IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On

IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

IWC has no shortage of aviation-related partnerships and associations, and the blue Le Petit Prince models are some of their more recognizable special editions. However, also in collaboration with the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, IWC released the tobacco brown-dialed IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition "Antoine De Saint Exupéry" watch to honor the author of The Little Prince. Instantly recognizable as an IWC Pilot's watch but with a subdued twist, it's also the only rattrapante, aka double chronograph, in the pilot's watch line, which gives it a lot of watchnerd points. Thankfully, this watch also abandons the triple date window that was discarded last year, opting for a day/date indicator.

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

The IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition "Antoine De Saint Exupéry" borrows from IWC’s refreshed foundational pilot chronograph design. The traditional sub-dial layout used here is similar to that of the standard Pilot's Watch chronograph pieces, though with hands and numerals done in the more formal font used for these limited edition pieces. This watch is slightly bigger as well, at 44mm wide. On the case back you'll see the Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft that Saint-Exupéry flew on his last mission in 1944. Also, forgive us for the lack of a photo of the case back but the image above should give a good idea of it.

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

The Caliber 79420 beating within is built upon the ETA/Valjoux 7750. With the added regulator with a triovis micro-adjustment, custom winding rotor, and (obviously) the proprietary IWC rattrapante chronograph system packed in with high levels of unique finishing, it's exactly what you'd expect from IWC. Personally, modified movements never bothered me, and it doesn't take much to realize that a split-second chronograph conversion such as this isn't exactly a simple "plug in and play" undertaking. Additionally, it gives you everything you'd expect out of a precision instrument like 44 hours of power reserve, a running seconds display, and sub-dials that serve as 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph indicators.

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

By the way, for anyone who doesn't know exactly how a split seconds chronograph works, the watch features two chronograph hands as opposed to one. Both hands start simultaneously when the chronograph is activated, but the pusher at 10 o'clock stops just the second chronograph hand. Pushing this again moves the second chronograph hand to immediately synch up with the first one. Functionally, the split seconds chronograph allows you to measure two events.

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

The big, bold numerals, broadsword-styled hands, and generous application of Super-LumiNova are just some of the elements that make for the kind of quick reference legibility you'd want out of a contemporary pilot's watch. The seconds hands for the chronograph feature are sleek and unobtrusive when not in use. A nice touch to note is the fact that one of the rattrapante seconds hands is finished with a red tip to help the user differentiate the hands while using the split-second functions. The only feature I might have left out is the day/date indicator, but I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to no-date dials, I must admit, and fully realize that this is a feature many consumers demand.

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

I was glad to find that the case diameter for this watch was a calming 44mm, the same as its Le Petit Prince model sibling (which still is saddled with the triple date window). While I comfortably hover between 38mm - 42mm for most of my daily watches, I feel that 44mm wide cases can generally offer a pleasant experience for most individuals. Another stunning feature is the way the double-AR-coated sapphire crystal appears almost invisible over the pilot chronograph's high-contrast slate dial. This is a trait IWC is known for and something that's playfully accentuated by that blueish hue resulting from the AR coating that we know all too well.

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

Compared to the ornate elements you'd find on IWC's Le Petit Prince models, the tribute to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on this watch is quite subtle. Inside of the sub-dial at 6 o'clock, you'll find a single letter A. that is also a recurring theme in other Antoine de Saint-Exupéry watches within the IWC line. It's unobtrusive, tasteful, and is typically out of sight unless you really pay attention to it. Aside from the features outlined above, IWC also includes a soft iron cage under the hood, which serves to provide shock resistance and anti-magnetic shielding. There's also just one strap option, and that's the brown calfskin Santoni strap that looks beautiful.

IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition Antoine De Saint Exupéry Hands-On Hands-On

Overall, from a design standpoint, the IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition "Antoine De Saint Exupéry" is a success, in my opinion. It's far from exciting or revolutionary in any way, but it's a collector's piece and a prestige item for IWC, who certainly payed attention to the details. Just for some context, another 2016 release like the Sinn 910 Anniversary Limited Edition Split Second Chronograph serves up some pretty steep competition for IWC in terms of value but that's not what the buyer of this watch cares about. This model is limited to 1000 pieces, comes on a beautiful Santoni leather strap, and carries a price of $11,900. iwc.com

What do you think?
  • I want it! (4)
  • I love it! (1)
  • Thumbs up (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Word Merchant

    One out of 1000 i.e. IWC was too stingy to stamp each caseback individually.
    And why the Valjoux 7750? IWC make their own reasonably accurate movements in house already.
    And finally the price. No.
    Once again IWC manages to snatch defeat neatly from the jaws of victory.

  • If i had my druthers, I’d take the Petite Prince model before this one. The Prince is whimsical and unique, while this just looks like it’s trying its hardest to be a Breguet Type XXI 3817, which is wildly ironic because St.-Exupery actually flew a Breguet 14 while he was a pilot for L’Aeropostale.

    • TrevorXM

      At this price level you can buy a Breguet Transatlantique Type XXI and live out this fantasy much more realistically.

