IWC released the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph at this year’s SIHH, it is a great watch for the traveler tracking multiple timezones.This new timepiece with its unique way of quickly adjusting for timezone changes while traveling.
Historically, the original system for adjusting the timezone through the bezel was designed and developed by Michael Vogt of Vogard timepieces and independent watchmaker Thomas Prescher. This unique technical system was seen on Vogard timepieces and it was patently different from other timezone watches, which needed to be adjusted via the crown or a pusher. In 2015 IWC purchased the patent to the design and after further adjustments, released the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph. The brushed stainless steel case is 45mm in diameter and while it may be seem a little on the large, it is still eminently wearable. The pushers for the chronograph are rounded and the crown is knurled. The dial of the watch is black, accentuated by the white Arabic numerals and minute track. In keeping with the theme, the pilot’s watch signature white triangle with two dots is located at the 12 o’clock position. Located below is the totalizer for the minutes and hours for the flyback chronograph. At the 3 o’clock position is the date window. It is nice to see the colour of the date disc is a match for the dial. At the 6 o’clock is the running seconds hand. The hands for the hours, minutes and the chronograph functions are all white. To add a dash of colour the 24hr hand for the second time is black with the tip coloured red. As the chronograph is a flyback, it can be reset without needing to be stopped. Once the chronograph is started with the pusher at the 2 o’clock position, it can be reset quickly with the pusher at the 4 o’clock position which will reset the counters and new timing can be commenced.
The sapphire crystal has anti-reflective coating on both sides for maximum legibility. It can be argued placing it just on the inner side would be better since the anti-reflective coating on the outside of the crystal can be scratched. Completing the look of the watch is a black calfskin strap made by Santoni with stainless steel clasp.What makes the watch very functional (and technically different from all other Timezone watches) is the ease of use for adjusting the timezone while traveling and keeping track of hometime. The polished black bezel contains the names of 24 major cities around the world, which represent different timezones around the world. Cities that observe Summer time have an additional “S” indication to allow correct time to be observed when these cities advance their clocks 1 hour forward. IWC have incorporated their sprung rotating bezel first used on the Porsche Design Ocean 2000 in the 1980s and the system they developed for the inter rotating bezel on the Aquatimer line to link the bezel to the gear train.
To ensure the bezel isn’t moved by accident, pressure has to be applied on the top and bottom half of the bezel which will then allow the user to turn the bezel thus rotating the city ring to the relevant city/timezone they are flying into; adjusting the hour hand and the red-tipped 24hr hand simultaneously. The date also advances forward or backward depending on the direction the bezel is turned while not having any effect on minutes and running seconds. Once pressure is released, the bezel remains fixed, allowing the wearer to keep track of the time of the city they are currently in and the time at their point of origin (home time).Powering the watch is the self winding IWC manufactured 89760 calibre with flyback chronograph and second timezone with 68 hours power reserve. The solid stainless steel caseback is engraved with a depiction of a Junkers Ju 52 aircraft, which ties in nicely with the aviation theme.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph is a practical watch for the frequent traveler and the bezel system for adjusting for a different timezone is an intuitive feature facilitating ease of use. Priced at S$18,400, it provides great value considering the unique technical innovation (bezel system adjustment) and the flyback chronograph. At 45mm, it might be a tad large but thanks to its stainless steel construction, it’s still relatively understated.