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IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII

IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Watch Releases

Directly inspired by the 1948 Mark 11 watch, the new entry-level IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII for SIHH 2016 is a watch that the brand says is “reduced to essentials.” A simple three hand watch designed for maximum legibility, the piece is a welcome addition to the IWC Pilot Watch line. It’s simple, but a handsome base IWC designed for maximum legibility, and is my idea of simplicity at its best.

IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Watch Releases

IWC is making 2016 the year of its Pilot Watch update, and along with releasing large watches like the IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48 & 55 (more on those two here) available in 48mm and an almost comically large 55mm, but there does seem to be an overall pattern of shrinking the line down a bit. Interestingly, they are releasing the IWC Mark XVIII just one millimeter narrower than the current Mark XVII. At 40mm wide, IWC has also made a decision that applies to a few of their Pilot watches this year, the removal of the triple date display. I think it’s a move that will prove pretty popular, as a triple date window just really is unnecessary in the eyes of so many buyers.

IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Watch Releases

All these aesthetic decisions have to do with IWC’s desire to go back to a more traditional look for the Pilot’s watch line. This involves design cues like bringing back the “9” that was taken out of the Pilot line in 2002. The “12” is replaced with a slightly pareidoliaic (fancy word for seeing human faces in objects) triangle with dot on either side. The entry-level IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII (references IW327001, IW327002, and IW327011) is going to be available on either the calfskin strap or the stainless steel bracelet and comes in either a black or silver-plated dial. Also, there is 60 meters of water resistance for this watch.

IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Watch Releases

On the case back, you’ll see the Junkers Ju 52 airplane, which was the most common aircraft used for civilian travel in the 1930s. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII has the automatic 30110 calibre movement, which operates at 4 Hz and has 42 hours of power reserve. This is the same as the outgoing Mark XVII and is a solid workhorse movement. As an entry-level watch, I think the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII is going to have a lot of appeal for buyers appreciating the cleaner look (especially the omission of the triple date window for a single date). Again, the three models are: the Ref. IW327001 with black dial and black Santoni calfskin strap with a price of $3,950; the Ref. IW327002 with silver-plated dial and black Santoni calfskin strap also has a price of $3,950; and the Ref. 327011 with black dial and stainless steel bracelet with fine adjustment clasp with a price of $4,950iwc.com

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  • Richard Bonanno

    Love the white dial. I just may purchase that one.

  • Mark

    I was anxiously awaiting this release, but I’m pretty disappointed. I was hoping for a sunburst dial, laid indices, and/ or the new movement. Also I know that I’m in the minority here, but I actually preferred the altimeter styled date window. I liked the style, and it made the date easier to read when one of the hands was blocking the window.

    Oh well, at least this helps me to make up my mind. My next purchase will be a Black Bay black!

  • Joe Welke

    So, about $3,000 for a Sellita movement?

    • Sarthak Sharma

      I think it’s actually closer to $4000 for essentially a Sellita movement. I think I’d rather hunt for a good condition pre-owned Mark series for around 2k.

      • TechUser2011

        I don’t know how it is in your part of the world, but in the USA, when you buy a watch, you get more than just the movement. You also get the case, the dial, the hands, the numbers, and the bracelet! And you also get all the pieces put together, no assembly required.

        It’s similar to how you buy a car in the USA or other first-world country. You don’t just buy a car engine; you also get the doors, the body, the windshield, tires, seats, and all that. I know, it’s pretty amazing.

        • Sarthak Sharma

          1. I live in the USA. (Fairly incoherent statement on your part).

          2. You’re so very right about getting more than just the movement. There are some other companies out there that also know about movements, cases, dials, hands, numbers, and bracelets. Example- Tudor. They did all of it plus more for roughly the same price, and some would argue they did it better. Nomos may also want to talk to you about that because they do similar things with high quality parts and actually cost less! I know, it’s pretty amazing.

          3. You still seem a bit emotionally damaged over losing our last little debate. It’s ok. I am having a hard time understanding something though. You have no idea who I am. You clearly don’t even know where I’m from. Yet, instead of following basic rules of decorum, you lash out in just the most condescending tone. Even if you think what I have to say makes absolutely no sense, there still is no reason to comment in the tone you’re using. I’m not going to demean your opinion by calling you a troll because I do think you, at times, make fair points. Just keep the conversation classy!

          • TechUser2011

            I don’t think you won any such last debate.

  • Sarthak Sharma

    I don’t understand why IWC is still using that Sellita movement. I understand it’s been dressed up a bit, but Tudor is offering technical superiority and similar finishing with in-house movements for just a few hundred dollars more. I expected more from IWC.

    • Rupert Muller

      “technical superiority”: please elaborate!
      “similar finishing”: have you ever directly and 1:1 compared an IWC bracelet to a Tudor bracelet?

      • Sarthak Sharma

        1. Mainly, the in-house Tudor movement has a 70 hour power reserve compared to IWC’s 42 hours. While I don’t have a huge collection by any means, I do tend to swap watches throughout the week so a longer power reserve is a big plus in my book. Admittedly though, the COSC certification on the Tudor isn’t a huge deal since IWC could get them certified but just chooses not to. Mostly I understand that to be a marketing ploy these days anyway.

        2. I’m not talking about the finishing on the bracelets, but either way, the base Mark comes on a leather band (a VERY good leather band for sure). A Pelagos comes on a pretty amazing titanium bracelet with that easy link system AND on a very comfortable rubber bracelet included. Is upgrading to the IWC’s steel bracelet so great as to be worth $1000 extra over the leather? Not really my place to say as I’ve only handled the Tudor.

