The IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41, a Mercedes F1 collab, is the brand’s first proper racing chronograph The IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41, a Mercedes F1 collab, is the brand’s first proper racing chronograph

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41, a Mercedes F1 collab, is the brand’s first proper racing chronograph

Jamie Weiss

Watches and motorsport go hand in hand, and there’s no motorsport where that’s more true than Formula 1. Just about every team on the grid has a timing partner – check out our guide to the watches of Formula 1 here – and the relationships between F1 teams and watchmakers have produced some pretty exciting special edition watches over the years.

Some of the best collaborations have come from IWC Schaffhausen, which has partnered with the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team since 2013. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s domination of the turbo-hybrid era during the 2010s means that IWC has become a very familiar brand among F1 fans. Unlike some brands who pen deals with racing teams, IWC has taken full advantage of their partnership with Mercedes, having produced some very cool collabs and even used Lewis Hamilton and his star power to sneakily debut upcoming watch releases, turning F1 weekends into watch spotting bonanzas.

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 on stand

But on paper, IWC’s association with motorsport through Mercedes is kind of a weird one, as IWC is actually best known for making pilot’s watches, not racing watches. Okay, sometimes F1 drivers get called ‘pilots’, but it’s not the same. Also, despite their association with motorsports, IWC has never produced a true motorsports chronograph. Well, up until now, that is. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41, another collaboration with Mercedes, is the first proper motorsports chronograph from the Schaffhausen brand, blending their classic pilot’s watch aesthetics with that of a racing chrono.

The case

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 bezel

So, you might be asking yourself, what makes the Performance Chronograph different from the dozens of other Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41s that IWC has made over the years, including the ones they’ve made with Mercedes? It’s even still got ‘Pilot’ in the name. Well, it’s very simple: unlike those other Chrono 41s, the Performance Chronograph features a tachymeter bezel, crafted from polished black ceramic. It’s a simple tweak that we’re surprised IWC hasn’t introduced sooner, but we’re very glad they have.

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 ceratanium on wrist

To be clear: the Performance Chronograph isn’t the first IWC chronograph with a tachymetre bezel or their first attempt at a motorsports-inspired chrono. There’s been a few Ingenieurs over the years with tachymeters, but none of them have featured that classic tri-compax layout – to be honest, they’re different beasts. The Performance Chronograph is, however, the first Chrono 41 with a tachymeter bezel.

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 ceratanium dial

The Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 comes in two main flavours: a grade 5 titanium model (officially called the “Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 AMG”) and a Ceratanium model (the “Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team” – what a name), the latter of which also features a running seconds hand and day/date window text in ‘Petronas Green’, a signature Mercedes colour (it’s actually the brand colour of the team’s major sponsor, but let’s not get technical).

The dial

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 dial

The addition of a tachymeter bezel makes the Performance Chronograph’s dial slightly smaller than other Chrono 41s. Another cool difference between it and other Chrono 41’s dials is that it features applied indices and numerals filled with Super-LumiNova rather than the painted indices found on other models. It also features azuraged subdials with raised timing rings. The devil’s in the details, but these tweaks help the Performance Chronograph stand out among the pack.

The bracelet

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 bracelets

Matching metal bracelets are available for both variants of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41, as well as black rubber straps. That’s not a trivial detail as the Ceratanium model is one of only a handful of IWC models to feature a full Ceratanium bracelet. (Actually, the first IWC to get a full Ceratanium bracelet was Lewis Hamilton’s piece unique ‘Black Lives Matter’ Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar, so there’s a nice little F1 connection there.)

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 rubber

Additionally, both the titanium and Ceratanium bracelets feature a three-link design that’s different from the five-link metal bracelets found on other Chrono 41s, which is another nice point of differentiation. The black rubber straps are nice, but I’d be tempted to commit to the Mercedes bit and throw a Petronas Green strap on the Performance Chronograph if I owned one.

The movement

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 movement

The movement within is the IWC calibre 69385, which features a column wheel, beats at 4 Hz and maintains a 46-hour power reserve. It’s a nicely finished movement, which makes it somewhat of a shame that it’s hard to admire: both Performance Chronograph variants feature smoked sapphire crystal casebacks with printed model designations that obscure the movement, with the titanium model additionally featuring a large AMG logo across its caseback. The Performance Chronograph is water-resistant to 100 metres: it features a screw-down crown but not screw-down pushers. The pushers are worth calling out as they’re extremely robust and satisfying to actuate.

The verdict

Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 lewis

This is a watch that’s been long overdue from IWC. While I would’ve liked to have seen a totally new from the ground up design for their first proper motorsports chrono, I think the way that IWC has tweaked the Chrono 41 – adding the tachymeter bezel and other distinct touches – has been very classy. Here’s a thought, too: with Lewis Hamilton moving to Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 World Championship, the Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 will be one of the last IWC watches we’ll see the GOAT wear during an F1 race weekend – so I also anticipate that these two timepieces might become a bit collectible…

IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 pricing and availability

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 is available now from IWC boutiques and onlinePrice: from A$15,300.

Brand IWC Schaffhausen
Model Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41
Reference Number IW388304 (titanium on bracelet)
IW388305 (titanium on rubber)
IW388306 (Ceratanium on bracelet)
IW388307 (Ceratanium on rubber)
Case Dimensions 41.1mm (D) x 14.8mm (T) x 51.8mm (LTL)
Case Material Titanium, Ceratanium
Water Resistance 100 metres, screw-down crown
Crystal(s) Sapphire, smoked sapphire caseback with printed AMG logo / model designation
Dial Black, applied indices and numerals filled with Super-LumiNova, recessed azuraged subdials
Strap Titanium / Ceratanium bracelet with folding clasp or black rubber with pin buckle
Movement IWC 69385, automatic
Power Reserve 46 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small hacking seconds, day/date, chronograph
Availability Available now for enquiries
Price IW388304 – A$18,300
IW388305 – A$15,300
IW388306 – A$22,900
IW388307 – A$33,800