Partnerships between Formula 1 racing teams and the luxury watch industry are nothing new. Timepiece brands were among the very first companies to appear as Formula 1 car sponsors in the late ‘60s, in large part thanks to the efforts of Swiss racing driver and Heuer authorized dealer Jo Siffert, and the two industries have been closely intertwined ever since. IWC is no stranger to this field as well, sponsoring the (until recently) dominant Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team since 2013. Despite almost a decade of partnership, however, the brand has never produced a watch specifically for the team itself – until now. Intended to be worn by the team’s mechanics, strategists, designers, aerodynamicists, and race engineers, the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” brings wild racing-inspired color and a lightweight execution to the brand’s cornerstone pilot’s chronograph design.
At 41mm-wide, the matte blasted Grade 5 titanium case of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” offers a more compact, reserved profile on the wrist than many of its stablemates. The titanium case’s darker tone and matte finishing have a further visual slimming effect on the wrist, helping to mask some of the substantial 14.6mm overall height while the material’s light weight makes this a comfortable, easy wear. The overall design follows IWC’s classic flieger chronograph template, with a narrow sloping bezel, athletic lugs, simple case sides, and a set of polished inverted pushers that add a touch of flash to the overall layout.
IWC adds a splash of Petronas green to the text surrounding the sapphire display caseback, as a nod to the team’s title sponsor. At a time when the watch industry is abuzz over anything resembling the iconic Tiffany blue, this is a strikingly on-trend move that should provoke enthusiast debate. Petronas green has been an integral part of the racing team’s livery since its debut season in 2010, however, so this is far from a spur-of-the-moment decision to chase a color trend. With that said, this particular shade of seafoam is markedly greener and more vibrant than the classic Tiffany hue, which suits the punchier, more sporting character of this racing chronograph well. IWC rates the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” for a solidly sporting 100 meters of water resistance.
IWC keeps its classic chronograph layout intact for the dial of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team,” but imbues this familiar design with new energy thanks to liberal use of bold Petronas green. Every bit of dial hardware, from the flieger handset to the charismatic rounded Arabic numerals and the 3 o’clock day/date wheels, is printed in this vibrant color above a simple matte black base. The effect is immediately transformative on the wrist – it’s subtler than a fully colored dial would be, but the intensity of this color still makes the design sharply eye-catching and easily legible despite the loss in contrast over the traditional pure white lume fill. Despite the visual drama of this new colorway, IWC confidently eschews any sort of overt Mercedes or Petronas branding on this dial in favor of maintaining its traditional layout. This should give the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” some crossover appeal to non-racing fans, presenting as both a strikingly attractive new color scheme and a sly nod to enthusiasts in the know.
IWC powers the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” with its in-house 69385 automatic chronograph movement. While it might bear a superficial resemblance to the classic ETA/Valjoux 7750, the 69385 is a thoroughly modern and robust column-wheel chronograph movement with a host of modern technical refinements. The 69385 offers a solid 46-hour power reserve at a smooth 28,800 bph beat rate. IWC finishes the movement with an attractive blend of techniques, including circular Côtes de Genève across the main bridge, perlage for the base plate, and a skeleton winding rotor topped with a deeply grained sunburst surface.
To complete the design, IWC pairs the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” with two distinctive straps. Our hands-on sample came fitted with the embossed fabric-effect calfskin strap in black, featuring a richly detailed texture and full contrast stitching in Petronas green. For a wilder look, wearers can also opt for a sporty rubber strap in the same green hue. Both straps use IWC’s quick-release system and come fitted with a simple pin-buckle clasp.
With a striking colorway tied to the race team’s winning heritage and a comfortable, lightweight titanium execution, the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” is a sporty and intriguing first official team watch from this long-running brand partnership. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” is available now exclusively through IWC’s e-commerce platform. MSRP for the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” stands at $7,850 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.