International Watch Company - A Vintage c.1952 - Mark XI R.A.F. 6B/346 Military Pilot Watch***NOW SOLD***
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A Rare and Desirable Military Issued IWC Mark 11 (Mk. XI) Post-WWII Airforce Chronometer Pilot's watch c.1952
An accurate and revolutionary piece of kit for the British Royal Air Force; not just for the UK but for many of the Commonwealth countries around the world. The Mark 11 allowed for a wholly different class of navigation as the aerial conflict intensified during the Second World War. This watch was used by the navigator in an RAF plane in conjunction with a bubble-sextant to calculate the exact latitude and longitude of the aircraft. This method was in principle the same as that used by sailors to calculate their position ever since the development of the marine chronometer by John Harrison in the mid-eighteenth century.
These particular watches were not produced in large numbers, and many were decommissioned from military service later in their lives, a few like this one we have for sale live on with a firm reputation behind them. Many forum browsers and watch collectors consider these pieces to be the most desirable and esteemed British military watch out there (we include ourselves in this). This IWC does have a twin; the Jaeger LeCoultre Mk.XI, both of which are prized and only slightly different.
It featured a soft iron core to fully encase the watch in an anti-magnetic housing, the dial also being made of iron to holistically encase the watch for accuracy's sake. The movement is extremely accurate, using a hacking complication to allow for the second's hand to be precisely synchronised, and is chronometer accurate! The Mark XI is the pinnacle of British military watches: a carefully specified, refined design with supreme accuracy and solid craftsmanship. The case back is engraved '6B/346', the Ministry of Defence issue codes for the Mark XI.
What's on offer
An iconic and must-have military watch - you would struggle to find a finer example of a tool watch. Built to strict specifications required by pilots in their duties, this is a rare opportunity to own a piece of British aviation history as well as a stylish watch that can be worn every day. We have illustrated this watch worn with a NATO-style strap however a vintage look leather strap would also be a great pairing.
The watch only shows minor signs of wear to the case, which one would not expect from a watch from 1952, and having seen active military service, this is testament to the build quality! The case back is engraved with the military arrow, known as the pheon, and 6B/346 787/52. The stark black dial is blemish-free and the Arabic numerals are crisp as is the arrow which denotes the watch as military property. This watch is in simply stunning condition, the jewel of its crown being the beautiful Tritium lume markings on the dial and on the hands, which have aged evenly over the years to a beautiful vanilla shade giving a real warmth to the dial. At 36mm this watch is mid-size but it wears larger on the wrist whilst remaining comfortable. These watches are very much sought after and we don't expect this one to be around for long.
Case: Stainless steel
Dial: Black, Tritium
Bracelet: NATO Style strap
Movement Type: Manual winding
Model reference number: Mark XI IWC
Year of issue: c.1952
12 months by VWS
Width (without crown): 36mm
Lug width: 18mm
Lug height: (lug to lug)45mm
Wrist size: Adjustable