, in mind. Its simple design focuses on the essentials, nothing more, and it soon attracted the attention of professional and military aviators alike.
In WWII, Britain’s Ministry of Defence submitted IWC’s Pilot’s Watch to strict testing and found it met all their specifications. The watch was classified the “Mark X” by the MoD, and was used extensively by the RAF.
IWC have dedicated themselves to refining the “Mark” series with gradual improvements and subtle changes being made over time. Evolution, rather than Revolution. A very similar philosophy to Ferdinand Porsche’s with the 911.
Very occasionally, a simple change can become “revolution” rather than evolution. Who can forget the 996 series of the 911 with its “fried Egg” head lamps? The same was true of IWC’s adoption of a more unified look for their watches in 2006.
The Mark XVI adopted the Flieger hands of the Big Pilot’s Watch which were longer and wider to better fit the larger dials and cases. The watch grew by 1mm while the dial changed font too. The numerals 6 and 9 were also omitted.
The XVI used the IWC 30110.cal (based on the 2892-A2) while it kept the antimagnetic and waterproof qualities of its predecessors.
The crown’s characteristically small fish emblem (to indicate water resistance) also changed to a ‘Probus Scafusia’ stamp.
Although a radically revamped model, and one that was not received well by the traditionalist fans of the Mark series watches, the XVI has kept many of its family’s inherent qualities while also becoming more modern. Its production ceased in 2012 when the Mark XVII was introduced.
Our Mark XVI is in overall fine condition. The watch has been worn and has suffered the usual “desk-dives”, but nothing that diminishes its simple beauty. If the new owner chose to have it polished, it could be arranged. However, we believe the scars of life should be worn with pride!
The face and hands are in perfect condition; as is the movement, having just been serviced by our expert watchsmiths.
The case back does have a visible scratch as can be seen in the photographs, but cannot be seen when it is being worn!
It wears its original and almost un-worn Black Alligator Leather strap with original buckle. The Original Box, Tags and Papers are present too.
So where does the IWC Pilot series sit in the world of watches?
It’s certainly not a pure dress watch, nor is it intended to be a true sports watch. It does not yell for attention on the wrist. Its technical specifications form a package that is hard to beat, particularly for anyone in the market for a great daily wearer or “beater” watch.
So, I shall leave the final words to Ferdinand Porsche: “A formally harmonious product needs no decoration; it should be elevated through pure form.”
Even when history or pedigree fail to strike a chord, it is hard to deny that as a product, the Mark XVI comes as close to a perfect everyday wristwatch as is possible.