  • IG

    Poor Antoine de Saint-Exupéry must be rolling in his grave, he got only a 7750-based homage…

    • Chaz

      He also has his Big Pilot and a couple others with in-house motors. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised IWC hasn’t renamed their ENTIRE pilot line the “Exupéry Line”.

  • BNABOD

    size ..No
    price..hell No
    Dial looks nice, the 7750 is a bit of a let down at this price point but I am sure it is heavily modified to have the spit chrono feature. regardless it is tooooo big.
    I am really not comfortable with anything > 42 so this is out of my comfort zone.

  • SuperStrapper

    “…The Caliber 79420 beating within is built upon the ETA/Valjoux 7750. With the added regulator with a triovis micro-adjustment, custom winding rotor, and (obviously) the proprietary IWC rattrapante chronograph system …”

    “Is just an ETA! Derp”.

    Regardless, it just looks like a spitfire update.

  • TrevorXM

    You can sniff about how buyers of this watch don’t care about value, but you’re going to have to read about it a lot on the comment board. Handsome though not original, IWC again relies heavily on its loyal customers and wannabes who buy into the whole nonsense of their WW2 commercials and whatnot — and double the price accordingly. Considering the modifications and details and level of execution, this is a $5k watch at most. I like the split second feature, though I have no idea when I would ever use it in any meaningful way. It is a gimmick on an otherwise very practical and useful watch. That’s really the only significant difference between this and a Fortis Flieger Professional Chronograph. Those are $2400 US. And the Fortis has the B42 case which is probably better. Certainly it’s more historically significant with all its thousands of hours on space missions. So is this split second hand and an IWC logo really worth $9500 ??? Of course not.

  • arnemart

    I simply cannot unsee the way the text on the day and date discs don’t line up.

    • TrevorXM

      What — you’re not blinded by the IWC logo above? Focus on that instead.

  • WINKS

    “However, also in collaboration with the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, Zenith released the tobacco brown-dialed IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Antoine De Saint Exupéry” watch to honor the author of The Little Prince. Instantly recognizable as an IWC Pilot’s watch but with a subdued twist, it’s also the only rattrapante, aka double chronograph, in the pilot’s watch line, which gives it a lot of watchnerd points.” You might want to correct Zenith with IWC.

  • Marius

    Some might be wondering as to why IWC uses a 7750 when they have their own in-house chronograph movements. The reason is that IWC uses the rattrapante module developed by Richard Habring in 1991 when he was working for IWC. Habring & IWC wanted to create the first affordable double chronograph, so they used the 7750 as the base movement. The first IWC to use this caliber was the Pilot Doppelchronograph Ref.3713.

    In fact, IWC`s patent for the doppelchronograph expired in 2012, thus allowing Habring to create his “own” split-seconds chronograph in the form of the Habring2 Doppel 2.0.

    • TrevorXM

      That sure is interesting. Thanks for pointing this Habring connection out. It sure would have been nice to have learned about this in the article. I looked it up and there was a pretty interesting review of that Habring2 watch on Hodinkee which was priced at something like 6k euros.

    • Chaz

      The 3713 is a beautiful classic with perfect proportions (42mm) done back when IWC was not laser focused on trendiness, brand ambassadors and ever larger sizes. I love mine.

    • Word Merchant

      I wasn’t wondering; I’d already assumed IWC were being their usual cheapskate selves. I’m not far wrong am I?

      For nearly $12k I want IWC to do rather better than a tired old strap-on.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Its quite pretty in a brown, busy, big and knobbly sort of way. The hands and indices are attractive and it all works well together on the dial.
    Being an IWC they can charge more than I’ll ever be able (allowed) to spend. So its price could be anything, but it won’t be the same as the equivalent watch made by, for example: Stowa, Hamilton, Sinn, etc. (Does that make sense, or is it a ridiculous supposition).

    • SuperStrapper

      Don’t know if the ‘L’ is a typo or not, but I now love the word ‘knobbly’.

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        Ive just googled both. They both seem to be correct ways of spelling, and with the same meaning. I freely admit im probably a pedant (no not that one, different spelling).
        Anyhoo, having a knobb(l)y watch is now the new cool, in my world.

  • Bill W

    I’m bothered by the 10 index. Paint it all the way through.

  • SuperStrapper

    I notice the caseback says “one out of 1000” will they spell it ut like that for the guy that has number 783?

    • No, sadly that is the new way of saying, “Limited Edition of 1000” or “1/1000”. Looks like your chances of having #1 are 0.1%.

  • hasty hughie

    IWC, I Wannabe Cool. A limited edition with a small engraved dedication on the back noting the author’s name and life dates would have been plenty.

  • I wish IWC had started with a 7753 instead so they would have the more pleasing (IMO) 3/6/9 register layout. You lose the day of the week with a 7753, but I wouldn’t mind.

  • otaking241

    Two pet-peeves here: 1) overly large numerals on an already busy dial that results in half of them being cut out; 2) printed text over guilloche on the subdials makes them look messy. Like the piece, especially in this color combination, but at this price the devil is in the details…

  • Ulysses31

    Handsome, even for a brown watch.

  • Why one of the 1000s? is IWC was too stingy to stamp each caseback individually ?

  • ??????

    Somewhat lovely shade of sunburst brown. Would love to have one of these 1000, actually.