In the category of “Watches that DIdn’t Do Much for Me Right Away But Are Now Living Rent Free in my Head,” the current iteration of IWC’s pilot’s chronograph looms large. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is a staple for the brand, and they’ve had one in production pretty much constantly for years (I looked at a future-classic version about a year ago). The current version has a 41mm case, which is sized down slightly compared to the reference preceding it, and IWC’s still relatively new in-house chronograph movement. The standard blue and green dial variants are very nice, but as IWC has started to offer new spins on those introductory models, I’ve found myself becoming a bigger fan of the package in general. Now, perhaps somewhat predictably, they’ve debuted yet another version of the Pilot’s Watch Chrono, this time in a bronze case.
Bronze watches, of course, are nothing new, and have gone from a hot new trend only a handful of years ago to a separate category that’s as much a mainstay as precious metals or green dials. The appeal of bronze in a sports watch is two-fold (at least): it offers an alternative to steel or titanium that has, at times and depending on its composition, the look of a precious metal, and it will also patina naturally as its exposed to the elements, resulting in an easily reversible weathered look prized by many. The problem, if you see it as one, with bronze is that it’s relatively soft and thus not particularly well suited to sports watch applications, so brands go through a great effort to come up with or source just the right alloy to balance robustness with luster alongside an ability to patina just the right amount. It’s a tricky balancing act.
For the new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 in bronze, IWC uses an alloy that contains a mixture of copper along with aluminum and iron. According to IWC, this combination equates to a metal that’s 50% harder than standard bronze, making the watch suitable for the kinds of activities IWC would tell you a watch like this is made for, which probably involves piloting all manner of aircraft without the most up to date GPS technology. Importantly, it should also still exhibit signs of patina over time, whether you’re bashing it around in a WWII era plane, or doing something more sedate, like sitting on a beach and letting the salt air do its thing.
The blue dial here is a nice match for the warm tones of the bronze case, and has gold-plated hands that set it apart from the blue dial you’re familiar with from last year’s stainless steel Pilot’s Watch Chronograph. That watch had stark white contrasting markers throughout, and this one, naturally, has accents in gold and bronze tones that give it a completely different look and feel. In terms of technical specifications, however, it’s exactly the same as the other 41mm chronographs IWC has released in the last year, with 100 meters of water resistance, and the 69385 caliber with 46 hours of power reserve and a column wheel. The watch is mounted to a blue textile strap, and features the convenient and easy to use EasX-CHANGE system which allows users to quickly remove and replace IWC straps without the need for a tool.
The new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 in bronze is available now through IWC boutiques and authorized dealers, and is priced at $7,300. IWC