        3. Obviously the Tudor Pelagos and this new Mark are not apples to apples comparisons by any means. My point was that I think, as we’ve seen with more companies (Tudor, Nomos, and independents like Habring2), in-house can be achieved at this price range.

    • Ji-Young Tony Hong

      I COMPLETELY agree with you. I love the Mark series and I actually enjoyed the unique 3-date dial of the mark xvii. When I heard they were coming out with a new version this year, I was excited with the possibility that they would come out with a version with the in-house movement. Yes, there are many other important aspects to a watch than the movement, and yes, an in-house movement isn’t necessarily superior or “better” than an outsourced one, but I too expected IWC to start changing to a completely in-house made watch company. It would add so much to the value of the watch and the brand.

      I liken it to Apple, who continued to make small changes to their products while willingly with-holding certain updates for future products. IWC ABSOLUTELY has the capability to place an in-house movement in this watch, they just choose not to. Likely so they can make a Mark XIX and call it the greatest Mark ever when they do.

  • A grand extra for the steel bracelet? Yikes!!! And nearly $4K for a 3 hand (plus date) Sellita based watch still seems steep.

    • BNABOD

      Well it is steep but I just returned from the bmw dealership to get my new toy and they put iwc to shame when one looks at extras and related cost. On the watch front I find this offering disapointing to say the least and would go alpine Startimer all the way instead of this.

      • I’d rather get a HUD (head-up display) option for a grand on my next BMW than spend that amount for a steel watch bracelet upgrade. Cheers.

        • NC

          But the five link bracelet is so pretty. I remember first seeing one on a Double Chronograph in 1990 – and that’s what got me interested in watches.

          • Yeah, we are sucked in by we like. And so long as we can afford it, discussions of value and alternative items become meaningless! Cheers.

    • TechUser2011

      The prices for all the new IWC pieces seem to be lower than the current models!

      For example, the current Mark XVII (IW326501) with leather strap is $4300, but the new Mark XVIII is $3950. Also, the current model with the steel bracelet is $5400, while the new one is $4950.

      See: http://www.iwc.com/en/collection/pilots/IW3265/

      Price in USD will be shown if you’re in the USA.

      • I’m glad to see prices coming down. But I still think these pieces have a ways to go before they are fairly priced (for what you get). Cheers.

    • Mark Baran

      What is the base movement in the Mark XVII Mark?

      • IWC Caliber 30110 which used to be an ETA 2892 but now days is more likely to be a Sellita SW 300.

        • Mark Baran

          Thanks Mark

        • C Doach.

          That is incorrect. The 30110 is based on a 2892-A2. They are the only company outside of the swatch group still getting ebaunche kits from ETA. This is because Richard Habring actually designed the improvements that made the 2892-A2 from the original 2892. ETA used the design changes proposed from IWC.

          The IWC selitta based movement is the 35500 series of movements. Not the 30110.

          • Interesting – thanks for the insights.

          • C Doach.

            No problem. ETA has a patent agreement with IWC since they are using IWC patents they have access to the kits. IWC designed the 2892-A2 movement improvements from the 2892.

            I don’t know the agreements between the companies but it’s interesting around the same time IWC has made a clone of the 2982-A2 in the 820000 series in house movement. They have not used it in many of their watches yet. This might be why. Cost.

            Also interesting is the Habring who makes his own watches with his wife has use of ebaune kits also. IWC and habring watches are the only companies in my estimation who are still receiving kits.

            Why Selitta is being used in their 35500 movements is probably availability of the 2892-A2 ebaunche kits. I have read that the 30110 has little in common with the ETA 2892-A2 since it has been so heavily modified by IWC. Same with the Selitta movement. IWC replaces up to 35-40 percent of the parts used in these movements. The rotor, mainspring, escapement, escape wheel, balance etc are all replaced with IWC parts.

  • TrevorXM

    It’s hard to believe that this watch costs three times what a Damasko DA36 costs, while being so inferior on so many technical fronts. But that’s the power of hype and marketing and faux history for you.

    • Robby

      One thing to keep in mind with IWC Is that their case finishing, attention to detail, quality leather, and ultra beautiful design all add value beyond the movement. Those who can afford the Mark XVIII can also afford a second hand Rolex 14060m with an in house movement, but the Mark series continues to have a loyal fan base. I say this because I’m on the hunt for a watch around this price range, and these are the two watches I have my eye on. Even being aware of the “off the shelf movement”, as well as watches like Damasko, Stowa, Laco, etc, I STILL prefer the IWC for its looks, history, style, and construction. Believe me, it’s not the hype of marketing that makes me like this watch. It looks better than most pilot watches in person. Just my opinion, but I feel this watch is constantly under fire for not having an in house movement. When I have enough $$$, I will own this AND a Rolex. Just my two cents, but watches are more than just their movement inside.

  • Chaz

    HURRAH!!!! The end of triple date windows!!! IWC’s outrageous pricing, blah designs, lackluster sales and arrogance the last 4-5 years have forced them to reconsider!!

    Or was it mega heartthrob John Mayer’s infamous letter?

  • Questwatch

    Its a pity IWC didnt put there new cal 42xxx in this new version. Designed to be their in house entry level movement, for `smaller` type watches , announced in late 2014. Production wasnt ready ? This was a great opportunity they now have missed. Good design and better size than the xvII .

  • ??????

    Nice additions to the handsome line. 40 mm is perfect for my taste, the movement is just a fine workhorse, prices went down a bit and remember: its MSRP, so we can expect something ~3k. I belive IWC is worth it.

  • NC

    Back to perfection.