The worlds of motorsport and watchmaking have a relationship far beyond just surface-level marketing. Both demand high levels of precision and engineering excellence, where just a matter of seconds can make all the difference. They also rely on each other for inspiration and measurement; watches copy the streamlined aesthetics of cars to ensure comfort on the wrist while motorsport champions would be at a loss without the timings of chronographs and tachymeter scales.
It's for this reason that almost every big-name watch brand at some point has had a connection to the motorsport world. TAG Heuer is married to Porsche, Rolex has sponsored numerous Formula 1 events and of course, IWC Schaffhausen has been a dedicated partner to Mercedes-AMG and the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One team since 2004.
Now in celebration of their longstanding partnership, IWC Schaffhausen is launching something entirely new for the Pilot’s Watch collection. The Swiss watch brand has been involved in the motorsport industry for nearly two whole decades, and interestingly, they’ve only ever equipped Mercedes-AMG drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, with aviation instruments. There’s nothing wrong with their Pilot’s Watch collection, of course, but these racetrack professionals are certainly worthy of something more dedicated to their sport.
And so, IWC has just launched two Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 watches with design features very much suited to motor racing. Sure, they still have the Pilot’s Watch DNA at their core, but their functionality and design is without doubt dedicated to the racetrack.
Speaking on the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph watches, Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, commented:
“The Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 combines our extensive know-how in developing industry-leading chronographs with our comprehensive expertise in advanced materials. Both these new chronographs feature ceramic bezels with tachymeter scales, adding the dimension of speed to the highly accurate stop time measurements and making these robust chronographs the perfect companions for people with a dynamic, fast-paced lifestyle.”
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph comes in two different case materials with each paired with a choice of two straps. The first two references, IW388304 and IW388305 are engineered from lightweight grade 5 titanium and secured by a matching titanium bracelet or black rubber strap respectively. The final two models, IW388306 and IW388307, are crafted from the brand’s innovative Ceratanium. This material combines the lightness and structural integrity of titanium with a hardness and scratch-resistance similar to ceramic. These models are fitted on a Ceratanium bracelet or rubber strap.
Other than their differing case metals, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 watches deliver the same set of specs. They measure to 41.1mm wide and 14.8mm tall and come equipped with screw in crowns, sapphire crystal glass on both sides and a 100 metre water resistant rating. The titanium model has brushed and polished finishing while the Ceratanium has a completely matte, dark-grey finish.
Setting the IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronographs apart to everything else in the IWC Pilot’s collection is the bezel. No longer unadorned and simply part of the case, the bezel is now an additional black polished ceramic insert decorated with a tachymeter scale. The addition significantly changes the overall look of the aviation instrument and really helps bring the watch into the motorsport world.
There are some notable differences made to the dials of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 watches too. No longer matte, the dial is decorated with a polished black lacquer with a nice glossy surface. It also has recessed azurage-adorned counters with superimposed frames and black nickel numerals and hands. All of the main hardware is adorned with Superluminova for added legibility and the Ceratanium adds a pop of turquoise colour to the day and date complication and small seconds hand.
The engine of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph is the brand’s in-house Calibre 69385 automatic winding movement. It has a column-wheel mechanism and bi-directional pawl winding system for a 46 hour power reserve and frequency of 28,800vph. The movement is displayed through a grey-tinted sapphire case back, which on the titanium model includes a white printed AMG logo.
All four IWC Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 watches are part of the permanent collection. Titanium reference IW388304 with the bracelet retails at £10,400 while its rubber strap counterpart under reference IW388305 retails at £8,650. The Ceratanium reference IW388306 on the rubber is priced at £12,100 while the bracelet model IW388307 comes to £17,800.
- Brand: IWC
- Model: Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41
- Price: Starts from £8,650
- Material: Titanium or Ceratanium
- Movement: Calibre 69385 automatic winding
- Complications: Hours, minutes, small seconds, day-date and chronograph with central seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers
- Dial: Black lacquered with Superluminova hands and numerals
- Size: 41.1mm wide, 14.8mm tall
- When the reviewer would personally wear it: These are a little sporty for my taste, but if I ever had a reason to visit a racetrack, it would be silly not to flex a watch like this.
- A friend we’d recommend it to first: Any motorsport enthusiast, especially a supporter of the Mercedes-AMG team, would love this.
- Best characteristics of the watch: The tachymeter bezel really changes the look of the IWC Pilot’s watch and it’s refreshing to see.
- The worst characteristics of the watch: They’re a little on the expensive side and I have no doubt the mass of Mercedes branding will put a lot of buyers off.
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