September 2, 2021
by Zach Pina
With the belief that “…sport has the power to change the world,” every year for the last fifteen years, IWC has partnered with the Laureus Sport for Good foundation to support hundreds of children’s sports programs around the world, which aim to help end violence, discrimination, and disadvantage for young people. To help continue to drive awareness to the foundation, IWC has launched its fifteenth special limited edition Laureus watch — and this year, we get a 41mm Pilot in blue ceramic, which also happens to be a material first for the Schaffhausen maker.
Model: Pilot’s Watch Automatic Edition “Laureus Sport for Good” (ref. IW328101)
Dimensions: 41mm (11.4mm thick)
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Case Material: Blue ceramic
Movement: IWC 32111 (automatic calibre with time and date)
Power Reserve / Frequency: 5 days (120 hours, 4Hz)
Strap/Bracelet: Blue rubber strap with textile inlay
Price & Availability: $6,250 USD, limited to 750 pieces
This isn’t actually the first time IWC has done a 41mm three-handed Pilot watch for the Laureus charity. The partnership’s 12th edition back in 2018 was commemorated with a black-cased Mark XVIII with the capsule’s signature blue sunburst dial. This version is built using IWC’s latest calibre 32111 (this appears to be a power reserve upgrade to the 32110 used on many other Pilot watches), which is shielded from magnetic fields by a soft iron cage, and delivers a generous five days of power reserve. This Laureus edition also deviates a bit from tradition with its matte blue dial (as opposed to the usual sunburst seen on past Aquatimer, Ingenieur, Portugieser, and Pilot editions) and fully matte blue ceramic case, but even at a quick glance, the red-tipped seconds hand and the whimsical engraved artwork on the titanium caseback give this away as another entry in the long-running Laureus series, which follows the recent manually-wound Portugieser mono-pusher chronograph.
Another fun tradition of the Laureus Sport for Good program is indeed found on the caseback, where the unique engraving has always been the winning entry in a children’s drawing competition that IWC organizes with Laureus. This year’s Pilot watch bears the artwork of one 12 year-old Melissa Mejia Castilla from Colombia, who has titled her drawing “Vivir en Armonia” (“Living in Peace”), expressing gender equality through sport. Past artworks have their own stories and their own unique artists, all helping add to the charm of this thoughtful, ongoing charity collaboration.
When it comes to brightly colored ceramics, getting the hue just right is a unique challenge in and of itself, but blue ceramic also isn’t new in the watch space — we’ve seen plenty of blue-cased ceramics from other high-end brands like Omega, Blancpain, and Hublot. But it’s a new one for IWC, who’ve been dabbling in more colored ceramics — most notably with the recent white-cased ‘Inspiration4’ chronograph, and the popular Top Gun ‘Mojave’ editions. All things considered, blue is quite a fitting choice to continue the blue thread that has connected all the other Laureus editions over the years, and it’s cool to see IWC continue to explore new case compositions with its most familiar properties.
With a production run of 750 pieces, the slightly more-limited-than-usual blue ceramic IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Edition “Laureus Sport for Good” (ref. IW328101) has a retail price of $6,250, which is only a $650 premium over the currently available black ceramic-cased Top Gun three-hander (ref. IW326901). Collectors and watch fans should expect this one to make its landing at IWC retailers and online any day now. You can learn more about the Laureus initiative, and shop IWC’s pilot watches at iwc.com.