Collective Horology and IWC Launch the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph C.03

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Back in July we covered the release of the Urwerk UR100V P.02, a limited release made in partnership with Collective Horology, a watch collectors group founded in 2018 for the purpose of creating collaborative watches for enthusiasts. That incredibly cool Urwerk had an eye watering price tag in excess of $60,000, making it Collective’s priciest collaboration to date. As we alluded to in our article over the summer, Collective has made a quick return with a fall release that’s a lot more approachable, and it happens to be a version of a watch that many who read the site regularly might already be familiar with: the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph.

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Blake Buettner went hands-on with the newest version of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph back in April, so be sure to check out that review for his impressions of how this watch wears and its technical capabilities. This new watch, officially dubbed the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “C.03”, is functionally identical, but is set apart by its unique colorway and some additional aesthetic features, as well as how the watch is purchased. “Unique colorway” actually might be overstating it a bit – this is a black dialed chronograph, not unlike many that came before it in the long history of IWC pilot’s chronographs. At a glance, it presents as something that you’d have expected IWC to have released on their own back when this new chrono debuted in the spring. 

So what, exactly, makes this watch different and worthy of being a limited edition and a ticket to entry into the Collective community? There are a few little quirks that set it apart, and are likely to interest longtime fans of the IWC brand, which was surely the intent of the project from the start. You’ll notice, for example, that the day disc uses German abbreviations, which is a tribute to the historic roots of IWC, which is based in Schaffhausen, right on the German border. Accents on the dial (hour markers and text) are in grey, accentuating the monochromatic theme of the watch, which is quite a bit different than the impact of the blue and green dials in the standard production run. 

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The other key aesthetic change requires one to flip the watch over, where you’ll be able to view a blackened rotor through the sapphire caseback. The nickel-plating process used on the winding rotor results in a high contrast element to the view of the movement that’s absent in the standard production model. Collective’s stated purpose here is to “highlight the brand’s watchmaking heritage…from the inside out.” 

That celebration is done largely in private through Collective Horology’s members only group, which launches a European branch with this IWC collaboration. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph “C.03” will be made in a limited run of 125 pieces, and is available only to Collective members, both existing and new. Those interested in joining the group are invited to complete an application through Collective’s website, which is then reviewed by a membership committee. Acceptance to the group enables one to purchase the watch, and gets them an invite to Collective’s private Facebook group, where members can get to know one another, talk watches, and, we can only assume, are taught various secret handshakes. 

For more information on Collective Horology, and to apply for membership, be sure to check out their website right here.

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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