To some, IWC’s “Mark” series is the embodiment of a proper pilot’s watch. First introduced as the Mark XI back in 1948 and intended for use by RAF pilots, it was built to the British Ministry of Defence’s standards for legibility, magnetic resistance and accuracy. The model line has evolved over the years, and though in the past couple decades it strayed from the original watch’s ethos of simplicity, the latest edition, the Mark XVIII, has been seen as a return to form. Now, IWC is bringing the model even closer to its roots with this vintage-style iteration, inspired by the original Mark XI.
The new “Tribute to Mark XI” keeps a lot of the same specs as the Mark XVIII. It has the same 40mm case, and it has a soft iron, anti-magnetic internal Faraday cage protecting its automatic movement. But it’s the dial where the nods to the Mark XI can be seen: IWC swapped out the standard watch’s hands for ones that look exactly like the Mark XI’s. It also has a beige-colored lume that mimics faded tritium lume (the kind you’d see on any tool watch from the Mark XI’s era) at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The leather strap has also been swapped out for a military-inspired nylon NATO.
IWC is making this is a limited-edition piece; only 1,948 examples are going to be produced. The watch will be available for $4,150 and will be made available exclusively through Harrods of London for three months starting in July, followed by IWC boutiques and authorized dealers afterward.