IWC's Pilot's Watches were developed over 80 years ago as rugged and reliable instruments for airborne celestial navigation. That also determined the distinctive instrument look that has characterized the watches' design to this day. This version of the Pilot's Watch Automatic 36 was inspired by the iconic design of the Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII. The diameter of just 36 millimetres not only makes
the watch a perfect fit for a slightly slimmer wrist: it also marks a return to the original size of the Mark 11 navigation watch, which was produced in Schaffhausen for the Royal Air Force (RAF) from
1948. The watch has a stainless-steel case, a silvered dial and rhodium-plated hands. The technical features include a soft-iron inner case to protect the movement against magnetic fields and a front glass that was specially secured against sudden drops in pressure.
The Pilot Story IWC Influenced the cockpit-instrument look of classic pilot's watches during the 1930s and 1940s. The white triangular index at "12 0'clock" allowed pilots in the cockpit to instantly recognize the position of the hands and the time at a glance. The upright equilateral triangle has two dots at either side to make the dial easier to read, and is also luminescent. The black dials of cockpit instruments with their contrasting, luminescent displays has been the inspiration for the cockpit design of classic Pilot's Watches for decades. The dial is reduced to the bare essentials, with striking luminescent hands and numerals that stand out against the matte-black background. The striking conical crown of the Big Pilot's watch harks back to the pioneering days of aviation, when pilots had to face the elements in unheated cockpits. The original Pilot's Watches had particularly large crowns that were easy to grip so that they could be set and wound by a pilot wearing thick gloves and a padded light suit.