Here we are with the IWC Mark XVIII that was introduced among the 2016 re-newed Pilot’s Watches Collection novelties and highly appreciated with its back-to-the-origins design and relatively affordable price tag.
The Mark model family was inspired by the B-Uhr type pilot’s watches of 1930s developed for German Air Force and the legendary IWC Mark XI model which has been ordered by the British Ministry of Defense for the use of British Air Force at 1948. The model, which was presented among the other novelties at the SIHH 2016 exhibition, became one of the most talked about models of the renewed Pilot’s Watches Collection with its cleverly applied upgrades in both technical and cosmetic titles. We had the opportunity to see the model at the brand’s beautiful boutique in Nişantaşı – Istanbul.
IWC Mark XVIII comes in a stainless steel case measuring 40mm in diameter. Its difference with the previous version offered in a 41mm case may not look like a big deal, but the new model is obviously better in terms of wearing comfort and proportions. The case, which is mostly satinated, sports an AR coated scratch resistant sapphire crystal on the front side and a solid stainless steel caseback with an old bomber aircraft illustration engraved on the rear side. The case features a winding crown that is designed ergonomically in line with the concept and it is equipped with a soft iron cage which is resistant to magnetic environments. Water resistance rating is 50 meters.
The IWC Mark XVIII collection features two different dial alternatives. We have the black dial (Ref. IW327001) version here for review which is also my personal favorite. At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that the Mark XVIII model offers design details closer to the Mark model line's past versions and to the general DNA of the series. Like with the 40mm relatively compact case, those details are also found in the dial as well. First of all, the hour marker at 9 o’clock is back. It was deleted by the introduction of the Mark XVI version in 2006 and I am sure it was missed by the model’s fans. More importantly, the triple date display, which I could never warmed up to, is replaced with a standard date display located at 3 o’clock. Well, it would be better if there was no date display at all but concerning the previous triple date thing, I describe this change as a positive upgrade. Apart from these two small but important touches, it is possible to say that the dial is prepared in a general sense by being loyal to the characteristic design of the Mark model family. The legibility of the dial is supported by large Arabic indices and sword type hands. With the addition of SuperLuminova phosphorus material, the dial provides excellent legibility in darker environments as well.
The model is powered by the brand’s Caliber Ref. 301110 which is actually a tuned ETA 2892. The self-winding movement beats at 4Hz and offers 42 hours of power reserve when fully wound. The movement, which cannot be seen due to the solid stainless steel caseback, is protected with a soft iron cage against magnetic environments.
IWC Mark XVIII is offered with a pair of strap and a stainless steel bracelet options. The version we have here comes on a brown calf skin strap with contrast white stitching. The strap is secured by an IWC signed pin buckle made of stainless steel. My personal preference would be the brown strap as I think it fits the overall design nicely and matches with the heritage of the model family. However, the stainless steel bracelet has its own charm and buying the watch on the stainless steel bracelet with bonus brown leather strap/buckle aside seems to be the best move.
The IWC Mark XVIII is one of the new models in the collection of Pilot Watches that the brand renovated last year. I am sure that the watch enthusiasts that are into aviation inspired timepieces will like the model with its more classic looking style, optimal size and different strap/bracelet options.