IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph: Stopwatch of the Skies
IWC Schaffhausen unites the looks of a pilot's watch with the functionality of a stopwatch in the Pilot's Watch Chronograph series. It includes everything from stainless steel watches to limited editions with a perpetual calendar and rose gold case.
5 Reasons to Buy a Pilot’s Watch Chronograph
- A legendary pilot's watch with a stopwatch function
- Numerous models in stainless steel, gold, bronze, or ceramic
- Spitfire and Top Gun models with in-house calibers
- Limited Le Petit Prince edition with a perpetual calendar
- Double chronographs with a split-seconds hand function
A Modern Chronograph in a Classic Case
Pilot's watches are an integral part of the IWC Schaffhausen catalog. This Swiss luxury watch manufacturer's massive Pilot's Watches collection also includes a line of chronographs. Despite their additional displays, they are just as easy to read as their three-hand sister models.
Their clean design originated in the 1940s and is known as "Baumuster A" (Type A). Its luminous indices, Arabic numerals, and sword hands all contrast brightly against the dark dial. A pilot's triangle at 12 o'clock is yet another characteristic detail of these timepieces.
All these same features appear on the chronographs, joined by a day-date display, counters for the minutes and hours, and a small seconds dial. Optimal readability remains IWC's top priority for these watches, so they've made sure every addition fits in seamlessly to the rest of the design.
Each Pilot's Watch Chronograph is protected against potentially damaging magnetic fields by an inner cage of soft iron. However, this comes at the cost of a see-through case back. In exchange, every case back features an engraving of a famous aircraft, such as the Ju-52, the Spitfire, or the P-38. Case sizes range from 41 to 45 mm depending on the model. Most are made of stainless steel, though some models come in gold, bronze, or ceramic.
How much does a Pilot's Watch Chronograph cost?
|Pilot's Watch Chronograph Perpetual Calendar||38,300 USD||89630 (in-house)||Rose gold|
|Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Mojave Desert||9,100 USD||69380 (in-house)||Ceramic|
|Pilot's Watch Timezoner Chronograph||10,000 USD||89760 (in-house)||Stainless steel|
|Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire||6,250 USD||69380 (in-house)||Bronze|
|Pilot's Watch Chronograph Le Petit Prince||5,500 USD||79320 (base caliber SW500)||Stainless steel|
|Pilot's Watch Chronograph||4,600 USD||79320 (base caliber SW500)||Stainless steel|
Detailed Price and Model Information: Entry-Level Watches
The Pilot's Watch Chronograph Classic is currently the most affordable IWC pilot's chronograph. This 43-mm stainless steel timepiece is powered by the Sellita caliber SW500 and has a classic black dial with white hands and markings. A bright red small seconds hand at 9 o'clock is the only splash of color. The minute and hour counters sit at 6 and 12 o'clock, respectively. Plan to spend around 4,600 USD for this watch on a calf leather strap. Pre-owned pieces cost about 450 USD less. If you'd prefer a stainless steel bracelet, those prices climb to 5,300 and 4,700 USD. Older models often sell for as little as 3,300 USD.
The chronographs of the Le Petit Prince and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry series are much more colorful. In terms of case and technology, these watches are identical to the other chronographs in the Classic series; however, their dials are much different. The dial of the Pilot's Watch Chronograph Le Petit Prince shimmers in a blue sunburst pattern, while the Pilot's Watch Chronograph Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has a tobacco brown sunburst dial. The former demands between 3,800 and 4,700 USD depending on its condition. A mint-condition Le Petit Prince with a stopwatch function costs about 4,800 USD on a leather strap. The same timepiece changes hands for 4,300 USD pre-owned. Prices for models on a stainless steel bracelet range from 4,300 to 5,500 USD.
The Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire represents a fourth color option with its graphite-gray radial dial. It is also made of stainless steel, 43 mm in diameter, and uses the SW500. Be sure to set aside around 5,300 USD for a never-worn timepiece. Pre-owned examples cost slightly less at about 4,700 USD.
The In-House Caliber 69380 in Stainless Steel or Bronze
IWC added some new members to the Pilot's Watch Chronograph family at SIHH 2019. This includes the 41-mm Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire. It is available in stainless steel with a black dial or with a bronze case and an attractive green dial. The automatic in-house caliber 69380 ticks away inside this timepiece and provides it with its 46-hour power reserve. You can easily recognize watches with this movement by the layout of their subdials: The chronograph minute and hour counters are located at 9 and 12 o'clock, while the small seconds dial sits at 6. Depending on the model, list prices for this watch range from 5,700 to 6,250 USD.
The Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Mojave Desert also houses the in-house caliber 69380 in its 44.5-mm sand-colored ceramic case. Its dial shimmers in brown earth tones with contrasting beige hands, numerals, and indices. This watch is limited to a run of 500 pieces and has a list price of 9,100 USD. You can save a solid 2,200 USD by purchasing the version with a black ceramic case. Other than its color scheme, this timepiece is identical to its limited edition sister model. Their predecessor, the Top Gun Chronograph with the Valjoux caliber 7750, costs another 2,100 USD less.
A Double Chronograph, Moon Phase, and Perpetual Calendar
IWC also offers the Pilot's Watch Chronograph with a wider range of functions. For example, Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Top Gun are all available as a double chronograph, meaning they can measure intervals. This is made possible by a special module added to the SW500 base caliber. The additional push-piece at 10 o'clock makes these watches unmistakable. Earlier, well-maintained models cost between 8,100 and 10,000 USD. The current Double Chronograph Top Gun requires an investment of some 16,500 USD.
The Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Le Petit Prince is especially refined and complicated. Its 43-mm case in 18-karat rose gold contains the in-house caliber 89630 . This movement boasts a flyback chronograph, perpetual calendar, moon phase display, and 68-hour power reserve. A sapphire glass case back offers a view of the movement and its stunning finishes. You can call this watch your own for 38,300 USD.
The Pilot's Watch Timezoner Chronograph is yet another pilot's chronograph with a practical function. A rotatable bezel sits atop its 46-mm stainless steel case and makes it easy to switch between 24 different time zones. You'll always be able to tell if it's night or day in the current time zone thanks to an extra 24-hour display. The in-house caliber 89760 also lends this chronograph a flyback function. A Timezoner Chronograph demands around 10,000 USD in mint condition and 8,500 USD pre-owned.