Last year IWC Schaffhausen unveiled its 15th special edition for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation with a watch taken from its popular Pilot’s watch collection. The straightforward time-and-date pilot’s model marked the occasion by flying the colours of the charitable organisation, which advocates sport as a means of transforming children and young people’s lives. Following in the footsteps of watches like the Portugieser Monopusher Chronograph and the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase, the Pilot’s Watch of 2021 is decked out in the trademark dark blue colour of the foundation. However, instead of just producing a blue dial, the brand went one step further and produced the first blue ceramic case for its Laureus special editions. With its relatively compact dimensions, resilient ceramic shell, instrumental and legible pilot’s dial coupled with a five-day power reserve, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic “Laureus Sport for Good” IW328101 is a perfect daily beater with IWC’s bona fide pilot watch credentials.
A good cause
The Laureus Sport for Good is a global organisation that believes in the transformative power of sport to empower and transform the lives of children and young people. Under the patronage of Nelson Mandela to “use sport as a powerful and cost-effective tool to help children and young people overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage in their lives”, Laureus Sport for Good was founded in 2000 by Richemont and Daimler. Through their respective brands – Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen – the organisation supports cover 250 sports programmes in more than 50 countries and has helped change the lives of more than six million children. IWC, which has been a partner of Laureus since 2006, not only produces special edition timepieces to promote the charity but also holds an annual drawing competition. The winner of the 2021 edition was 12-year-old Melissa Mejía Castilla from Colombia, whose drawing was engraved on the caseback of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Edition “Laureus Sport for Good” reference IW328101.
For those of you who shy away from the dimensions of the classic Big Pilot Watch (43mm or 46.5mm inspired by the original Big PIlot’s watch of 55mm of 1940) but love the emblematic pilot’s watch features, the mid-size 41mm Pilot’s watch is a great alternative. Sharing case dimensions with the automatic ceramic Top Gun model, the case has a diameter of 41mm and a height of 11.4mm. A screw-down crown and sealed caseback ensure the water-resistance of 100m.
IWC is no newcomer to ceramic cases, and its Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph of 1986, reference 3755, was housed in a white ceramic case. Ceramic cases offer their wearer many advantages: they are essentially scratchproof, fadeproof and harder but lighter than steel. Conversely, they are tough to manufacture and can shatter if dropped. The dark blue matte ceramic case of this watch is the result of a complex manufacturing process in which a mixture of powdered zirconium oxide and metallic oxides is shaped and then sintered in a furnace. The agreeable texture and touch of ceramic and its resilience to scratches and fading are other factors to take into consideration for a daily beater. As with other models of IWC, a ceramic crown is not an option, hence the stainless steel crown featured on this model, whose byword is most definitely “instrumental.”
The dial is the paragon of a pilot’s watch inspired by the instrumental design of IWC’s aviator watches from the 1930s and 1940s. The high contrast dial with its dark blue background and large white luminescent Arabic numerals is the definition of legibility with its triangle with two dots at noon and a minutes track spanning the perimeter with thicker five-minute blocks. Like the numerals, the black propeller-shaped hands are also treated with white Super-LumiNova and the central seconds hand features a red tip, accentuating its position on the minutes/seconds track. There is also a date window at 3 o’clock with a white background. I’m not sure why IWC didn’t settle for a more homogenous look with a blue background on the date window, like the Top Gun model, but that’s a question only the designers can answer. A convex sapphire glass with an anti-reflective coating on both sides protects the dial and, like all IWC’s pilot watches, is secured against displacement by a drop in air pressure.
Robust 5-day Movement
Beneath the sealed titanium caseback engraved with the winning design of the drawing competition is the IWC 3211 automatic movement. It is not a manufacture movement and is produced by parent company ValFleurier. With its improved barrel construction, the mainspring can deliver an impressive power reserve of five days and the movement is protected from magnetic fields by its soft-iron inner cage.
Availability and Price
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Edition “Laureus Sport for Good” IW328101 is limited to 750 pieces. It is matched with a blue rubber strap with a textile lining and a pin buckle. The retail price is EUR 6,800.
For more information, please visit IWC.com.