IWC Schaffhausen launches its new Pilot’s Watches collection this year with stunning references. The historic ‘product family’ has been updated with innovative materials, practical functionality and in-house movements. In many ways, IWC has come full circle with this exciting new line. Every year, IWC Schaffhausen sets up an impressive stand at the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie, welcoming the world press and celebrities from around the globe. This year was no exception. Featuring a real flight simulator, the stand’s setup was also decked out with every detail echoing the world of pilots, from an aircrew cabin with uniforms to leather chairs outfitted with in-flight seat belts. IWC Schaffhausen Senior Product Managers André Hausler and Enrico Domhardt spoke to us about the joys and challenges of reaching a new level with the Pilot’s Watches collection.
In Schaffhausen, during the early 20th century, the Homberger family’s passion for aviation led to the creation of IWC’s Special Pilot’s Watch in 1936, equipped with a wristwatch movement that measured flight time. Mr. Domhardt said that IWC went on to continue manufacturing watches for pilots in the 1940s. Today, luxury consumers appreciate pilot’s watches, which are worn by ‘normal’ people who like the legibility characteristic of these timepieces.
Domhardt and Hausler showed us the new collection this year with three new references in the Top Gun line, which includes two Miramars featuring in-house movements. The new Spitfire collection also has IWC-manufactured movements, and is more sophisticated than ever with a comfortable new bracelet that can be adjusted – one millimetre at a time with the press of a button, for up to six millimetres. The perpetual calendar, which used a limited edition piece, is now a permanent item. The Worldtimer is a brand new addition and can be easily adjusted to display different time zones. The new Pilot’s Watches collection not only offers more choices, it also features new materials like ceramic and titanium.
Hausler said that the greatest challenge was to put everything together as a complete and consistent collection, taking the time to improve each reference. The ceramic alone took weeks to source, for example, as IWC Schaffhausen wanted something that was unique but not too shiny. Researching and developing every detail means that two or three years would have passed before a collection is ready for marketing, Hausler explained.
He also pointed out that the Pilot’s Watches are created with everyone in mind. With such a great selection of sizes, materials and movements to choose from, watch lovers will find something they like, from the entry level Mark 17 to the grand complication Digital Perpetual Calendar.
Watch trends come and go; Domhardt and Hausler emphasized that IWC Schaffhausen does not run after passing fashion. While it does observe the world markets and changing tastes, its six well-established and highly regarded collections have proven over the past decades that they perfectly meet the needs of today’s luxury goods consumers and collectors.