A few years ago, the biggest plane ever made in France took off. It was in New York that Saint-Exupery would write the notable children’s book. IWC Replica is tipping its proverbial hat to the transatlantic voyage that laid a solid foundation of Saint-Exupery’s success as not only a pilot, but also an author, with the release of the 80Y Timezoner Chronograph Edition.
The flight took 28 hours and 27 minutes, and crossed many time zones along the way. Eventually, the replica watch making great contributions to the Saint-Exupery is built on a Timezoner platform. It makes use of the automatic in-house Caliber 89760, with a 68-hour power reserve. The bezel is fashioned from ceramic in a shade of brown that matches the dial too. In the six o’clock register you’ll see the “A” from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s signature together another nod to his voyage: New York and Paris appear in red on the bezel. The fake watch’s size stands up to the larger-than-life legacy of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, with a 46mm wide and 16.8mm tall steel case.
There is a stylized Latecoère 521 in motion on the case-back. The piece is limited to 80 examples, and like the rest of The Little Prince watches that IWC has produced for many years, a portion of the proceeds of the replica watch will be channeled to the Antoine de Saint Exupery Youth Foundation.
In a communication with Christian Knoop, IWC’s creative director, I asked what the process looks like to take the features of something like a flying boat, specifically the Latecoère 521, and translate it into something as small as a watch. The industry has its old tricks, like using a piece of a plane in the construction of the watch, or lifting the typeface from a cockpit and using it on the dial. But how does a manufacturer avoid trite design decisions and take something so grand and distill it down to a visual language on a watch? Turns out I was thinking about it too literally.
He has a point. This fake watch has an interesting and impressive feature. The wearer can cross time zones by pressing the box and rotating. Every time you click on a city, the hour hand jumps. The date will turn over when the date line is crossed, as well. The bezel is coupled to the movement, and yet the watch still maintains a respectable water resistance of 6 bar. Advanced technology comes in waterproof boxes. Sounds like an airship, doesn’t it?