IWC Mark XVIII Heritage & Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage Watches

IWC Mark XVIII Heritage & Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage Watches

IWC Mark XVIII Heritage & Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage Watches Watch Releases

Swiss watchmakers IWC are well-known among collectors for the watches they’ve produced for various militaries such as Britain’s Royal Air Force. The DNA of these historic military designs still pervades IWC’s collection, most prominently in the Big Pilot’s series and the Pilot’s Mark XVIII, both of which are military-styled, aviation-oriented pieces. Now, IWC have released a set of special editions of these models, the Mark XVIII Heritage and Big Pilot’s Heritage, all available in new materials and equipped with different calibers of varying specification.

IWC Mark XVIII Heritage & Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage Watches Watch Releases

Starting with the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage, the new piece is fairly similar to previous Big Pilot’s Watches with the exception of case material, which is now either bronze or titanium, and the inclusion of the very impressive IWC 52110 in-house manufacture caliber. IWC’s automatic winding 52110 features a staggering 168 hour (seven day) power reserve, Côtes de Genève and perlage finishing, and 31 jewels, all ticking along at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) inside of a soft iron inner case to resist magnetic fields found in aviation environments. The standard Big Pilot’s 51111 caliber features more jewels at 42 but beats at a significantly slower 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). Otherwise, the 46.2mm case, signature crown, and vintage inspired leather strap remain similar in style to previous Big Pilot’s.

IWC Mark XVIII Heritage & Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage Watches Watch Releases

IWC Mark XVIII Heritage & Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage Watches Watch Releases

For those with more regular wrists and bank accounts, IWC have also produced the Mark XVIII in a special Heritage edition. The new IWC Pilot’s Mark XVIII Heritage retains the aviation style dial and hands as well as the modest 40mm case size from previous models. New is the use of titanium as a case material which lends the piece a utilitarian feel as well as a much lighter overall weight. The inclusion of IWC’s 35111 caliber also differentiates this new model from it’s forebears and while it isn’t a totally in-house caliber like those in the Heritage Big Pilot’s, it is still a capable 25-jewel movement based on the Sellita SW300 as opposed to the 21-jewel, ETA 2892 base movement found in the standard IWC Mark XVIII. A slightly less impressive caliber like the 35111 with a more approachable 42-hour power reserve also helps to keep the price somewhat reasonable.

IWC Mark XVIII Heritage & Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage Watches Watch Releases

If anything, these new additions to the IWC Heritage collection help to round out a previously daunting collection in terms of physical size. The Heritage Big Pilot’s 48 and 55, released last year, are probably unwearable for almost everyone other than professional body builders and pilots who intend to wear the watch outside a flight jacket. It seems like IWC have sought to make their Heritage pilot’s watches more accessible across the board with the IWC Mark XVIII Heritage now available in titanium as reference IW327006 but still at a mid-level price point and the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage bringing the more haute watchmaking approach in new materials (titanium is reference IW501004 and bronze is IW501005) and in a size at least some people can pull off. The IWC Pilot’s Mark XVIII Heritage retails for $4,150 and the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage is priced at $13,200iwc.com

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (13)
  • I love it! (13)
  • I want it! (11)
  • Classy (4)
  • Interesting (2)
  • BNABOD

    They are not very good at in between sizes and specs…. Either you get the monster 46mm+ w the mega PR movememt or you get 40mm w a SW.
    How about a 42mm version of the in house one? 4gs for the base model is nuts w or without titanium

    • TrevorXM

      “How about a 42mm version of the in house one?”

      Well of course that is the right way to go with a “heritage” edition.

      • BNABOD

        Why not. Size and heritage are not mutually exclusive

        • TrevorXM

          I’m agreeing with you.

    • SuperStrapper

      My thoughts as well.

  • Pete Pete

    the design sensibility of the dial feels like a combination of Bremont and A. Lange & Söhne – both excellent brands to be associated with

    • IG

      Are you properly licensing this from Ariel?

  • TrevorXM

    More stupidity from IWC.

    How can you release a “heritage” edition of your watch and not use your own movement in it, when your “heritage” was all about doing that? In order for IWC to be taken seriously by people with brains, they need to produce a pilot’s watch with the in-house movement at 42mm in steel and priced at 5k. Such a watch would fly off the shelves.

  • I can’t be the only one who thinks that all IWC pilots’ watches not only look the same as each other, but look exactly the same as all other pilots’ watches. Laco, Aristo, Damasko, Steinhart, Archimede…How much better is a $4000 IWC three hander with a Sellita movement than any offering from any of these brands?

    • IG

      It has IWC on the dial.

