Out of nowhere, or at least with very little communication, IWC launched a new marque model. The new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX is the brand’s latest edition to its iconic line of aviation-themed watches, superseding the Mark XIX in the process. It’s not the first time it’s been released this quietly (remember a certain Omega?) so it was a surprise when we first saw it this morning. Naturally, being monochrome watches, we did some digging and brought out the most important details in this latest rendition of the classic pilot watch design by IWC. And as always, there’s a little more to the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX than meets the eye.
A look at the spec-sheet of the new IWC Pilot Watch Mark XX reveals touch-ups in areas beyond design. We see new proportions, an updated dial, new colors, new mechanics and more. This differentiates it from the still-available Mark XVIII, which was introduced six years ago. The watch has always had a strong fan base, despite some criticism for the positioning and clarity of the date window. This seems to be a never-ending debate (too small, too close or too far to the hour marker, color matching or etc.) so the new Mark XX is likely to see the same opinion. However, thanks to some very subtle touch-ups, it feels a little more balanced on paper. However, we will have to wait for an experiment to give a final verdict.
As mentioned, the updates are subtle in some areas, but still have a big impact. The case retains its 40mm diameter but has been reduced to 10.8mm (the Mark XVIII comes in at 11mm respectively). It doesn’t look like much but combined with the profile of the case and the redesign of the lugs, this results in a smaller lug-to-lug distance and a better fit on the wrist. Re-pitched against the Mark XVIII, the lug-to-lug distance is reduced from 51 mm to 49.2 mm. Still substantial, but the Mark XVIII may win over some enthusiasts who thought the case was too big. Finishing with brushed and polished surfaces is simple yet effective. We still find the soft-iron inner case to protect the movement from magnetic forces, but IWC would do well to increase the water-resistance from 60m to 100m.
The dial comes in either a classical matte black or a more contemporary sunray-brushed blue finish (although blue is the predominant color for IWC pilot watch collections). While this wasn’t a major issue with the Mark-series, the updated design leads to a more legible dial. The numerals are still printed in white, but are surrounded by retouched hour and minute markers on the outer track. Compared to the Mark XVIII, the hour markers are slightly shorter than the minute markers. The date disc under the dial is now white, with black numerals to aid legibility. These small changes to the dial make it look like the date window has changed, which is actually quite unlikely. The central hour and minute hands are now silver instead of black and filled with Super-LumiNova. The central second hand is completely white.
One of the biggest updates is obscured from view by the closed caseback. The new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX comes with caliber 32111, an automatic movement by ValFleurier. Where the Mark XVIII already had a healthy 72 hours of running time, the Mark XX has been bumped to 120 hours or five days of autonomy. It uses 21 jewels and runs at a speed of 28,800vph. Previously it was used in the 2021 Pilot Watch Automatic Edition Laurus Blue Ceramic and the uber-impressive Pilot Watch Shock Absorber XPL.
The new IWC Mark XX comes on a black or blue leather pilot-style strap with matching (black on black) or contrasting stitching (blue on white). Each is fitted with a signature stainless steel pin buckle and comes with IWC’s EasX-Change integrated quick-release system. Black or Blue IWC Mark XX Retail EUR 5,500 and are currently available.
For more information, please visit IWC.com