IWC. A Rare Stainless Steel Pilot’s Watch with Extract from the Archives
Model: Fliegeruhr, Mark X
Case No: 113xxxx (M13xxx)
Cal. 83 mechanical movement, 15 jewels, black matte dial, white Arabic numerals with luminous accents on an outer minute ring, luminous hands, subsidiary dial for constant seconds, stainless steel case, flat bezel, snap on case back engraved with the broad arrow and “W.W.W. M13xxx”, case, dial, and movement signed.
Accompanied by an IWC Extract from the Archives confirming the present watch was sold on Febrary 21, 1945.
With the wide array of pilot’s watches being produced in the 1930’s, the IWC Mark series are some of the most famous. The first of the IWC Mark series, Mark IX, was produced in 1936, and known as the “Spezialuhr für Flieger” or “Special Pilot’s Watch”. It featured a black dial, luminous hands, and a rotating bezel for measuring up to one hour of lapsed time. The movement was a caliber 83, which was shock-resistant and adjusted to extreme temperatures. The model was not actually known as the Mark IX until the next watch in the series was produced and designated the Mark X by the British Ministry of Defense, thus its predecessor became known as the Mark IX.
Like the Type 20 models, the Mark X designation was not given exclusively to IWC. The British Ministry of Defense ordered military watches from a number of companies (twelve in all) that would be produced to their specifications. The Mark X designation was given to all of the watches they issued, regardless of manufacturer. All Mark X watches had several design traits in common – the dials all featured Arabic numerals, had a subsidiary seconds dial, and were marked with a Broad-Arrow (for property of the British Crown). The case backs were all stamped “W.W.W.” for watch, wrist, and waterproof – and Mark X watches are often referred to as “WWW” watches for this reason.
In 1944, IWC delivered their first batch of Mark X watches, all featuring the caliber 83, and with dials signed IWC. Unlike the Mark IX, these watches did not have a rotating bezel for measuring time, and therefore were used by many military officers, not just pilots. It is interesting to note that the IWC Mark X had a snap on case back, while all of the other manufacturers used a screw back
The Mark X watches were produced through 1948, and a year later IWC began supplying RAF navigators with the next series of Mark models, the Mark XI. Having been produced for such a short period of time, the IWC Mark X is among the rarest of the “dirty dozen” (as the twelve companies that produced Mark X watches are known), and consequently highly sought after by collectors. The present watch is accompanied by an IWC Extract from the Archives, confirming production of the present watch and subsequent sale on February 21st of 1945.