The Swiss watch manufacture will soon start selling its new IWC UTC Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery limited edition automatic watch.
Well, this watch is not really new in a sense that it is a brand new timekeeper with design you have never seen before. Despite significantly larger case, which is now crafted from precious rose gold alloy, this is basically the same ‘Spitfire UTC’ ref. IW325110 that was first released back in 2006. Still, with the new body and all those tweaks on the dial however minor they look, this timekeeper seems to look a lot better making it an ultimate choice for someone who wants a vintage-styled pilot’s watch on a dressier side.
Of course, it’s not the first time that IWC pays homage to one of the best French writers of 20th century who was also a successful aviator.
Joining the French Air Force in 1939, Exupery died in July 1944 when his Lockheed P38 Lightning plane disappeared somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea during a reconnaissance flight.
Two years ago the company unveiled a limited edition of its IWC Pilot’s Watch Chrono-Automatic Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery (Ref. IW3717).
Selling a total of 1931 (the year that his Night Flight book was published) watches, the Swiss manufacture perhaps decided to also commemorate the 65th anniversary of Exupery’s opus magnum: The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) novella that made him famous.
While the chronograph model featured the ETA Valjoux 7750-based Caliber 79320 automatic movement, this watch is powered by the IWC Caliber 30710 automatic movement.
Built on 23 jewels, beating at 28,800 bph and offering a power reserve of 42 hours, the movement is based on another ETA ebauche: the well-known caliber ETA 2893, which is basically the good old ETA 2892 with an added GMT module.
In most cases adding an extra complication module which is not a, well, natural-born part of a mechanism tends to significantly compromise its long-term reliability, but in this particular case this is not really a problem, since, being produced by the same maker of blank calibers, it is not only better tested, but is also a lot easier to service and repair by any qualified professional.
We have already seen this movement in the aforementioned IWC Spitfire UTC model and, let me stress this once again to make things perfectly clear, this new IWC UTC Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery is actually the same Spitfire UTC, which is equipped with a new dial and a stamped solid case back.
The “UTC” part of its name means that the watch is capable of displaying a second time zone, which is indicated in an arc-shaped aperture at 6 o’clock. Frankly, I don’t find the way the extra time zone is displayed especially fascinating, but that’s subjective. From the point of view of pure legibility, I have no problem with the indicator: the numerals are clearly visible through wide aperture, and are printed using a well-chosen typeface, which is large enough to be read without straining one’s eyes.
The signature Arabic numerals on the dial proper are covered with thick layer of Superluminova making nighttime legibility almost ideal for a normal person. Perhaps, the “A” (a part of the writer’s first name) is a little bit off here, but, well, they needed to do something to make the watch more “exclusive”.
Limited to 1188 units in steel, 500 in rose gold (pictured,) and only 250 units in white gold, the watch is housed in a 44mm case with an AR-coated sapphire crystal and is water resistant up to 60 meters.
While the 39 mm Spitfire UTC was more versatile looking good on any type of wrist, this one, while clearly not suitable for those with thinner wrists due to its lug to lug length of some 53 millimeters, looks more proportional and slender thanks to visually thinner bezel and case profile.
IWC says that the rose gold version of this beautiful watch will be available at a price of €13,600, which is pretty much affordable for this kind of timepiece.
IWC UTC Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery limited edition watch specification:
Price range: €13,600 for the rose gold version
Movement: IWC caliber 30710, base ETA 2893, Swiss Made
Movement winding: Automatic
Complications: Date, second time-zone
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Steel / Rose gold / White gold
Case diameter: 44.00 mm
Case height: No data
Dial: Chocolate brown
Water resistance: 60 meters
Strap: Brown leather strap
Back: Solid, engraved