Perhaps, one of our favorite new releases from IWC at the SIHH 2016, the new IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph 'Antoine de Saint Exupèry' 1000-piece Limited Edition ref. IW371808 is a watch that comes with one of the most beautiful and striking brown dials out there. The sunburst brown dial along with the light colored hands and applied Arabic numerals are coated with luminescent material and against the dark background, they offer outstanding legibility both during the day and at night. The total of seven hands together with the date and day have been so skilfully integrated into the brown dial that the control panel look is emphasized without creating a loss of orientation.
The hands are shaped like propeller blades and coated all over with a luminescent material, with two minor exceptions: the chronograph seconds hand and the split-seconds hand both have a red tip. The word “rattrapante” comes from the French and denotes the split seconds hand in a double chronograph. Unlike a standard chronograph, the split-seconds chronograph has two hands that start simultaneously. The rattrapante or split seconds hand, which is superimposed on the stopwatch hand, can be stopped independently using a third push button at “10 o’clock”, while the stopwatch hand continues to run. This permits the user to record two separate times, with down-to-the-second accuracy, within any given minute. If the split-seconds button is pushed again, the split hand instantaneously catches up and is synchronized with the other hand. It is then possible to record a new lap time or intermediate time. This function originated in flying, where specific curve radii had to be timed during flight. The upper and lower registers show aggregate times up to 12 hours, while the register at 9 o’clock shows the running seconds. The register at 6 o'clock shows the now usual letter 'A' signifying that this is an Antoine de Saint Exupèry limited edition piece.
The new SIHH 2016 IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph 'Antoine de Saint Exupèry' Limited Edition is equipped with a perfectly sized 44 mm stainless steel case —17 mm thick— that is delicately finished by hand with alternating mirror polished and satin-finished surfaces. Additionally, the case is fitted with a soft iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides as only IWC knows how to do it for perfect readability.
The sunburst finish on its brown dial is a true chameleon with a metallic shimmer. Depending on the lighting conditions you will see variations in the hue of brown on the dial, going all the way from a rich dark chocolate brown —like that on the most delicious Valhrona chocolates—, to a nice and soft tobacco brown —like the color on the leaves of one of the finest Romeo y Julieta Habanos.
The beating heart inside the SIHH 2016 new IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph 'Antoine de Saint Exupèry' Limited Edition is the IWC in-house automatic calibre 79420, a chronograph movement with 29 jewels, that beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph to provide a power reserve of 44 hours when fully wound. To protect its beating heart, the watch features a solid case back with an engraving of a Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft. This was the aircraft in which writer and flying pioneer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry took off on July 31st, 1944, to make what turned out to be his last reconnaissance flight over the south of France. The watch is water resistant to 60 meters and is equipped with a brown calfskin strap with beige contrast stitching by Santoni and fitted with the usual IWC stainless steel folding clasp.
On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and really nice. After preparing this hands-on review of the new IWC Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph 'Antoine de Saint Exupèry' Limited Edition, all we can say is that no images do justice. This is a watch that is better appreciated in person and one that is a must have if you like IWC.
Sticker Price $11,900 USD. For more info on IWC click here.