    • TrevorXM

      I also think of Stowa on that list.

      I guess IWC supporters will start whining about “finishing” and “details” and “heritage”, however that may be a point with some on the list, others have excellent quality and make their own cases, including Archimede. It’s a simple pilot watch, after all. And certainly some of them have plenty of “heritage” when it comes to classic pilot watches. IWC has ZERO justification for pricing that watch at $4k. Who do they think they are, Bremont?

      • MailGebbons

        As an IWC customer that paid allmost 3000$ for the normal pilot 7 years ago I agree with you. Lots of quality in the other brands you mentioned. I did not know much about other brands or watches in general then and had really wanted the normal pilot for a long time. It was either that or some gaudy omega constellations or quartz aqua terras for 2000$ around here then. Ohh and orange sea masters!

        • MailGebbons

          I dont regret though. Soon 8 good years with this piece. It has held up really well too.

      • Chaz

        I wonder, now that “heritage” is the buzz word, if JLC will come out with a homage to THEIR version of the MK XI??

        That would be interesting.

    • egznyc

      It’s all a bunch of hooey. After all, a proper pilot’s watch doesn’t even have a name on the dial.

  • Pete L

    Just clicked classy (purely because I never had before!) but they are classical design pieces so I guess it applies.
    Nothing really here to excite me as one is like a dinner plate and the other like a saucer. Need something in the middle 42-44 for me.

  • Mikita

    I like the 40 mm version, doesn’t look bad. But as others have mentioned, why pay $4k when Stowa does similarly well-made pilot watch for $1k and has similar dose of pilot watch pedigree? Actually, Stowa even does this specifically for each of the customers, so they can customize the watch and assemble it for you – I think this might be even more appealing than getting a stock IWC on Sellita for $4k.

  • Mikita

    What is wrong with the watch groups?? TAG charges $$1.7-2.4k for a Ronda based “budget” Monaco, IWC charges $4k+ for Sellita based semi-default pilot watch – do they believe that nothing happened in the watch world? All the reports suggest decline in sales, so many famous brands are on the edge of bankruptcy, but these guys don’t learn a sh* from the situation.

    • JosephWelke

      These companies have a reputation for “staying the course” until it’s almost too late – and for more than a few, it does come too late. Conservative to a fault. Say what you will, at least Biver can see which way the wind is blowing and is striving to change tack to meet it; witness his price slashing at TAG and his rush to get more “youthful” models out, his crowdsourced Autavia homage to try to stir WIS’s into interest, and even that quartz Monaco from yesterday. He’s trying to get his watches sold to non-watch people by showing “Swiss quality”, an iconic case design and name as well as star power ( I can get Walter White’s watch for $1000? Awesome!). And finally, having a smart watch that’s built like a Swiss watch, seems to work well, and which is actually selling.
      A few Swiss types are getting it. Not enough though.

  • Tea Hound

    Ok, I’ll weigh in… The micro-pilot is obviously a waste of time and money. No-one in their right mind should pay $4k for a Sellita movement, even if IWC have remade all the gears in Unicorn horn. IWC also missed an obvious visual cue that might’ve made this watch suck a little less: the date window should’ve been at 6 o’clock to match the Big Pilot range. Perhaps they could’ve also added a similar (but appropriately scaled) Big Pilot-esque crown. But as TrevorXMl writes – this watch should have a through-and-through IWC movement.

    Swiftly moving on… Excepting the Top Gun models, that need to be ejected into space along with whoever thought it’d be a good idea to horribly desecrate one of the true iconic watches in the IWC range, I rather like the Big Pilot. It’s nice to see the continued presence of the ‘9’, and having the option of a bronze case is pretty cool. But, as ever, IWC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by just slapping the Port Auto date wheel into this watch – both the font and the colour very much jar with the ‘historic’ lume colour. A real shame. However, this is still a handsome watch and I’m pleased the IWC ‘designers’ (stretching the word almost to breaking point here) haven’t been allowed to fiddle with this watch too much.

    So let’s say a 50% partial success for IWC. Better than usual. But not good enough.

    • Richard Baptist

      good points

  • Yan Fin

    Now I feel bad for bashing Kon Tiki with Sellita…

    • Tea Hound

      Don’t.

  • SuperStrapper

    Nothing to buy here.

    Sidenote: why doesn’t IWC have a B dial pilot? They have the monstrous b-uhr but it has an a dial.

  • Marius

    I agree that IWC should start using in-house calibers in the $4,000 Mark XVIII. Given that they’re part of Richemont, IWC could use an undecorated JLC 8XX caliber (from the Master Control range). That way, IWC would create an actual link to the first Mark watches, whilst utilizing a much more interesting caliber than the standard ETA/Sellita. Nevertheless, even with the Sellita movement, the $4,000 price is not that terrible.

