|Mark XI - 6B/346
|mechanical manual-winding Cal. 89
|grey Nato strap with tang buckle
|Time-only: Hours, Minutes, Center seconds
This IWC Mark XI is from 1952 and retains all of its military caseback engravings. The dial features the British military broad arrow and the circled ‘T’, implying that tritium was used for the luminous material. The original dial of the Mark XIs were lumed with radium, but sometime in the early 1960’s it was replaced by IWC with tritium as it was less radioactive and far safer. Many collectors do indeed prefer the look of the replaced ‘T’ dials compared to the radium ones.
Housed in a 36mm stainless steel case with fixed lugs, it has antimagnetic hands and an antimagnetic cage protecting the famous manual winding Cal. 89 movement, beating at 18,000 A/h. The IWC Mark XIs were renowned for their timekeeping accuracy as this was a fundamental specification required by the British Armed Forces. As a result, these watches were regulated in five positions and tested in temperatures ranging from -5 degrees to 46 degrees over a 44 day testing period in order to meet the required standards.
Mark XIs were made for BOAC (British Overseas Airline Corporation), the RAF (Royal Air Force), the Royal Australian Air Force as well as other air forces and for civilians as well. The collectibility of this timepiece is largely underpinned by its historical significance as IWC’s entire modern Pilot range was inspired by the very Mark XI. With pilot watches very much in demand today, due to its casual and utilitarian feel, this particular piece certainly fits the bill, especially with its wearable 36mm case and with both dial and case in exceptional unrestored condition.
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