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July 06, 2022

IWC and Mercedes-AMG Petronas: A Pilot’s Watch to Team Up With

There are successful partnerships, working at the first shot and destined to last for years. Like well-matched marriages between husband and wife. That between IWC and Mercedes-AMG is one of them – or rather: the partnership between the Schaffhausen-based manufacture and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, for which the brand has just presented a new official watch.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One

IWC AND MERCEDES-AMG: 20 YEARS OF TOP WATCHES

The collaboration with the Formula 1 team has been lasting since 2013, while IWC has been working since 2004 with the parent company Mercedes-AMG. Almost twenty years in which the two brands have set up events together for motor and watch enthusiasts, and in which IWC has created several special timepieces editions, both dedicated to Mercedes-AMG and to the Petronas Formula One Team.

Just to recall and mention some of the most significant pieces, regarding Mercedes-AMG we remember the 2015 Ingenieur Automatic Edition AMG GT (Ref. IW324602), made in a limited edition of 25 pieces; the 2017 Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition 50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG (Ref. IW380902), in 250 pieces; the 2021 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition AMG (Ref. IW377903).

With the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, IWC has certainly not been less busy. Just think of the two Ingenieur Chronographs presented in Singapore in 2014 and dedicated to the team’s drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton: 250 pieces each, designed by the two champions together with the IWC creative team. Or the recent Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar (Ref. IW503003) and the 2019 Pilot’s Chronograph Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (Ref. IW389005), with excellent movements and aesthetics recalling the Formula 1 team colors.

PILOT’S WATCH CHRONOGRAPH 41 EDITION MERCEDES-AMG PETRONAS FORMULA ONE TEAM: A TEAM EFFORT

In short, as already said: it’s a marriage that works well. So well that IWC and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team have just unveiled, on the eve of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Miami, the latest addition to this collaboration: the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One

For the first time though, the watch will be worn by all team members, including designers, aerodynamicists, race engineers, strategists and mechanics. In short, a luxury watch that is also a real tool and which has confronted the IWC technicians with various challenges, especially regarding the choice of materials. And, in the case of a technical watch inspired by Formula 1, we are necessarily talking about titanium.

THE CHOICHE OF TITANIUM

The case of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team is crafted from lightweight and remarkably rigid grade 5 titanium. Offering the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metal, titanium is also widely used in automotive engineering to produce car parts subject to immense stress, such as engine valves. In addition, titanium is also highly corrosion-resistant.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One

In this watch, IWC has put a considerable production effort because, in addition to the excellent characteristics we mentioned earlier, titanium also has a less pleasant one: it is difficult to work with, especially because its powder ignites easily. This is why the sandblasted finish of the 41 mm case and the bezel, which contrasts with the polished pushers and crown, represents a remarkable piece of skill.

MERCEDES-AMG PETRONAS FORMULA ONE TEAM’S SIGNATURE

The same sandblasted effect is found on the black dial, which has all the classic features of IWC’s Pilot’s Watches: chronograph counters at 6, 9 and 12, window with double date for day of the month and week at 3, Arab numeral indexes, high readability. Readability that is accentuated by the special touch of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team: the color of the indexes and their luminescence, as well as that of the hands, is the team’s distinctive green.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One

A striking chromatic match – combined with the black of the dial and the gray of the case, also found on the green rubber strap – beautiful on the wrist. In addition, the chronograph also comes with a black embossed calfskin strap, both with pin buckles.

As now standard on this IWC collection, the two straps can be changed quickly and easily, thanks to the integrated EasX-CHANGE system, by pressing a button and without the need of any tools. A further plus for the team members, who will probably choose the strap based on their daily tasks, whether they are grappling with engines, mechanical parts or computers and telemetry.

IWC’S RELIABLE ENGINE

Speaking of IWC, we cannot limit ourselves to aesthetics and we must delve into the heart of the watch, that is, the movement. Which, in the case of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team is the 69385 manufacture chronograph caliber. Developed based on the 69370 caliber, it’s a newly created caliber but it is already the state of the art for IWC movements: column-wheel design, 28,800 vibrations/hour, 46 hours of power reserve. Nothing more and nothing less than what a watch like this can do.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One

The caliber, with its perforated oscillating weight signed by IWC, makes the case 14.6mm-thick and is visible through the sapphire crystal case back, which bears the wording of the partnership printed in Petronas-Formula-One-Team green. The convex glass that protects the crystal is also made of sapphire, with anti-reflective coating on both sides, and is secured against displacement and damage in case of drops in air pressure. It is designed to be worn between pistons and oil in a Formula 1 box, while still remaining a pilot’s watch…

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One

Anything more to add? In addition to the price of the watch, € 8,450, nothing else. To conclude, let’s use the words of IWC CEO Christopher Grainger-Herr, who explains the philosophy behind the collaboration that led to the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team: “Both fine watchmaking and racing are all about precision, craftsmanship and performance engineering. But it’s the human factor – the passion, the love, and the dedication that make the difference between good and great. This notion perfectly describes our long-standing partnership with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team – and we are celebrating this with the launch of the new team watch in Miami.

By Davide Passoni