Did you know that IWC has released a new pilot watch model? No, not this specific release. A few months ago, without notice, the Schaffhausen brand released the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX, an upgrade from the still-available Mark XVIII. That initial stealth drop showed only two variants: a black dial and a blue dial, both with matching leather straps. It almost seems like a stuttering phase, because here we are, less than six months away, and the brand is announcing the “completion” of the Mark XX collection. To round things off, they added a green dial and bracelet option for all six variants. Now that we have the full collection, though, it’s worth taking a closer look at what it is and how it builds on past marque watches.
The new IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX comes in three colors: Classic Matte Black, Sunburst Green and Sunburst Blue. The dial of the Mark series has always been about simplicity: in keeping with the spirit of the pilot’s watch as a tool for those who actually fly, clarity is the only priority. The Mark XX sees minor tweaks in this direction. The dial is still printed in white, but the cardinal indices have been elongated and the numerals moved slightly to make room for them. The handset remains the same with silver hands filled with Super-LumiNova. The date window no longer matches the color (on the black dial model), which is a shame, but not a big problem as the white of the date wheel doesn’t stand out because the dial is so white.
The 40mm case has also seen some minor tweaks. Lugs have been shortened from 51mm to 49.2mm and thickness has been reduced from 11mm to 10.8mm. The case is brushed across, save a sliver of a chamfer along the bezel and lugs. Another change is that the crown has increased in size, which improves its operation. Furthermore, the water resistance has been increased from 60m to 100m, which makes for a bit more comfort and an official go-anywhere, do-anything look. The Mark XX’s new dimensions make it feel a bit more prominent on the wrist, given its shorter lug-t0-lug, which makes this case a little more bulky. The watch is offered on a leather strap (black and blue to match the dial, comes with a green brown strap) or a 5-link bracelet with a combination of polishing and brushing fitted with a push-button folding clasp.
The two biggest changes are hidden on the wrist. The first is a completely new, in-house movement, the IWC 32111 caliber. The main upgrade here is the 120-hour power reserve, tripled over the Cellita-based 35111 found in the Mark XVIII. It maintains 28,800 vph, adds a Côtes de Genève and perlage finish, and reduces the number of jewels required from 25 to 21. Other updates include strap and bracelet options. Notably, they all feature IWC’s EasX-Change quick-change system, which allows the strap or bracelet to connect to any compatible springbars with a simple push of a tab. To boot, the pin buckle on the straps can be swapped between compatible straps. It’s an interesting take on the increasingly popular proprietary strap-changing system, which usually attaches a springbar to a strap or bracelet, and as mentioned, it’s compatible with any watch fitted with the correct springbars.
If we’re being honest, this is an evolution of the Mark series, welcome. It sees the introduction of a new movement, the integration of IWC’s proprietary strap changing system and some tweaks to the dial and case. For those who have always loved IWC pilot watches, the Mark XX and its six options are a no-brainer. For those waiting to snag one of the Mark series watches, the Mark XX is technically the best ever made. However, for those who thought the collection was too bland, this new series is unlikely to change your feelings. IWC Pilot Watch Mark XX Price $5,250 on leather And $6,150 on the bracelet (For those on track, that’s between $600 and $750 more than their predecessors). For more information, please visit Brand’s website.