For over 85 years, IWC has acquired comprehensive expertise in the development of functional instruments for cockpits. This know-how is nurtured and kept up to date by an ongoing dialogue with professional pilots, enabling IWC’s engineers to precisely understand their specific requirements and needs. Within its Professional Pilot’s Watches Program, which emerged from its partnership with the U.S. Navy, IWC develops highly specialized watches for the most discerning fast jet pilots. The Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces
(Ref. IW326905) takes inspiration from a pilot’s watch that IWC engineered for members of Strike Fighter Squadron 41 (VFA-41), also known as the “Black Aces”.
The squadron is based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. Originally formed in 1950 at NAS Oceana, VFA-41 is attached to Carrier Air Wing 9 and uses the radio callsign “Fast Eagle”.
capable of storing light energy
The most striking feature of this timepiece is the fully luminous white Lumicast dial. Developed in collaboration with pilots from the “Black Aces”,
the dial is the result of a complex manufacturing process. In the first step, high-grade Super-LumiNova® pigments are mixed with a binder, cast into a circular mold, and hardened in a specially developed curing process to give the material a ceramic-like durability. The resulting solid disc is then fixed onto the soft-iron dial blank. Finally, the dial is imprinted with black indices and numerals and the “Black Aces”
patch, resembling the ace of spades from a card deck. In dark chamber tests, the dial emitted a bright greenish light for more than 23 hours, taking legibility and night visibility to a whole new level.
Super-LumiNova® is a high-tech ceramic compound that behaves like a light storage battery. Light energy absorbed from sunlight or artificial light causes the electrons in the material to enter a higher energy state, where this energy is stored. When the electrons return to their normal state, they emit the absorbed energy as visible light, making the material glow in the dark. The process of absorbing and releasing light energy can be repeated an infinite number of times without ever causing the material to age or diminishing its light storage capacity.
hard and scratch-resistant
The case of the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces is made of black zirconium oxide ceramic, a material IWC pioneered in the watch industry as early as the 1980s. With a Vickers rating second only to that of diamonds, ceramic ranks among the hardest substances on Earth. Its lightness, hardness and scratch resistance make it the perfect case material for everyday use in the restricted space of a jet cockpit. Moreover, its stealthy matte-black color ensures pilots are not distracted by sunlight reflected from their watch. The case back is made of lightweight titanium and features an engraving of the “Black Aces”
twin-engine jet against a backdrop of spades.
The Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces is powered by the IWC-manufactured 32100 caliber. Combined with the soft-iron inner case, the movement’s anti-magnetic silicon escapement further improves the watch’s resistance to magnetic fields. The efficient double pawl winding system builds up a power reserve of 72 hours in the mainspring. The watch is fitted with a black textile strap with a pin buckle in sand-blasted stainless steel.
The Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces is available exclusively online at IWC.com. In addition, the timepiece is eligible for registration under the My IWC care program and can benefit from a 6-year extension to the standard 2-year International Limited Warranty.
In 1868, the American watchmaker and entrepreneur Florentine Ariosto Jones travelled from Boston to Switzerland and founded the “International Watch Company”
in Schaffhausen. His visionary dream was to combine advanced American manufacturing methods with the craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers to make the best pocket watches of his time. In doing so, he not only laid the foundation for IWC’s unique engineering approach but also established the centralised production of mechanical watches in Switzerland.
Over its 150 year history, IWC Schaffhausen has developed a reputation for creating functional complications, especially chronographs and calendars, which are ingenious, robust, and easy for customers to use. A pioneer in the use of titanium and ceramics, IWC today specialises in highly engineered technical watch cases manufactured from advanced materials, such as titanium aluminide and Ceratanium®. Preferring the principle of “form follows function”
over decoration, the Swiss watch manufacturer’s timeless creations embody their owners’ dreams and ambitions as they journey through life.
IWC sources materials responsibly and takes action to minimise its impact on the environment, creating intrinsically sustainable timepieces that are built to last for generations. The company prides itself in training its own future watchmakers and engineers, as well as offering an excellent working environment for all employees. IWC also partners with organisations that work globally to support children and young people.