When we think of IWC chronographs, their series of Pilot’s Watch Chronographs are probably what comes immediately to our minds. There is an absolutely dizzying selection of chronographs across the Pilot collection, and the references go back years. Today, IWC unveils what they are referring to as “Performance Chronographs” that are technically (and somewhat weirdly, I have to say) still part of the Pilot lineup, but have a more motorsport forward focus. The new chronos seen here follow watches released in the past as part of their partnership with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, but have some aesthetic and design tweaks that make them feel a bit more road ready. While the AMG Petronas Pilot’s Watch Chronograph was basically a new colorway in a titanium case, the Performance Chronographs see additional updates to the dial that distinguish it from other watches in IWC’s Pilot space, which begs the question: why call these “Pilot” watches at all?
What we have here are two new references, the Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 AMG, and the Pilot’s Watch Performance Chronograph 41 Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. Both are built on IWC’s popular 41mm Pilot’s Watch Chronograph case, with the former in titanium, and the latter the brand’s proprietary Ceratanium alloy. On the surface, the broad strokes here are familiar, but when you get into the granular details, some new features emerge. Most notably, these dials have a glossy finish – I can’t think of another watch in the Pilot collection with this type of dial treatment, which tends to favor matte or very subtle sunburst dials. The chronograph subdials are also more pronounced in how they are recessed, and each feature an outer ring to further define them, adding more depth to the dial as a whole.
The big change, though, and the one that is either the most jarring or most welcome depending on your point of view, is the outboard tachymeter scale bezel, rendered in black ceramic on both watches. While a tachymeter scale is ornamental for most users, if you’re going to make a watch that has real ties to racing, it’s still a necessity. Needless to say, the addition of a tachy bezel changes the look of IWC’s 41mm Pilot’s Chrono fairly dramatically.
The other item here that feels particularly newsworthy relates specifically to the Ceratanium “Team” edition of the watch, which like other watches that have been made by IWC to highlight their F1 partnership features touches of Petronas Blue on the dial. With this watch, collectors have the opportunity to purchase it on a matching Ceratanium bracelet, an option that is uncommon in the IWC catalog. It comes, however, at a cost. The retail price on the Team watch on a rubber strap is $13,700. On the Ceratanium bracelet? You’re looking at a $19,900 retail price. (The titanium versions retail for $9,800 and $11,700 on a strap and bracelet, respectively).
The specs on each watch are otherwise identical to other 41mm Pilot’s Chronographs in the collection. The cases are 14.8mm thick, and the watches are powered by IWC’s 69385 caliber with 46 hours of power reserve. They are rated to 100 meters of water resistance, and have sapphire crystals and screw down crowns. Head over to IWC for more information.