For this 2016 edition of the SIHH, the entire Pilot’s Watch collection of IWC is about to be renewed, with first some highly cool vintage inspired editions but also the classics: the Big Pilot’s Watch and the new Mark XVIII for instance. However, IWC isn’t just about to refresh some known models but they are also about to launch a brand new watch, which certainly is one of the most practical ever, as combining a chronograph and a world-timer, which permits the user to set a new time zone using just the bezel. Not the purest edition of them all for sure, but still a real novelty to discover now. Here is the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph IW395001.
In terms of pilot watches, what are the needs: a superb legibility (in order to spot in a wink, whether during the day or at night-time, the required indication), the ability to make speed or consumption calculation (and thus a chronograph has a lot of sense) and the ability to know the time it is in the country you’re crossing when flying (and here, what could be better than a world-timer). Thinking about these 2 complications reunited and you’ll probably have the ultimate pilot’s watch… At least, that’s what the folks at IWC imagined (and we won’t blame them, as we would have imagine a similar combination of complications). The result is a rather massive and complicated watch, that however answers the need of the real pilots.
Using the typical pilot’s watch codes (matte black dial, large hands and numerals, constructing white or red tips to help readability), the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph IW395001 adds to the cocktail several interesting features. The first one is the chronograph, based on the classical (and in-house) IWC layout: 2 sub-counters, one at 6 with a running second and one at 12 with the elapsed hours and minutes – sub-dial that must be read like a normal watch, making it quite practical and user-friendly. Then, this chronograph has a flyback feature, which allows to make several calculations in a row – as the reset of the chronograph is made by only pressing the pusher at 4 once. Again, a practical feature for a pilot’s watch. This comes from the calibre 89760, a self-winding movement with column-wheel that boasts 68h of power reserve (a movement based on the classical IWC chronograph movement, which we already seen in the Portuguese).
The main novelty of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph IW395001 is the time-zone complication – but not only. IWC is the first to offer a watch that enables the user to set another time zone, together with the date and 24-hour hand, in a single action: press, rotate and release. All you need to do is push the bezel down, turn it to the desired time zone and release. It’s as simple as that. The watch movement and the advance of the minute hand, however, are not affected, which has the advantage that the watch shows the correct time even after repeated functional tests.
The sprung rotating bezel concept was rst used for the Porsche Design Ocean 2000 in the 1980s. It ensures that the bezel rotates only when pushed down and is thus protected against inadvertent rotation. The system of an external/internal rotating bezel was also re-introduced on the actual Aquatimer Family (launched in 2014). Now, on the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph, the bezel is even linked to gear train, inside the movement of the watch. Rotating the city ring advances or turns back the white hour hand in one-hour steps and shows the time in the desired time zone. At the same time, the black- and-red 24-hour hand on the inner 24-hour ring shows whether it is night or day. Finally, should you cross the International Date Line, the date also advances or reverts by one day, depending on the direction in which the bezel moves. Finally, the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph also shows cities which recognize summer time. The rotating bezel has a small “S” to indicate the names of cities that recognize summer time, such as London and New York.
The rest of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph IW395001 is faithful to the rest of the Pilot’s Watch collection: a large 45mm case in stainless steel, with plain caseback engraved with a Junkers Ju 52 airplane and a black calfskin strap. The dial shows large propeller-like hands (filled with luminous material) and huge Arabic numerals contrasting on the matte black background. For sure, the dial looks a bit busy but considering the number of complications, it ain’t that bad. And do think of all you can do with such a watch if you’re a proper pilot – or just an aficionado in the need of a complex and innovative pilot’s watch.