Hello everyone, and welcome back to another Singaporean article! On this shiok Saturday, I’m doing something a little different – sharing with you guys why I bought an IWC Mark XVII.
A little while back, a reader suggested to me that I should start doing articles on my latest watch acquisitions, explaining why I bought them. He said that it would be more personal, and allow readers to understand my personal taste in watches better. I thought about it, and concur. As such, I’ll be sharing with you guys why I decided to pull the trigger on an IWC Mark XVII.
Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why I bought an IWC Mark XVII!
IWC Mark XVII – Video
For those who would like to see some hands-on footage of the watch, do watch my Youtube video below!
1) It’s the quintessential Flieger watch
Everyone should have a Pilot’s watch in their collection. Commonly known as a “flieger”, the style first emerged in the 1940s, where German Luffwaffe pilots would wear them as flight tools. There were 5 original producers: A. Lange & Söhne, Laco, Stowa, Wempe, and of course, IWC.
First introduced in 1948, the IWC Pilot’s Mark series have been a mainstay of the brand’s collection since its inception. Immensely popular, it has become the quintessential Pilot’s watch – when I (and I assume most watch enthusiasts) think of Pilot watches, IWC is the first brand that comes to my mind. There are several other brands that are well known for their fliegers – Laco and Stowa are prominent examples – but the IWC Mark series definitely defines the genre, the same way the Rolex Submariner defines the dive watch category.
It’s an icon.
2) It’s an IWC
While perhaps not the most exciting manufacture, IWC is still a well-regarded maison, with tons of history and quality workmanship behind the brand. If you want to see some of the work that goes into an IWC watch, check out the video by Monochrome Watches below!
Founded in 1868, IWC has been seen as one of the pillars of Swiss watchmaking since time immemorial. They boast one of the most complicated and rigorous manufacturing process in the industry – those interested can read about it in detail here. There are also big on sustainability, and was recently ranked the most sustainable out of 15 major Swiss watch brands by WWF. It’s certainly a reputable brand, and one that no watch snobs will turn their noses at.
3) It has an exposed date wheel
Now, I’ll go into why I’ve decided to opt for the Mark XVII model instead of the Mark XVI or the newer Mark XVIII.
One of the main reason is the exposed date wheel at 3 o’clock. I’m usually not a fan of date windows – I find them obtrusive, often destroying the symmetry of the dial. Here, the exposed date wheel (combined with the red indicator) gives the watch a unique look, one that evokes the look of an altimeter gauge in a fighter plane’s cockpit. I also appreciate how IWC went for a black date wheel, which allows it to blend seamlessly with the black dial. Ultimately, it’s a striking aspect of the watch that also enhances the aviation feel of the IWC Mark XVII.
4) It has the perfect dimensions
At 41mm wide, the IWC Mark XVII is slightly bigger than its predecessor (the Mark XVI is 39mm wide) and its successor (the Mark XVIII is 40mm wide). In my opinion, fliegers are meant to be big – the original watches in the 1940s were 55mm wide – and thus the larger Mark XVII has more of a wrist presence to it, which I appreciate.
Yet, the IWC Mark XVII still wears well on my Asian 7-inch wrist. It’s not a small watch, but it’s by no means overbearing. I’ve actually tried the chronograph variant (reference 3777) but found its 43mm case size too large. To me, the Mark XVII is the Goldilocks of the IWC Mark series – it’s just the right size at 41mm wide. At 11mm thick, it fits right under a shirt cuff as well, and feels right at home with a suit and tie.
5) It has an ETA movement
Lastly, I opted for the Mark XVII over the Mark XVIII as it is powered by an ETA 2892 movement, as compared to the Sellita SW-300 movement which powers the current iterations of the Mark XVIII. Now, I won’t wade into the whole ETA vs Sellita debate – if you want, you can read Theo & Harris’ article on the matter here. In my opinion, both movements (from a technical standpoint) functions equally well. I have certainly no qualms with either, and have owned and reviewed multiple microbrand watches with ETA and Sellita movements.
However, one cannot deny that the Sellita SW-300 is essentially a clone of the ETA 2892. There’s no disputing which movement came first. While I don’t mind a Sellita movement in a cheaper microbrand watch, I do mind it in the higher-priced IWC Mark XVIII. IWC was one of the original makers of flieger watches – the Mark series shouldn’t be powered by a “clone” movement. From a purist standpoint, the fact that the Sellita SW-300 movement powers the newer IWC Mark XVIII model irks me. I wouldn’t say that it’s a deal-breaker, but it’s still one of the reasons that prompted me to opt for the older Mark XVII model instead.
In case you can’t tell, I absolutely love my IWC XVII. It’s an icon, and I’m very happy to be able to add it to my collection. I think the pre-owned prices of the watch is great as well – you can find it for S$3-4K on Carousell currently. At that price point, you’re getting a lot of watch for the money. I think it’s a great buy for someone who’s on a smaller budget, but still want to get a respectable timepiece. It’s certainly more value than entry-level timepieces from Omega/Cartier/Breitling/etc., and has more brand cachet than watches from lower-tiered brands such as Longines/Bell & Ross/Tag Heuer/etc. It’s a serious watch, for not a lot of money.
That sums up this article! I hope reading about my thought processes and the reasons behind my latest watch purchase is of interest to you guys. If the feedback is positive, I may do another article like this – I’m about to pull the trigger on another timepiece. I’m also thinking of doing a collection showcase at the end of the year, so do keep your eyes peeled for that!
View the specifications of the IWC Mark XVII here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned.
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.