For instrument watch enthusiasts, the Pilot’s Replica Watch Double Chronograph and Pilot’s Chronograph/Fliegerchronograph were a very big deal indeed, and they represented, along with the Mark XII, a kind of high water mark for functionally driven watch design – not just from IWC, but for the 1990s in general.
The watch looked very promising and indeed, in the metal, it’s an impressive IWC Replica watch, as well as being, for those of us who remember the debut of the originals in the ’90s, a pretty powerful reminder of a time when so many milestones in watchmaking were yet to come and when the hobby was still very small scale.
In many respects, it certainly feels very much like the original as well. There’s the same take-it-or-leave-it chunky steel case, a virtually identical dial, the same date display as in the original, and the same distribution of lume. The Swiss IWC Fake Watches basic design remains as strong as ever – time and elapsed time information are delivered with all the unambiguous bluntness and lack of ceremony of a process server handing you a court summons, which for an instrument watch is exactly as it should be.
In a lot of respects the IWC Fake Watches wearing experience for the new model’s more similar to the original than different – the thickness of each is close enough to somewhat cancel out the difference in diameter. The lume may look aged but of course it works just fine and in the dark, as you’d expect, the dial glows like Marie Curie’s teeth.
As happy as I was to see this design return, there is an unexpected element of sadness to seeing it and having it on the wrist, and that’s because it is a powerful exercise in nostalgia. The original version appeared at a time when not just the world of watches, but the world in general, was a very different place; being part of a watch enthusiast community meant being part of something much smaller and altogether more intimate, and IWC Replica Watches brands in general still made changes in products in careful, incremental ways, rather than attempting to produce significantly new designs in relatively short periods of time. There was, overall, a sense of durability of design, and stability in identity, that seems to have been a bit lost nowadays.
I actually don’t have a very clear sense of what it would be like to have a straight re-issue of the original back. And being a little too backwards-looking has, historically, been occasionally problematic and sometimes nearly fatal for the European watch industry. Maybe it’s better to see this IWC Knockoff Watches for what it is: a sign of the times that has appeared at a moment when the mechanical watch is once again straddling the divide between what it once was and can never be again, and what it’s going to become.