Ever since IWC engineered the first Pilot’s Watch 85 years ago, the company has fostered an in-depth dialogue with pilots to precisely understand their specific needs and requirements. This exchange has been particularly crucial for developing the brand’s mil-spec service watches, like the Mark 11 for the British Royal Air Force.
Today, IWC continues this dialogue within the frame of its military program, which emerged from the brand’s partnership with the U.S. Navy. Since 2018, IWC is licensed to work on watches for the entire U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviation units, including Blue Angels and the 247 active and 100 inactive squadrons. IWC has since collaborated with more than a dozen squadrons to create special editions that are exclusively available to present and former members.
Now, IWC releases three new chronographs in its Pilot’s Watches collection, which are directly inspired by the brand’s collaborations with U.S. Navy squadrons, marking the first time these designs are available to nonpilots. The annual production of these chronographs will be limited to 500 pieces each.
The new ceramic models are directly inspired by timepieces that the brand created in the context of its military programme in collaboration with selected squadrons of the U.S. Navy. The Pilot’s Watches Chronograph Editions “Royal Maces”, “Tophatters”, and “Blue Angels” all feature the respective squadron patch on the dial and eye-catching details in the corresponding unit’s colour scheme.
Here’s what each of the new IWC Pilot’s Watches brings to the table in terms of style, quality, and precision.
(Images: IWC Schaffhausen)
Strike Fighter Squadron 27, known as the “Royal Maces”, is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan and forms part of Carrier Air Wing 5. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Royal Maces” (Ref. IW389107) is inspired by the military-exclusive edition IWC has developed with members of the squadron.
Featuring a black zirconium oxide ceramic case, the pushers and the crown are made of Ceratanium. The dial features the “Maces” patch at 6 o’clock and also has a yellow day-date indication. Each model features yellow stitching on the strap with the tip of the chronograph seconds hand and the small seconds sporting details in the signature “Maces” colour.
The case back is made of grade 5 titanium and features an engraving of the squadron’s F/A-18E Super Hornet jet next to the official squadron denomination “VFA-27”.
Naval Air Station Lemoore in California is the home base of The Strike Fighter Squadron 14, nicknamed “Tophatters”. Having formed in 1919, VFA-14 is the Navy’s oldest active squadron. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tophatters” (Ref. IW389108) has a case made of black zirconium oxide ceramic.
The chronograph pushers and the crown are manufactured Ceratanium. Developed by IWC, this material is as light and robust as titanium and at the same time similarly hard and scratch-resistant like ceramic.
The squadron’s patch with the classic top hat can be found at 6 o’clock on the dial and engraved on the titanium case back. The day-date display, the tip of the chronograph seconds hand, the small seconds and the stitching on the black calfskin strap add more details in the squadron’s characteristic red.
Established in 1946, the “Blue Angels®” U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron is currently made up of 141 members from the Navy and Marines. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Blue Angels” (Ref. IW389109) is the third timepiece to emerge from IWC’s license agreement.
Inspired by the military exclusive watch developed with Blue Angels members in Pensacola, the chronograph features a blue ceramic case. The bright blue colour is the result of mixing zirconium oxide with other metallic oxides.
Here, too, the chronograph pushers and the crown are made of IWC-developed Ceratanium. The iconic “Blue Angels®” crest with the U.S. Navy Wings of Gold is at 6 o’clock on the dial; the characteristic lettering is engraved on the titanium case back. Yellow details are provided by the chronograph seconds hand, the small seconds and the day-date display at 3 o’clock. This watch is fitted with a blue rubber strap with textile inlay.