IWC Schaffhausen continues its partnership with the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, founded by the family of the famed French pilot and author of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), with the release of a new limited edition timepiece commemorating Saint Exupéry’s nonstop crossing of the Atlantic in 1939. Here’s the story behind the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph Edition “80 Years Flight to New York” edition, and a brief description of the watch’s considerable attributes.
The watch, a limited edition of just 80 pieces, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the author-aviator’s trip (as a passenger) aboard the French flying boat Latécoère 521 from Paris to New York, a milestone in early aviation history — and also significant in the life of Saint-Exupéry, as it was during his time in New York that he wrote Le Petit Prince. This new execution of IWC’s Pilot’s Watch Timezoner, which was introduced in 2016, features a 46-mm stainless steel case with a brown rotating bezel made of ceramic and a sepia-tone brown dial inspired, IWC says, by the color of pilots’ suits from its namesake’s era. Completing the ensemble is a matching brown calfskin strap with white contrast stitching. Denoting this model as a special edition are the red-colored indications for “Paris” and “New York” on the bezel, which is inscribed with the names of 24 world cities, one for each time zone.
The watch is equipped with IWC’s patented, easy-to-use world-time function, in which the wearer can quickly and easily re-set the time, along with the date and 24-hour hand, in a single turn of the bezel. One simply presses the city-ring bezel down, turns it so the city representing the desired time zone is at 12 o’clock, and releases. Both the hour hand and the small, red-tipped 24-hour hand will move synchronously with the turning of the bezel, and the date display will also change accordingly, either forward or backward. Furthermore, the 24-hour hand, which indicates the time on an inner ring, ensures that the wearer always will know whether it is day or night in his selected time zone. The advance of the minute hand, and all the watch’s other functions, are unaffected while changing time zones. The automatic movement powering this user-friendly world-time function, IWC Caliber Caliber 89760, also hosts a chronograph function with a subdial at 12 o’clock whose two hands indicate the stopwatch minutes and hours in an analog-type display. It is also equipped with an integrated flyback function that allows the user to instantly return the chrono hands to zero and begin a new timing sequence. In addition to the chronograph counter subdial, the dial showcases a small (hacking) seconds display on the subdial at 6 o’clock and a date window at 3 o’clock.
The movement, which stores a 68-hour power reserve when fully wound, is protected behind a solid steel caseback with an engraved illustration of the Latecoere 521 aircraft. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph Edition “80 Years Flight to New York” is available now at IWC boutiques and authorized retailers, priced at $13,100. IWC says that the full proceeds from the first piece in the series (1 of 80) will support the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation in its mission to combat illiteracy among children worldwide.