Hands-on with the IWC Mark XVIII (reference IW327009)

by Andy Green
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Introduction

If there’s one thing that IWC has a handle on, it’s Pilot’s watches. Within the brands iconic Pilot’s collection is the popular Mark XVIII range, which serves as a charming entry point to the family. I recently had the pleasure of spending several weeks with the Mark XVIII (reference IW327009), which is the stainless steel, black dial model, on a leather strap. 

Having previously reviewed several other IWC Pilot’s pieces, including the Pilot’s Automatic Spitfire, I was curious to explore the brand’s entry-level offering further.

The Dial & Hands

Featuring a black dial with white luminescent markers, the Mark XVIII is simple and understated. The large white markers and numerals are easy to read at a glance, and perfectly contrast with the black dial. Even in full sun, it’s easy to read the dial, which under harsher light appears to turn matt. There’ll be no red-eyes come evening thanks to the generous luminescence and large markers.

Since it’s release, the Mark XVIII’s date window has been a sticking point for some, primarily for its lack of symmetry, or it’s mere existence. Ultimately this comes down to personal taste, and after several weeks of wearing the Mark XVIII – I took no issue with it. The date window, admittedly a little out of place, blended in nicely with the rest of the dial, thanks to a matching date wheel. It’s also worth noting that this is an undeniable improvement on the it’s predecessor’s (the Mark XVII) date display.

The Case & Strap

The brushed stainless steel case comes in at 40mm in diameter and 11mm thick, which is a fairly standard size in today’s market. On wrist, the IWC Mark XVIII is comfortable and although a little long in the lugs, still feels low key. The case itself has very little in the way of polished surfaces, adding to the overall subtlety of the watch. 

The Mark XVIII is 20mm between the lugs, and this particular reference comes equipped with a lovely calf strap, that tapers gently to the buckle. The beauty of such a versatile design is that it allows you to swap the strap out and introduce some variety. The cruisey nature of the Mark XVIII means it can easily be dressed up with a bracelet, or down with a nato or canvas strap. The monochromatic dial makes for endless strap options.

The Movement

Propelling the Mark XVIII is the 35111 Calibre, which is a modified Selita movement, with a standard 42-hour’s power reserve. IWC does offer in-house movements on more pricey offerings within the Pilot’s collection, such as the Spitfire Range, which was recently updated to with in-house calibres. The Mark XVIII is priced at a level where we start to expect in-house movements and given the recent update to other parts of the range, we can only speculate as to the future of this collection.

Final Thoughts

The Mark XVIII is a refined and comfortable watch that flies under the radar. It’s a robust piece, water resistant to 60 meters, and the kind that you can effortlessly wear with just about anything. As there are 8 variations on the IWC Mark XVIII, including the one with a stainless steel bracelet (the reference IW327015), you’ve got plenty to choose from. 

The IWC Mark XVIII makes for a great everyday watch and would thoroughly be enjoyed by aviation enthusiasts, put off by larger pieces typically seen in this category. All in all, the Mark XVIII is robust, well-priced, and an understated take on the classic Pilot’s watch.

Specification

Case Diameter : 40.0 mm case and a thickness of 11mm
Dial: Black dial with luminescence
Case: Stainless Steel case, Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
Movement: 35111 Calibre
Power Reserve: Approx 42 hours
Functions: Hours and minutes with central hacking seconds in the centre. Date indication at 3 o’clock. 
Water Resistance: 6 ATM

Australian Retail Pricing : $6,550.00

Availability : Available now 

Local Authorised Dealers :

  • Brisbane – The Hour Glass
  • Melbourne – IWC Boutique, Kennedy ,Watches of Switzerland and Anton Jewellery
  • Sydney – Gregory Jewellers , Swiss Concept, Watches of Switzerland and The Hour Glass
  • Perth – Kennedy Crown and Watches of Switzerland

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