Monochrome Watches
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IWC Quietly Launches The New Pilot’s Watch Mark XX

The much loved, classis Pilot's Watch gets updated in several key areas, including a new engine.

| By Robin Nooy | 4 min read |

Seemingly from out of nowhere, or at least with very little communication, IWC has launched a new Mark model. The new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX, skipping the Mark XIX in the process, by the way, is the brand’s latest edition in the iconic range of aviation-themed watches. It’s not the first time such a quiet release is done (remember a certain Omega?) so imagine our surprise this morning when we first spotted it. Naturally, being MONOCHROME Watches, we’ve done some digging and give the most important details at this latest rendition of the classic pilot’s watch design by IWC. And as ever, there’s a bit more than first meets the eye with the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX.

Going through the spec-sheet of the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX reveals touch-ups in areas beyond just the design. We see new proportions, an updated dial, new colours, new mechanics and more. This sets it apart from the still available Mark XVIII, which was introduced six years ago. This watch has always had a strong fanbase, even though it was met with a little criticism towards the positioning and legibility of the date window. This seems to be a never-ending discussion though (too small, too close or too far from the hour marker, colour-matched or not, etc) so it’s likely the new Mark XX will see the same feedback. Even though, thanks to some very subtle touch-ups, it seems slightly more balanced on paper. We’ll have to wait for a hands-on to put down a final verdict, however.

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As mentioned, the updates are subtle in some areas but can have quite a big impact nevertheless. The case retains its 40mm diameter but is trimmed down to 10.8mm (the Mark XVIII comes in at 11mm respectively). This does not seem like much but together with a redesign of the case’s profile and lugs, resulting in a small lug-to-lug distance and likely a better fit on the wrist. Again pitting it against the Mark XVIII the lug-to-lug distance is reduced from 51mm to 49.2mm. Still substantial, but it might win over some enthusiasts who felt the case of the Mark XVIII wore too large. The finishing is simple yet effective, with brushed and polished surfaces. We still find a soft-iron inner case to protect the movement from magnetic forces, but what’s good is the fact that IWC boosted the water-resistance from 60m to 100m.

The dial comes in either classical matte black or a more contemporary sunray-brushed blue finish (even though blue is a staple colour for IWC’s Pilot’s Watch collections of course). The updated design leads to a more legible dial, even though this was never a big issue with the Mark-series. The numerals are still printed in white but surrounded with retouched hour and minute markings on the outer track. The hour indices are not slightly longer compared to the minute markings if compared to the Mark XVIII. The date disc underneath the dial is now white, with black digits, aiding legibility. These small changes to the dial make it seem like the date window is repositioned, which is quite unlikely in reality. The central hour and minute hands are now silver, instead of black, and filled with Super-LumiNova. The central seconds hand remains fully white.

One of the biggest updates is obscured from view by the closed caseback. The new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX comes with the Calibre 32111, an automatic movement by ValFleurier. Where the Mark XVIII provided a basic 42 hours of running time, the Mark XX is bumped to a whopping 120 hours, or five days, of autonomy. It uses 21 jewels and runs at a rate of 28,800vph. Previously it has been used in the 2021 Pilot’s Watch Automatic Edition Laureus Blue Ceramic and the uber-impressive Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL.

The new IWC Mark XX is worn on a black or blue leather pilot-style strap with matching (black on black) or contrasting stitching (white on blue). Each one is fitted to a signed stainless steel pin buckle and comes with IWC’s EasX-Change integrated quick-release system. The black or blue IWC Mark XX retail for EUR 5,500 and are readily available as of now.

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19 responses

  1. I own an XVIII, it is my favourite watch and I wear it both on strap and the OEM bracelet. I love the obscure date window which dow not harm at all the excellent dial simplicity.
    Vs XX?
    Obviously the better power reserve and the shorter L2L are huge pluses, but I can live with it.
    Still not available bracelet and the new date window are minus points.
    I really do not mind having it on an ETA based movement, since I could go to any watchmaker of my choice (I live in a town with no IWC dealer) and regulate it; I have done it actually for 10€, receipt in 2 hrs.

    Where is the new Aquatimer IWC? Portugieser line, check; Pilot line more than check. Aquatimer? A bit smaller than the actual one?

  2. The Fliegeruhr is a direct descendent of the famous Mk XI and as such deserves a special place in the IWC collection. IMO, in terms of history and track record it’s comparable to the Speedmaster and Submariner. One of the hallmarks of the classic Fliegeruhr has been its no-nonsense design. It’s a device to tell the time, anytime, anywhere.
    IMO IWC missed an opportunity to fix some of the design issues of the previous iteration, most importantly the date window. One could argue that such a watch does not need a date at all. But, if it were to be included, it should be done appropriately. When you draw a circle around the outer perimeter of the numbers and the triangle at 12, you will see that the position of the date window is ‘wrong’. It should have been positioned a couple of millimeters to the right. This is hard to justify given the fact that this watch uses an in-house movement.

  3. The date window ruins the watch. First, it is not necessary. Second, it is poorly done. The disc does not match and it not close enough to the periphery to close the arc created by the arabic numerals. Surprising oversight given that XX is now powered by an in house caliber.

  4. I’m in the “the white date wheel ruins it” camp here.

    For what it’s worth, the statement: “[…]the Mark XVIII already had a healthy 72 hours of running time” is a bit inaccurate. Well, half-accurate. The Spitfire version indeed has a partly in-house movement built on a 2892/SW-300 baseplate (and that’s about the only thing it has in common with the 2892), but the basic Mark XVIII still has a Sellita SW-300 aka IWC 35111, with a 42-hour power reserve.

  5. Date window should have been kept black and moved to the right to correspond symetrically with the numerals. That, and IWC should go back to the baton hands. The manufacture movement is a huge plus but still not enough for me to go out and purchase one. Maybe, I am just too damn picky.

  6. I can’t ‘ unsee ‘ that out of position datewheel ……

  7. Mark XV got it all right, including date window position, smaller lug to lug and bracelet option. PR is at the lower end though and the new inhouse movement is a great development.

  8. Longines spirit is a very good alternative and less then half the price

  9. Not sure why the fuss on the date window. IWC is not trying Moser or Ming.

  10. “Quietly” as in hoping nobody will notice they still havent fixed the date window position? So when do we get a no date with proper old style hands or a properly integrated date wheel…

  11. @Spencer tan – the only ‘dumb’ thing here’s is that date window, and not the comments of people posting on this forum.

  12. perfect watch imo, when you wear an iwc you know you are wearing a special watch, the date window is fine. I’ll be buying it, hope they also release a green dial.

  13. Still a Nazi warplane on the caseback? Still poor lume? Still a dubious IWC quick release strap? Still fleiger style hands on a watch designed without them? Still too big? Still twice the price of a Longines Spirit? Huh, why no fanfare?

  14. Thanks for pointing this out, @JamesH. Indeed, the caseback shows the silhouette of the J52. This does not make any sense at all. The Ju is a pre-war design that was extensively used by the Nazi-Luftwaffe, the IWC Mark XI is a post-war watch that was extensively used by the UK Royal Air Force. Totally weird.

  15. @Imran … thanks for pointing this out. that of course will change everything … 😉

  16. When IWC will bring this XX with a no-date dial… I will buy it in a second


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