International Watch Company or IWC has called Schaffhausen home since its founding in 1868. If Schaffhausen sounds German to you it’s probably because it sort of is, the town sits in a chunk of Switzerland surrounded on three sides by Deutschland, and German is the official language of the municipality. Florentine Ariosto Jones, an American watchmaker, traveled to this relatively remote town in the Rhine Valley to establish a company utilizing Swiss expertise and American industrial prowess—in 1868 IWC was born to do just that. An industrialist family by the name of Rauschenbach took over the company in 1880 and steered IWC for the next four generations. Under the Rauschenbach’s leadership, IWC most famously, in 1939, created an oversized wristwatch at the request of their importers in Portugal; this would slowly be referred to as the Portuguese. One year later, in 1940, the Big Pilot was born, and shortly thereafter utilized by the German Luftwaffe in WWII. Don’t worry, IWC was also a part of “The Dirty Dozen,” manufacturing W.W.W watches for the British Army during the war as well.
After the war, in 1948, IWC’s first Mk 11 was produced. A now iconic military watch design, the Mk 11 was powered by IWC’s caliber 89. This movement became the backbone of the company, notably used in some of the most beautiful and well-made dress watches of the era, right up there with Patek or Vacheron in finishing. From these extremely strong roots, IWC continually reinvented itself to survive the many shocks to the watch industry such as, in 1969, contributing to the development of the Beta 21 movement as the Swiss response to quartz movements and teaming up with Porsche Design in the late 1970s and 80s.
Long past were the days of sole Rauschenbach family ownership when in 2000 IWC’s parent company was acquired by luxury goods giant, Richmont. Many of the offerings we see today in the catalog were introduced, in some form, shortly after this acquisition. A clear focus began in 2002 when the brand introduced the first Big Pilot’s Watch. From there, abundantly clear has been IWC’s mission to reinvent classic watches from their past in very modern applications.
Starting in 2005, IWC partnered with the Saint-Exupéry-d’Agay Estate. This foundation is involved in numerous humanitarian efforts true to the goals of its namesake—French author, aviator pioneer, and all-around national hero—Antonie de Saint-Exupéry. Antonie’s novella “Le Petit Prince” has been translated into over 250 languages, the fourth most translated book in the world. In 2013, IWC introduced the first in the “Le Petit Prince” model line, a Mk XVII time-only pilot’s watch with a distinctive midnight blue starburst dial to invoke the mystery of the sky at night.
For auction is an IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph “Le Petit Prince” with that same striking blue dial as is the case with all iterations of the Saint-Exupéry inspired variants under the name of his great novella. First produced in 2016, this chronograph “Le Petit Prince” is a great representation of what modern IWC is all about, taking decades-old, classic design cues and reinterpreting them into an application that modern watch enthusiasts can relate to. Powered by a heavily modified ETA 7750 that is renamed by IWC as the caliber 79320, this chronograph sports a 43mm case and comes fitted to its original IWC leather strap. Additionally, the watch comes with its original box with manual and warranty card.
The case is in great to excellent condition as any modern watch really should be. Original and unpolished or even dulled original finishes are seen in all the right places such as the tops of the lugs. Only small dings or scratches are present such as that highlighted in the photos on the lower left or 7 o’clock lug. The screw-down crown is correctly signed with a retro IWC logo and the crystal is free of any noticeable flaws. Lastly, the caseback shows some slight scratching or wear but no deep gouges.
The Dial and Hands
Condition of the dial and handset is great with no flaws to note.
The IWC caliber 79320 is in good running order, the seller notes no issues mechanically.
|Model||Pilot’s Chronograph “Le Petit Prince”|
|Movement||Automatic, IWC Cal. 79320|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|