IWC just released another in its long line of Le Petit Prince limited edition Pilot’s Watches, this time in their amazing Timezoner model. These watches are called Le Petit Prince in honor of the famed author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and each features a characteristic “midnight blue” dial, which looks absolutely fantastic here, especially in the presence of red accents.
The blue ceramic bezel in particular really pops with this color combination, and this is made all the nicer knowing that what would ordinarily be a scratch magnet will stay looking pristine, thanks to the material’s inherent hardness, for a very long time. IWC’s Timezoner, Le Petit Prince version or otherwise, is far more than just a pretty face, however. This is a really exciting, and even practical, version of the world time complication. All you have to do to change the time zone with this watch is rotate the bezel to the desired location.
As you rotate, both the hour hand and 24 hour subdial (seen at 12:00, and useful for telling whether it’s morning or night in a given location) will rotate to the correct positions. If necessary, it’ll even change the date for you in the process. It’s an extremely elegant and intuitive design and manages that rare feat of going beyond being an amusement for watch collectors into the realm of usefulness.
Powering the watch is the incredible 82760 movement, and as the name implies, it’s part of the 82000 family of high-end movements. These are among the most sophisticated that IWC has ever produced and include almost every technology and trick Schaffhausen has. For instance, you can see IWC’s famed Pellington automatic winding system, one of the most elegantly simple bidirectional mechanisms in the entire industry. Look deeper and you’ll see a free sprung balance, similar to what you’d expect to find in the world’s most accurate watches. Several components inside are even made from ultra-hard ceramic to reduce wear. It truly is world-class, no pun intended. Unique to the Le Petit Prince models is a gold medallion on the rotor, a nice touch. If it were my watch, I think I’d look at this fascinating movement quite often.
In terms of size, its steel case is quite large at 46mm, which unfortunately will probably rule those with small wrists out. It’s also fairly thick, at 15.2mm, due, no doubt, to that additional complication stacked on top of the movement, so this attribute is perhaps unavoidable. I would love to see a future version of this watch brought down to 42mm to make it more broadly accessible.
I’ve always liked the Timezoner for both its looks and its unique take on a common complication, but the new Le Petit Prince is, in my opinion anyway, by far the best looking of them yet. I’d take this over the other versions, including the chronograph, released so far. In terms of price, it’s $13,800, and it’s limited to 1,500 pieces. You can pre-order yours here.