IWC has been synonymous with pilot’s watches for nearly a century. The brand debuted its first Special Pilot’s watch—the Ref. 436, known as the Mark IX—back in 1936. Over the years, the designs have modernized, offering the latest technology and materials, and yet the core purpose of the collection has remained true: create a highly functional object with pilots in mind. Today, IWC doubles down on the utilitarian nature of its pilot collection with the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces.
While IWC’s pilot’s watches have long captured the hearts of enthusiasts and collectors, professional pilots remain central to informing the brand’s design process. Its Professional Pilot’s Watches Program emerged from IWC’s partnership with the U.S. Navy and has resulted in collaborations between the brand and jet pilots. The all-new Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces takes inspiration and gets its name from a pilot’s watch IWC first engineered for members of a squadron based at the Naval Air Station Lemoore in California called the Strike Fighter Squadron 41 (VFA-41), also known as the “Black Aces.”
For the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces, IWC gives its pilot’s watch a fully luminous dial for the first time, taking night visibility to the next level. To achieve this, the brand uses a solid disc of Super-LumiNova that’s crisp white in the day and emits a bright green light in the dark. This dial design requires a complex manufacturing process in which high-grade Super-LumiNova pigments are mixed with a binder, cast into a circular mold, and hardened in a specially developed curing process to give the material a ceramic-like durability. The resulting disc is fixed onto a soft-iron dial blank where it can be imprinted with the indices, numerals, and the signature “Black Aces” patch, which resembles the ace of spades from a card deck.
The attention to detail and practicality extends to other elements of the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces, including the case. This is made of black zirconium oxide ceramic with a lightweight titanium caseback, featuring an engraving of the “Black Aces” twin-engine jet against a backdrop of spades. Powering this innovative model is the IWC’s own caliber 32100. The full package is complete with a black textile strap, making it highly wearable.
The Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces is available today and priced at $6,800. For more information and to purchase, visit the IWC website.