IWC: Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces28 August 2023
IWC introduces the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces, the latest timepiece inspired by its collaborations with U.S. Navy squadrons. The highlight of this timepiece is the fully luminous white dial. Consisting of a solid disc of Super-LumiNova, it emits a bright greenish light in the dark and takes night visibility to the next level. The Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces features a black zirconium oxide ceramic case and is powered by the IWC-manufactured 32100 caliber movement with a power reserve of 72 hours. It is available exclusively online at iwc.com.
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 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”.
OVER 23 HOURS OF LUMINESCENCE
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.
ZIRCONIUM OXIDE CERAMIC CASE
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 at the price of 7,750,00 €. 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.