The IWC Mark series of watches could arguably be considered the most “IWC” of any of the watches IWC makes. It’s obviously core to their larger pilot watch collection, which itself is possibly the style of watch most closely associated with the brand today. The Mark watches are simple, no fuss aviation themed timekeepers, and have historically been moderately sized, relatively affordable, and come in just about any color you like as long as it’s black, or blue, and sometimes white. There’s been a long run of them through the years and after sitting on Mark XVIII since its release in 2016, they’re finally back with the Mark XX (yes, they skipped right over the Mark XIX). There are some very small changes to the dial, but the big news here is really the new movement, which has gone in-house for the first time on a Mark series watch, and provides an impressive upgrade in terms of raw specs right off the bat.
Before we get to the new caliber, let’s briefly run through the aesthetic changes to the dial. They are mostly fairly minor, but together they add up to something a bit more contemporary, ultimately making this watch feel like the product of slow evolution that it undoubtedly is. The first change that’s easily noticeable when you look at the watches side by side is that the IWC logo near 12:00 has been moved closer to the top of the dial. Along with that shift, the numerals indicating the hours around the dial’s perimeter have been shifted very slightly toward the center of the dial, and the markers at the cardinal positions are now rectangular instead of square. The dial, at least in photos, feels more compact as a result, and will perhaps be just a bit more legible at a glance, but that’s really tough to say and even tougher to quantify.
A lot has been said about the date window on the Mark XVIII, and it was the hope of many IWC fans that the oddly placed date indicator would be fixed on a future version of the watch. Have those prayers been answered? Well, kind of. It’s very hard to tell without both watches in hand, but the date window now appears to be more in line with the dial’s Arabic numerals, which would seem to resolve the big complaint from the XVIII, namely that the window was situated too close to the center of the dial in relation to the printed elements around it. It looks like instead of moving the date window on the XX, though, what we’re seeing is a better overall cohesion thanks to the shifting of the numerals. The date window also now has a contrasting white background, which matches the white of the dial indicators. Normally we’d like to see a date window color matched to the dial, but this might be the rare exception.
In any event, the date window placement, as ever, is more a function of the movement than anything else, and that brings us to the 32111, the IWC caliber powering the new Mark XX. This would appear to be a movement in the same family as what’s used in the latest version of IWC’s Spitfire, which debuted the 32110 two years ago. The key difference between the 32111 and the 32110 would appear to be the power reserve: the latter has about 72 hours of reserve on a full wind, but the 32111 in the IWC has an impressive 120. Five days of power on a watch like (or really, any watch) is a great feature.
The rest of the specs on the XX hew fairly close to the XVIII, but improve marginally in important areas. The diameter is still 40mm, which remains a great footprint for a pilot’s watch in this style, but the XX is a hair thinner, coming in at 10.8mm versus the 11mm on the previous version of the watch. Water resistance is increased to a full 100 meters against 60 meters on the XVIII, which feels like a more significant improvement, and could drastically change the utility of this watch for some wearers who might be more inclined to get it wet. It still comes mounted to the familiar pilot style leather strap IWC is known for, with no bracelet option at this time, which is kind of a bummer, because the pilot bracelet IWC is using these days is quite good. Black and blue dial options are on offer, and the watch retails for $5,250. IWC