    Firstly, it’s important to note that the average watch buyer is mostly attracted by one thing, and that is brand name & prestige. Sure, Laco, Arhimede, Damasko make good watches, but the average buyer has never heard of them, and even if he did, he would never pick them over an IWC. Similarly, would a Submariner cost $9,000 without the Rolex logo? Probably not. And, let’s be honest, the 3135 is not exactly a jewel of a movement either.

    Secondly, most of IWC`s competitors charge similar prices for ETA/Sellita-equipped watches. For instance, the Tag Heuer Formula 1 using the very same caliber costs $3,500; a Brewmont Solo costs almost $5,000; and the Hüblotter Classic Fusion using an ETA is almost $9,000. Under these circumstances, I doubt that IWC will drastically reduce its prices. I mean, I seriously doubt that IWC will start charging lower prices than Tag Heuer, Brewmont, or Breitling.

    Lastly, while IWC watches are most likely made in Switzerland, I’m not sure if Laco, Sinn, Arhimede, Steinhart, etc, are completely manufactured in Germany/Switzerland. For instance, Steinhart clearly uses a lot of Chinese parts, and considering their price range, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sinn and Laco did the same. Damasko is the only brand that I believe uses mostly German and Swiss parts.

    • SuperStrapper

      So, they should use in-house calibers by procuring them from other brands?

      Makes sense/10.

      • in-group vs in-house, ha ha.

        • SuperStrapper

          That would be the correct term. Unless an Omega with a 2824 in it is considered a watch with an in-house movement.

          • commentator bob

            If it was a pre-Co-Axial Omega it would have been an ETA 2892, and that would be in-house.

            In-group is in-house and trying to distinguish them is autistic.

            Putting a JLC movement in the Mark create something the Mark now desperately lacks – a reason to buy it.

          • SuperStrapper

            Won’t argue that

    • Wally

      That’s it! Thank you sir. Finally a very well argued and balanced comment

      • Tea Hound

        Just “Swiss Made” or actually made by IWC? The Internet wants to know…

    • TrevorXM

      The undecorated JLC calibre in the MK Mark XVIII is an excellent idea.

      • commentator bob

        Whatever you want to about Steinhart their line is all “Swiss Made”, which is still more stringent than “Made in Germany.” Athough I would agree a number of German watches are much more German than they have to be.

        Laco and Stowa are the most like IWC in history and prestige, in that they officially made watches for Hitler’s air force.

        In their defense Laco and Stowa are no longer associated with a despicable person, while IWC is now associated with John Mayer.

        Nobody you, or at least I, would want to hang out with knows or cares about IWC, so I don’t agree with its value as a brand. If anything Laco and Stowa sound cooler, not to mention Sinn. And a ~$500 grey Hamilton probably has the best name recognition as a pilot watch outside of our circle-jerk of enthusiasts.

        In fact, I would put money on a guy with a Hamilton closing more in business meetings and bars than a guy with an IWC.

        Plus for Mark XVIII money one can stretch for an Explorer or Air King and have a watch that is better in EVERY way.

    • Mikita

      Agree on Steinhart – obscure company which based 90% of their line on Rolex fakes, sorry, homages. However, Archimede are part of the Ickler group which are known for superb casework per $ and have their parts mostly made in Germany. Moreover, how about Stowa? These guys make a really limited quantity of watches, but their quality is superb and surpasses most Swiss below $3k. Moreover, as I’ve discussed with them – they can tune up the watch for your preferences at no or almost no cost, which puts their pilot line among the most attractive offers IMO. Sure, IWC name has stronger luxury appeal, but I’d put Stowa at similar level quality-wise, so as Damasko.

    • Pete Pete

      “For instance, Steinhart clearly uses a lot of Chinese parts, and considering their price range, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sinn and Laco did the same.”

      I’m not sure how you see any similarities in quality or price range between steinhart and sinn.

      sinn watches are bland looking and usually rather ugly, but when it comes to toolwatches they play in a league of their own.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Wow, that is one huge knob,………..sorry, crown.
    Really boring, but i like it.

  • Larry Holmack

    I’m loving the 46.5 mm Big Pilot Heritage…although…if the finances were in place to get the 55 mm Big Pilot…I’d be wearing one!!! That’s one bad ass looking watch!!!

  • Yanko

    So boring.

  • Heritage….zzZZZZzzzz

  • I want a mix of the two. 40mm, reserve indicator, normal crown, yeah boyee.