There’s been a lot to get excited about with IWC’s announcements at SIHH, but perhaps one of the more welcome new releases has been the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII replica. Purists and IWC fans might argue this is the true spiritual successor to the Mark XII from 1993, with its reserved proportions and utilitarian aesthetic. Both watches pay homage to the original Mark XI from 1948 which was arguably one of the finest military watches ever made. After spending some time with the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII, we’re happy to report that fans have a great deal to be excited about in the coming year, especially those who’ve been holding out hope that IWC would one day make a return to some of their more vintage styles. Additionally, we also got to see the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Le Petit Prince,” another iteration of IWC’s popular homages to the children’s book Le Petit Prince.
Beyond the obvious omissions of the exotic alligator strap and the altimeter-style date window – both of which polarized fans – there’s a lot to like about the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII. But first and foremost is probably how it feels more like a traditional pilot watch, in what appears to be the result of an exercise in pure restraint on IWC’s part.
Where you do, however, find a leather strap is on the limited edition IWC Pilot’s series cheap fake watch Mark XVIII “Le Petit Prince” version which has a beautiful blue face and comes on a brown Santoni calfskin strap. I’m not going to get too much into the history of the “Le Petit Prince” watches . but they are limited edition versions of IWC Pilot’s Watches inspired by author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
When it comes to “traditional” Swiss watches, restraint comes in many shapes and forms, but it’s made most immediately apparent here with how well proportioned the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII’s 40mm-wide and 11mm-thick case feels on the wrist. IWC designers only scaled back the dimensions by a single millimeter from the XVII, but it’s a minute difference that even Goldilocks would agree feels “just right.” And since pilot watches traditionally wear a few hairs larger than their specs belie, due to greater dial real estate in the absence of a rotating bezel – a single millimeter or two can make or break the overall wearability of the leather strap IWC copy watches.