The original IWC Mark XI and Mark XII were the icons of the brand having been the standard issue for pilots during WWII. The early Pilot Mark XI was having a manual winding movement - the Calibre 89. The Mark XI was a time only piece - no date window but the Mark XII came with a date and with an automatic movement. This year, IWC release the Mark XVIII as the tribute to the Mark XI.
By the time I got my hand on a Pilot watch, which was my very first mechanical timepiece, the Mark XII was already sold out (let alone the Mark XI) and the Mark XV was then the only IWC Pilot watch then.
Compare both the Mark XV and Mark XVIII - the Mark XV is 38mm while the Mark XVIII is 40mm. The hands are similar, but the date window is where the difference is apparent. Not only is the date wheel black in colour (as opposed to the white background in the Mark XV), but the positioning of the date window is slightly inside. I find the Mark XV more balanced in terms of aesthetics.
With the size of the timepiece at 40mm, something has got to give... so the position of the date window is inside because the Sellita SW300 movement is not big enough for a 40mm case.
But that aside, the Mark XVIII gives out that vintage feel - much thanks to the yellow markers at 3,6 and 9 and the triangle at 12 which are all quoted with a luminescent material.
Looking at the Mark XVIII tribute piece, I would have thought that this is a tribute to the Mark XII no? After all, the Mark XII had an automatic calibre while the Mark XI is manual winding.
The Mark XII has a date window and so does the Mark XVIII... so what am I missing here?
For me, the hands on this version is right for me... I much prefer these hands which were last seen on the Mark XV.
The difference between this and the Mark XV is the white seconds hand on the Mark XV and the steel hands on the Mark XVIII.
The Mark XVIII luminous markers are well made.
Both at the 12 and at the 6, the markers are painted with the same yellowish luminous material. But notice the numerals too - they are thicker on the Mark XVIII than the Mark XV.
And the crown on the Mark XVIII has the "Probus Scafusia" insignia as opposed to the fish logo on the Mark XV.
And this version comes with a green textile strap which is Made in Italy.
Another look at the Mark XVIII
Now for the Mark XV
I actually like this better.
I get it, the Mark XI is definitely more iconic than the Mark XII being the "first" of its kind. For the Mark XVIII, I would have loved a manual winding calibre as opposed to the automatic Calibre 35111. And one more thing, the date window should go. But that is just me.