***NOW SOLD***International Watch Company - A Vintage 1948 - Mark XI R.A.F. 6B/346 Military Pilot Watch
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A rare and desirable Military Issued IWC Mark 11 (Mk. XI) Post-WWII Airforce Chronometer Pilot's watch c.1948
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 was to prove essential for coordinated bombing runs, and built with the aid of military pilots from 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 saw decommission 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 1948, and having seen active military service, this is testament to the build quality! The dial again similar to the rest of the watch is in simply stunning condition and the Tritium lume markings on the dial have over the years turned a beautiful caramel shade adding to the wonderful character of this already stunning looking watch.
It comes with a 12-month warranty from VWS having being serviced recently by the renowned John Senior, and is supplied in a leather presentation pouch.
Case: Stainless steel, stepped bezel
Dial: Black, Tritium
Bracelet: NATO Style strap
Movement Type: Manual winding.
Condition: Excellent 9.5/10
Model reference number: Mark XI IWC
Year of issue: 1948
12 months by VWS.
Width (without crown) 36mm
Wrist size: Adjustable.