IWC Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince edition

By Jason Swire, October 30 2018
IWC Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince edition

The Le Petit Prince edition of IWC's popular Mark XVIII is a whimsical take on the historic aviation tale of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Whether you're an aviation aficionado, a devoted reader of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's poetic novella, or just on the market for an attractive blue-dialled daily wearer, the IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Edition "Le Petit Prince" has you covered.

This watch offers a youthful new dial colour to one of IWC's most recognized and historic collections, making this an excellent entry point into the storied Swiss brand.

Schaffhausen-based IWC produced its first dedicated pilots watch back in 1936, with a model which became colloquially known as the Mark IX and the forerunner of a new generation of military watches.

Today's Mark XVIII signals a return of this collection to its aviation roots, reducing the case size to a more universally-appealing 40mm with an overall much cleaner look.

The dial of the Le Petit Prince version features a new "midnight blue" colourway with a sunburst finish, meant to evoke the view of the night sky above the stranded Little Prince.

A brown calfskin strap from Italian leatherworker Santoni completes the look, with cream coloured stitching intended to be reminiscent of author Saint-Exupéry’s flight suit.

Much like the military-issue Mark XI, this watch features a soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields, a sapphire crystal face secured against displacement by a drop in air pressure, and a high-quality automatic movement to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Water resistance is rated at 6 Bar or approximately 60 meters, which isn’t quite sufficient for swimming or water sports but should certainly survive an immersion. The case back is stamped with an image of the Little Prince to reinforce the theme of this timepiece.

The link between Le Petit Prince and IWC's Mark XVIII collection seems tenuous at first, until one remembers that Saint-Exupéry was an aviation pioneer himself. His experiences as a pilot, particularly his 1935 crash landing in the Sahara Desert would go on to inspire the creation of Le Petit Prince. This timepiece is thus a fitting tribute to the famed novella, as well as being a piece of living aviation history in its own right.

Priced at approximately $6,100 this is also one of IWC's more attainable timepieces, which makes the Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Edition "Le Petit Prince" an excellent choice for a durable and recognizable daily wearer.

Jason Swire

Jason Swire is a Sydney-based writer, watch collector and author of 'Timely Advice', a beginner's guide to fine timepieces. His non-watch passions include hi-fi and whiskey, in that order.

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