May 22, 2021
The partnership between IWC and German performance car and motorsports juggernaut Mercedes-AMG is one of the longest-running current automotive relationships in the luxury watch industry, running continuously since 2004. For its latest entry in this extensive brand partnership, IWC has gone far beyond a simple nod on the dial, substantially overhauling its signature pilot chronograph design with a subtle monochrome racing look and new technical features. The new standard production IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG steps beyond the usual limited edition tie-in watch bounds to create a piece that advances the 43mm Pilot’s Chronograph line into the future, while delivering a finely balanced mix of stylistic refinement and aggression.
The simple, utilitarian lines of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG’s 43mm case are shared with the rest of IWC’s pilot series, including familiar features like its narrow bezel, simple inverted pushers, and slab case sides. The Edition AMG forges its own identity from this familiar shape with the use of Grade 5 titanium. Lightweight and extremely durable, this fully bead blasted alloy is a natural fit for the marriage of aviation and automotive cues at play here. While the color of Grade 5 titanium can vary substantially from brand to brand, IWC claims to have designed its alloy to complement Mercedes-AMG’s Selenite Gray Magno matte metallic paint. In initial images this titanium case looks a few shades lighter than the paint tone, and on the lighter side of titanium overall, but the two gray tones should work together handsomely. The case is undeniably tall, measuring in at 14.9mm, and its lack of midcase contouring or character lines will likely work to emphasize this height on the wrist. IWC finishes off this elemental case with an AMG-signed sapphire display caseback and a somewhat underwhelming 60 meters of water resistance.
With the dial of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG, IWC smoothly conveys the spirit of the German performance brand without any overt reference. The main dial surface is woven carbon fiber, a material nearly synonymous with race cars since the 1980s. This woven texture offers a satiny pattern of lighter and darker gray shades in initial images, and should prove to be eye-catchingly dynamic in changing light. Paired with the silver azurage of the chronograph subdials, this gives the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG a low-contrast reverse panda dial look, emphasized with the use of a cool slightly off-white tone for the rounded printed Arabic numerals and dial text. The dedication to low contrast and low reflectivity extends to the dial hardware as well, as the hands, day/date window frame, and subdial rings are all finished in a matte charcoal gray.
IWC introduces the in-house 69385 automatic chronograph movement to the 43mm Pilot’s Watch Chronograph line with the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG. While the 6-9-12 subdial layout may fool casual viewers into mistaking this for the venerable Valjoux 7750 movement, the recently introduced 69385 is a manufacture design that moves its running seconds display to 6 o’clock rather than the traditional 9 o’clock position on 7750 movements and their derivatives. The 69385 also offers extensive decoration, including both tight perlage and circular striping, and uses a more precise column wheel chronograph actuation system as opposed to the cam-lever system used by the 7750 series. Performance for the 69385 is solid, offering a 46-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The brand finishes the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG with a textured black calfskin leather strap made to emulate the pattern of the woven carbon-fiber dial.
With a sense of restrained visual aggression and a fresh in-house movement, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG should make for a compellingly sporty addition to the brand’s extensive chronograph stable. Despite the “Edition” nomenclature, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG is a permanent new addition to the brand’s lineup, and is available for preorder now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $9,100. For more information, visit the brand’s website.