During World War II, IWC was one of twelve brands commissioned by the British Ministry of Defense to produce mil-spec watches meant to be worn by soldiers in the field. IWC’s contribution to the “Dirty Dozen” was the Mark X, a beautiful time-only watch equipped with arabic numerals, sword hands, small seconds, and the hand-wound caliber 83. The Mark X was decommissioned in 1948 and replaced by the now famous Mark XI. This new pilot's watch contained several upgrades to the dial and movement including the iconic triangle lume plot at 12 o’ clock, a paddle hour hand, central seconds, and the chronometer grade caliber 89–now protected by an anti-magnetic soft iron shield. The Mark XI remained in service until the 1980s where it was phased out and ultimately unreplaced by the MoD.
No longer commissioned by the military, IWC sensed an opportunity to offer a pilot's watch to the general public and in 1993 released the Mark XII. The move proved to be a smashing success, and in 1999 the manufacture brought the series fully into modern watchmaking with the release of the Mark XV. The latest iteration featured several drastic updates including a 2 mm bump in case size, the use of Super-LumiNova instead of tritium, and a thicker font for improved legibility. In addition, the watch came equipped with an ETA-based movement for the first time, though IWC pulled no punches and essentially rebuilt and refinished a chronometer grade 2892-A2.
While it may not be able to outweigh the significance of the Mark XI, the Mark XV has become an important part of IWC's history due to being the last traditionally styled pilot's watch. Subsequent releases utilized thick sword hands, sans serif numerals, and even larger cases that moved the line away from it's restrained and charming roots. Yet for collectors who appreciate the style and heritage of the original pilot's watch, but prefer a modern take, the Mark XV and it's svelte 38 mm case remains a no-brainer choice and can still be found for a bargain relative to both vintage and current production models.
IWC black calfskin strap with deployant buckle
Max Wrist Size:
Hand model has a wrist size of 6.2 in
UNWORN: Case is pristine with no signs of use. Original stickers may still be present. Dial, hands, and lume have no imperfections and may show natural, even aging.
MINT: Case has only a few superficial hairlines. Lugs are thick, full, and sharp with superb finishing. Dial, hands, and lume may have micro imperfections visible only with a loupe.
EXCELLENT: Case has very light scratches or nicks. Lugs are thick, full, and well-defined. Dial and hands may have imperfections visible upon close inspection. Lume is fully intact and may show slight discoloration.
VERY GOOD: Case may have a few moderate scratches or nicks. Lugs are thick and full but may have softened edges. Dial and hands may have light stains or marks. Lume may have cracks or discoloration.
GOOD: Case has many scratches and nicks. Lugs may show signs of moderate polishing with worn edges. Dial and hands may have noticeable stains or marks. Lume may be damaged or show significant discoloration.
Case: The case is in near-mint condition with the satin-brushed finishing very much intact. There are a couple faint scratches, scuffs, and micro nicks to note, but the overall impression is very clean. The lugs are thick and strong with excellent definition. The bezel is wonderfully preserved with only a few faint scratches and a crisp edgeline between brushed and polished surfaces. The caseback is in really nice condition but the polished portion does shows a little more wear than the rest with some minor scuffing towards the edges and a few light scratches here and there. The model and serial number engravings remain sharp and legible.
Dial, Hands, & Crystal: The matte black dial and polished hands are in excellent condition with fully functioning Super-LumiNova. The dial does show some very faint marks near the center that are only visible upon close inspection. The brand new OEM sapphire crystal is completely clean and scratch-free.
Bracelet/Strap: The black calfskin strap shows light signs of wear with some creasing at the holes. The deployant buckle also show signs of wear with a couple light scratches.
Functions: All functions including the crown winding, time setting, and quickset date are working as expected.
Service History: The watch recently underwent a full service by Superior Watch Service that was completed on 05/16/2023.