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.
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.
For more information, please visit IWC.com