Salon International Haute Horlogerie, short for SIHH, is a watch expo held in the heart of Switzerland, Geneva, every January over the course of five days. An invitation only fair, the expo accommodates for buyers, journalists, watch collectors, bloggers and photographers from all over the world.
I was lucky enough to be invited back for the second year running, this time as an IWC Brand Ambassador.
All photo by my good friend ModeHunter.
To wrap up my entire IWC experience at SIHH, this peace will take you through the collection, a one-on-one interview with IWC’s Creative Director and a night to remember with the team.
Now for a little more about the highly anticipated Pilot’s collection. The first Special Pilot’s Watch left the IWC factory in 1936. It was the start of a special relationship between IWC Schaffhausen and flying. Just four years later came the 52-calibre T. S. C. Big Pilot’s Watch, the first observer’s watch with a case measuring 55 millimetres in diameter. With its instrument-inspired appearance, it rapidly became a style icon and a model for all classic pilot’s watches.
Since 1988, the IWC Pilot’s Watch tradition has gone from strength to strength. In 2003, IWC launched the first Pilot’s Watch series named after the legendary British aircraft, the Spitfire.
To present the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Collection, I’ll let the following video do all the showcasing:
For a deeper dive into the entire collection’s specifications, mechanics and designs, click here!
I had the privilege of sitting down with Christian Knoop, IWC’s Creative Director, who took me through the brand’s long and extensive history in aviation.
EE – Can you tell me a little about the history of the Pilot collections and IWC?
CK – So we’ve been making the Pilot watches for over eighty years now, with the first watch being made in 1936. IWC was probably the first brand to introduce the archetype of the Pilot’s watch to the luxury watch industry back in the 90’s. First being with the chronograph, and just recently in 2002, with the Big Pilot.
EE – Why is The Big Pilot so big?
CK – The original timepiece back in the 1940’s was actually made with a very long strap so that it could be worn over the jacket of a pilot. We have to remember that this timepiece was built with military specifications, and what impressed me from a design perspective was the fact that every detail had a particular reason.
EE – Speaking about details, why the big crown?
CK – The big crown was designed to be operated with leather gloves worn by the pilot. We have to also imagine that back in the times the pilots didn’t own these watches, but they really received them for the flight. Through the pilot’s briefing they had to set their watches, go on to the planes and then give them back later on. So they were really working with these watches, this is why the straps were made in a way that you couldn’t drop the watch when putting them off and on.
EE – What’s your favourite feature from the watch?
CK – I’m bouncing between the shape of the crown and the shape of the hands to be honest. But I might have to go with the hands on this occasion as I love the fact they resemble the propellor of a plane.
The night that had everybody talking…the IWC Annual SIHH Gala Dinner. From Adriana Lima and Chris Evans to Christoph Waltz and Arsene Wenger, we sat along side an endless list of celebrities, sporting starts, artists and fellow IWC lovers for a musical journey like no other.
Here’s a glimpse into how the night really unfolded: