Flash News: IWC Pilot’s Watches Saint-Exupéry Edition “The Last Flight”

By Thierry Ané on July 7, 2014

Since 2006, IWC has launched special editions of its Pilot’s Watches in memory of the legendary pilot and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. From Power Reserve timepieces to second time zone models or UTC watches as the brand calls it, from Double Chronograph editions to Big Pilot iterations or even Perpetual Calendar versions, the Schaffhausen manufacture has introduced Saint-Exupéry editions of each and every one of its Pilot’s models over the years.

Although completely different in sizes, shapes and functions, all these limited editions still share a common denominator: the same tobacco-brown colour. Selected as a nod to the colour of Saint-Exupéry’s favourite jumpsuit, this elegant hue has been used for the dial and strap of each new model dedicated to the famous writer. It has been paired with steel, white gold, rose gold or even platinum to create some of the most beautiful pilot’s watches ever produced by the brand.

This month, IWC introduces what could very well be the last series dedicated to this aviation pioneer: the so-called “Last Flight” edition. On 31 July 1944, Saint-Exupéry took off in an unarmed P-38 on his ninth reconnaissance mission from an airbase on Corsica and never returned. In remembrance of this dramatic disappearance, IWC unveils three new models that bring the tobacco-brown colour theme to an all new level with the brand’s very first use of brown ceramic for the case, which was made possible by the use of a newly developed silicon nitride material.

Three versions are presented that only differ by the metal choice for the crown, chronograph pushers and case back and also by the colour of the chronograph counters on the tobacco-brown dial. The first version uses Titanium and tobacco-brown chronograph counters. It is limited to 1,700 pieces. A second interpretation blends the brown ceramic case with Rose Gold. Limited to just 170 units, this model also features rose gold-coloured chronograph counters. With only 17 pieces, the last version is the most exclusive. It uses Platinum for the crown, pushers, and case back and presents silver-coloured chronograph counters.

All three models share the same engraving on the case back: a portrait of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry with the inscription “The Last Flight”. They are all mounted on dark brown calfskin leather with white stitches secured by a pin buckle in titanium, rose gold or platinum depending on the model. Inside these 46 mm watches beats the in-house 89361 calibre. This self-winding movement with 68 hours of power reserve features a column-wheel chronograph with flyback function.

These “Last Flight” models look really good: I truly appreciate the fact that IWC opted for a large case size and the brown ceramic makes them completely unique even in the Saint-Exupéry collection. My personal favourite is the Rose Gold model as this colour works admirably with the brown of the dial, the strap and now, even the case. I am also a big fan of ceramic in general (light, scratch-resistant, contemporary…) and I always appreciate to see new colours in that department. IWC’s chocolate-brown case is really a success and I hope the brand will use it again very soon.