Editor’s Note: One of the most popular watch types is the steel, black-dialled chronograph. It’s a a versatile, utilitarian classic and almost every brand has their own interpretation of the theme. IWC’s is their perennially popular Pilot’s Chronograph, a mix of military style and casual elegance. It’s an undisputed classic.
If you’ve been paying even marginal attention to IWC over the past seven months you’ll have noticed it’s on a bit of an aviation kick, refreshing the entire Pilot’s family and adding some tantalising novelties like the limited edition ‘Le Petit Prince’ edition of the Big Pilot and the ingenious Timezoner. Impressive as these are, they’re not the bread and butter of IWC’s Pilot’s line. That falls to fresh faces like the Mark XVIII, and updated stalwarts like this one, the Pilot’s Chronograph.
If you were to look quickly at this new reference (IW377710, or IW377709 on Santoni leather) next to the outgoing IW377701 you could be forgiven for thinking they were the same watch. But take another look, and numerous small tweaks become apparent.
The most obvious is the removal of the altimeter-style triple date window, which in turn allows for the IWC branding to be moved back to the three o’clock position. Also gone are the printed Arabic minutes at the outer edge of the indices. All minor changes, but they add up to a dial that’s slightly simpler and certainly closer to the watch’s historical origins.
The other changes concern the strap. For the leather version, the alligator strap has been replaced with a fine Santoni calfskin – a nod to the watch’s utilitarian roots that doesn’t detract from the premium offering of the Pilot. The stainless steel bracelet – always one of the best quality offerings at the price-point – has also received a makeover and is exceptionally comfortable, thanks to the deployant clasp with micro-adjustment, which allows you to make small adjustments on the wrist, simply by pressing the IWC logo.
These changes aren’t earth-shattering in their magnitude, but all add up to a watch that is, I think, a marked improvement. The design is cleaner, more balanced and more comfortable to wear.
2016 IWC Pilot’s Chronograph (ref. IW377710) Australian pricing
The IWC Pilot’s Chronograph, $8950, on steel bracelet.
Original images by Jason Reekie.