Let’s be honest, chances are you can’t actually fly a plane. In fact, your most testing aerial experience was probably that one time you’d just got on a long-haul flight and the person in front reclined their seat all the way back right at the beginning of the journey. Despite this lack of time in the cockpit, you might still be quite partial to a pilot’s watch for the way in which they combine tough functionality with clean looks and a touch of Top Gun panache. Pilot’s watches, after all, sit alongside divers, chronographs and field watches as perennial favourites in the tool-watch department. They’re also the speciality of IWC, whose website lists more than 60 different varieties of the species. But even with all that competition, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 is well worth a closer look.
This watch is more evolution than revolution. Essentially IWC has tinkered with some of the finer details to make this watch more inviting. More specifically, they whittled down the case size to 41mm, offered a choice of quick-change straps and beefed up the water resistance to 100m. Because why reinvent the wheel when it’s already taxiing down the runway so comfortably.
While the smaller case will broaden the watch’s appeal to the more slender of wrist, it doesn’t significantly diminish the watch’s overall presence. That’s because the bezel that encircles the dial is extremely thin, affording the face plenty of real estate to pack in the various chronograph sub dials and date window. Its deep green colours gleams with a rich sunburst finish, but not so much to compromise the legibility for which IWC’s pilot’s watches are renowned. There’s a lot going on here, but all the details have the space to breathe.
The watch also delivers maximum versatility due to its range of straps. You can choose between a dressy five-link bracelet or a tapered leather or rubber strap. The good news is that you can switch things up easily without the assistance of a watchmaker or fiddly tools, due to the use of Richemont’s quick-change technology. This allows you to effortlessly change between your preferred options, altering the look and feel from dressy to sporty.
Also available in a blue dial version, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 is a quietly formidable all-rounder. With a 46-hour power reserve, decent water resistance and chronograph functionality, it offers no shortage of practical utility as a tool watch. But with a mesmerising green dial and an open caseback putting the movement on full display, it’s also an indisputably handsome watch that’s suitable for the high life in every respect. Price: $9800, iwc.com