It was one of the most talked-about watches of SIHH 2016 and with good reason: the IWC Mark XVIII is both a great looking instrument watch and a return to long-wished-for clarity and simplicity in the Mark series of wristwatches from cheap replica IWC watches. We went hands-on with them in Geneva; read on to find out what impression they made “in the metal.”
The IWC Mark XVIII is the latest version in a series of watches that go all the way back to 1944, when the first of the Mark series of watches – the Mark X – was delivered to the UK. The Mark X wasn’t a pilot’s watch, but rather, a “general service” wristwatch intended for use in all service branches. The next in the series, however, was the Mark XI, which was first delivered to the RAF in 1948, and was intended specifically for use as a navigation wristwatch.
The movement – IWC caliber 89 – had center seconds (as opposed to the sub-seconds display of the Mark X) and was encased in a soft iron cage, for resistance to magnetism; and Mark XI watches were put through a 44-day test program to ensure rate stability and general reliability, especially across a very wide range of temperatures. High precision, durability and reliability, resistance to magnetism, and legibility above all else have been the key characteristics of the Mark series of watches ever since, and have made them, as pioneering Internet watch writer Walt Odets famously remarked, “every non-pilot’s favorite pilot’s watch.”
A series of watches so beloved for their purity in design and singleness of purpose naturally attracted a strong following, and it also created a certain standard by which subsequent iterations of the Mark series would be judged. Though it’s a fan favorite in recent years, when Mark XII first came out there were not a few IWC enthusiasts who were outraged to see a date guichet. The newest version of the Mark series has just been introduced by luxury replica IWC watches online at SIHH 2016, however, and it’s largely been greeted with applause.
It’s certainly one of the purest, cleanest, and most unadorned Mark watches in years, and thus, to IWC fans, a return, so to speak, to the true faith. Mark XVIII is simply what everyone wants from a Mark watch. It’s 40 mm in diameter, and there is nothing on the dial that shouldn’t be there; it’s antimagnetic thanks to a soft iron case and dial (true Mark loyalists don’t hold with newfangled antimagnetic materials in their Mark series watches), and the “9” is back on the dial where it belongs, as God intended.
The movement is purchased as a kit from ETA; however we’ve been to visit IWC in Schaffhausen and we can tell you they’re adjusted to five positions and IWC’s internal chronometry standards, which is value added where it counts (and the Mark watches have had supplied engines inside since the Mark XII anyway).
There are of course going to still be those who object to the hands (which, though not the shape found in Mark XI or XII, are the same shape used by IWC in its B-Uhr navigation watches, as seen in the current Big Pilot’s Watch) and the presence of a date window, but in just about every other respect, the Mark XVIII is the Mark that people have been clamoring for, and we’re delighted to see it. Oh, and if you want a 40 mm Mark XVIII that’s a little different, there’s a great looking “Le Petit Prince” model as well.
IWC offers the Mark XVIII in stainless steel only, and you have a choice of black or UK replica IWC watches “silver plated” (white) with a Santoni calfskin strap or a steel bracelet. Now one last thing: as we all know, there’s a 36 mm Pilot’s Automatic as well. That one comes in five different dial colors, and the date wheel’s white. Something I keep thinking about, and I bet I’m not the only one, is a 36 mm Mark XVIII with no date window, a black dial, and a pair of old-school Mark XII-style hands. It probably wouldn’t fly out the door but it’d be cool as hell. In the meantime, though, Mark XVIII is as solid a choice as you can make in a tool watch and at $3,950 on a strap, is probably the biggest no-brainer of the Salon.
The IWC Mark XVIII is 40 mm x 11 mm with a soft iron dial and inner case for magnetic resistance. exact replica IWC watches Black or silvered dial; Le Petit Prince is fitted with a midnight blue, sunray brushed dial. Sapphire crystal with double antireflective coating, “secured against displacement by drop in air pressure,” water resistance, 6 bar/60 meters. Movement, caliber 30110, adjust to temperature and five positions by IWC, center seconds with date, 42-hour power reserve.