IWC’s New, Smaller Pilot’s Watches

A return to smaller watches with refined details

For almost 150 years now, IWC Schaffhausen has produced some of the most popular and well-received Swiss-made watches. Over the last few years, and simultaneous with a global consumer trend toward bigger-is-better, IWC began producing timepieces with larger cases—some of which referenced the larger-cased watches from their heritage. In fact, their original Pilot’s watches from the ’30s and ’40s (built for the military) were 55mm in diameter. At SIHH in Geneva this year, however, IWC debuted several new watches in their Pilot’s line that feature smaller cases. IWC hasn’t been the only brand to embrace large watches, most have, but this hint at a migration toward smaller is a breath of fresh air for anyone who wants to wear something more modest, but just as creative.

The collection does sport some fanciful large pieces coupled with advanced complications, like the Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch, which draws direct inspiration from the brand’s Big Pilot’s Watch of 1940. For travelers, the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph allows for a timezone shift with a mere twist of the bezel—a first. However, at CH we found the real standout to be the debut of the smallest watch in the manufacturer’s current collection: the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 (reference 3240). At 36mm in diameter it’s a simple, handsome and wearable watch, and is available in stainless steel with three dials—black with white numbers, white with gold numbers, and white with blue numbers (our favorite). Other new styles like the Mark VIII drop a mm in size, the Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN shrinks to a still large 46mm, and the Big Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN shrinks to 46mm.

We’ve always appreciated the “Le Petit Prince” and “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry” editions (introduced back in 2006). 2016 brings three of the beautiful blue Le Petit Prince editions and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry iterations feature a rich brown dial with calfskin straps and contrast cream colored seams. All of these styles feature special backs, too.

The new Pilot’s watch collection will be available at IWC boutiques and authorized retailers worldwide starting in April 2016.

Images courtesy of IWC