INTRODUCING: The Collective Horology x IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “C.03”Zach Blass
Two watch lovers, Gabe Reilly and Asher Rapkin, wanted to take the idea of a watch collectors’ club a step further, founding Collective Horology. The idea was to create a positive and intimate space for horological enthusiasts to come together and share their love for all things watchmaking. What separates Collective Horology from other clubs is that their efforts focus on creating collaborative pieces for its members. We have seen stunning collaborations from the group previously with brands such as Zenith and H. Moser & Cie, but to mark their international expansion Collective Horology has partnered with IWC to create the Collective x IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition C.03 – a limited edition of 125 pieces.
The inspiration behind IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition C.03 stems from Collective Horology founder Gabe Rielly’s appreciation for the classic IWC Fliegerchronograph 3706 – which he fell in love with while visiting IWC’s manufacture in Switzerland. This re-interpretation, via the current production IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 format, is executed with a 100 metre water-resistant 41mm stainless-steel case that’s 14.5mm thick, predominantly finished with a utility-driven satin brush. The case front and lug hoods feature radially brushed surfaces, while the caseband incorporates a linear brush across. There are accents of polished elements as well though, which can be seen on the bezel and on the bevels of the lug shoulders in a hairline fashion. Those looking to take this Pilot’s watch for a dive will be glad to know the 100 metre depth rating is reinforced with sapphire crystals secured against displacement caused by drops in air pressure, as well as a collector preferred screw-down crown.
Always looking to convey the brand’s essence, while also developing something distinct and unique for their members, Collective Horology decided to dream up a monochromatic take on the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41. Normally, releasing a black dial would be anything but distinct. Surprisingly, however, IWC’s current standard production of the reference does not currently have a black dial variant in the catalogue – resulting in a unique offering for Collective Horology members. The dial is simultaneously stealth and legible, with a matte black grained surface that serves as the backdrop for subtly contrasting grey numerals and indices.
You have the familiar large and legible hour arabics framed by bold hour indices and a hashed outer minutes track. Three concentric textured chronograph registers grace the dial at 12′, 9′, and 6′, displaying the elapsed minutes (30 minute scale), elapsed hours (12 hour scale), and running seconds respectively. The rhodium-plated central hour and minutes hands are mirror polished in a manner where they darken under direct light, blending into the black of the dial. The central chronograph seconds hand, while not luminous, matches the muted grey tone of the SuperLuminova® used throughout the central hours and minutes hands, register hands, and hour indices of the dial.
Another distinguishing feature of this limited edition, and visual indicator of the collector-driven design cues Collective always looks to incorporate, is the day-date apertures at the 3′ position beneath the IWC branding. At the request of Collective, IWC has utilized a German day wheel for the day-date complication – a nod to the Pilot’s Chronograph watches of the 90s and early 2000s. The calendar discs are rendered in white on black in order to best blend into the dial, as well as maintain the monochromatic aesthetic.
Tying the rugged and monochromatic look together is its 20mm width black calfskin leather strap which, from the supplied pictures, appears to have a black textile upper with white stitching. The strap remains broad until it abruptly tapers towards the pin and buckle in usual IWC Pilot’s straps fashion. Buyers will also have the option to purchase the stainless-steel bracelet at additional cost. What I do not see, however, is the presence of IWC’s new “Eas-XCHANGE” quick-change strap system on this pictured leather strap.
Inside the watch, beneath glare-proof exhibition sapphire caseback, is the IWC manufacture column wheel chronograph caliber 69385. The movement has an industrial yet attractive finish with circular graining to the mainplate and circular Côtes de Genève to the bridge. A notable design element of the caliber inside this limited edition is its blackened openworked bi-directional pawl-winding rotor, meant to continue the monochromatic theme of the watch. On the technical side of things, its column wheel architecture results in a smooth and crisp chronograph experience which collectors greatly appreciate. As for its power reserve, the automatic movement can run for approximately 46 hours off the wrist without a wind. While not the longest power reserve, it is a very robust movement designed to be able to endure the shock of daily wear.
Overall, the Time+Tide team are big fans of the standard production IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 models announced earlier this year. The raised 100 metres of water-resistance, new in-house caliber, and “Eas-XCHANGE” straps and (all-new) bracelet were very welcome upgrades in the eyes of collectors and the mass marketplace. What IWC and Collective have done with this limited edition design, however, is really speak directly to enthusiasts and collectors – honing in on the small details only #watchfam would fully appreciate. Considering I think it is a shame this is not a part of the standard production catalogue, it is a clear testament, at least in my mind, that Collective Horology have done a great job with the C.03 – speaking to the essence of IWC and what diehard collectors love about the brand.
Collective™ Horology x IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition C.03 pricing and availability:
Those interested in joining Collective and acquiring the Collective Horology x IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition C.03 timepiece can visit Collective’s website, where more information, as well as a membership application, are available. Price: £6450 GBP / $7150 USD (strap version, bracelet is additional). Limited Edition of 125 pieces.