In 1948, shortly after WWII, both IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre created AAA UK replica watches to British Ministry of Defence (MoD) specification known by the moniker “Mark XI.” The JLC version was short-lived, fizzling out around the early 1950s, while the model from the International Watch Co. lasted another three decades, until roughly 1981. That watch has gone on to considerable fame and collectibility. Its 36mm sizing has invoked comparisons to the iconic 1016 Rolex Explorer, only with real battle-tested use. Much like the Omega Speedmaster, it had an iconic manual-winding movement by way of the Caliber 89.
IWC hasn’t lost sight of the importance that the high quality fake watches plays in its legacy. The Mark series has persisted through the years, though not in the same exact form. We now have the Mark XVIII in 40mm, released in 2016 – and the prior Mark XVII was 41mm. Most recently, in 2019, the brand unveiled the Automatic Spitfire – a 39mm timepiece clearly inspired by the Mark XI. There was even a 40mm watch called the Tribute to Mark XI – as well as a certain HODINKEE limited edition that took design cues from that historical model, such as the squared-off hour hand and vintage numerals. But even that was 39mm, three mm larger than the OG.
So why are we looking back into the vault of perfect IWC replica watches? Because, like most enthusiasts, you might think that IWC doesn’t “make ’em like they used to,” and that the brand is afraid to return to the size that continues to make the original Mark XI so popular, a size that Rolex returned to just last year. Well, what if I told you that it didn’t forget, and that it’s not only been producing that watch since 2016, but that it’s also IWC’s least expensive model? It’s about time we talk about the best copy IWC Pilot’s Watches 36.
At first glance, you might very well confuse this top replica watches for the Mark XVIII – specifically, the blue dial Le Petit Prince edition. I’ve certainly made that mistake when coming across it in my Instagram feed. But there’s one dead giveaway that lets you know it’s not officially a Mark-series watch. Down near six o’clock, it only bears one line of text, “Automatic” whereas its larger brethren feature the “Mark XVIII” or “Spitfire” designations.
Unlike those 39 and 40mm Pilot’s super clone watches for sale, this 36mm model is the exact size as the original Mark XI from 1948, with the visual stylings of the more modern Mark series watches of the last decade or so. To my mind, it’s the spiritual continuation of the iconic MoD watch, only … nobody talks about it.
In order to prepare for this article, I reached out to IWC to confirm my suspicions that this was indeed the least expensive model in the catalog. Once confirmed, I had to take a moment to consider the significance of that fact. 36mm is no longer considered small in modern sizing conventions. In fact, the modern enthusiast is more likely to be drawn to a sub-38mm replica watches wholesale store than one over 41mm.
What I find interesting though, is that it seems – at least on the surface – that the size is what’s dictating the low price (low relative to the rest of the catalog). The IWC Pilot’s Watch 36 retails for $4,250 as you see it configured here – meaning in steel on a leather strap. But it isn’t necessarily some kind of bargain. In fact, it’s only $250 less than the $4,500 Mark XVIII and $550 less than the $4,800 Spitfire Automatic. This means that the entry into the IWC is guarded by a trio of 2022 fake watches sized at 36, 39, and 40mm – each paying their own kind of homage to the Mark XI.
But the point of this series is to look at the true, absolute, entry-level watch. And the Pilot’s Watch 36 is, quantitatively, the least expensive watch IWC makes. So let’s examine it in a vacuum, shall we?
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the watch is 36mm. Off the wrist, it actually presents way smaller than that. When I first got ahold of it, I could swear it was 34mm or smaller, to the point where I had to break out my own Explorer 14270 and compare. Turns out, 36mm replica watches paypal just look smaller on straps. Of course, diameter isn’t everything. A gripe that many IWC owners have with their larger Pilot’s watches is the lug-to-lug measurement. Despite a 39mm diameter, the Spitfire has a broad wingspan of over 50mm. This watch has a somewhat proportional 46mm lug-to-lug length.
This results in a wrist experience where the fake watches site basically disappears. I’ll admit, it does wear smaller than I would have hoped, though I am sure that is different on the bracelet. The dial has tons of visual interest, especially in this blue sunray configuration. Of course, there are the now-recognizable IWC numerals, but the 36 also features a step dial design, which adds a ton of intrigue to the rather small canvas.
From a product-to-price perspective, the 36mm Pilot’s Watch is sparse in all the best places. For those looking for a simplified dial layout, you get that here. If you’re not into the ornate airplane engravings found on most of IWC’s casebacks, this one is clean, empty, and ready to be engraved (in fact, IWC encourages it).
Movement-wise, the best quality replica watches features what the brand calls the 35111 Calibre (Sellita base) which offers everything you would ever need from a watch like this – or any watch, for that matter. The case is even bolstered by a soft iron inner cage to help shield the movement from magnetic fields. The leather strap comes with a double deployant (folding) clasp which is easy enough to navigate and size.
So we know this is the least expensive IWC, but does it represent real value? Well, if we look at Tudor, we still find the Black Bay range, with ETA movements, priced just north of $2,500. Admittedly those watches don’t carry with them the same kind of heritage that this IWC does – but is heritage worth the almost-$2,000 difference? You tell me. I happen to think that Swiss top IWC fake watches are under-appreciated across the board. It’s a brand with a particular aesthetic that has been maintained and matched with quality products. You never pick up an IWC and think ill of the build quality.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch 36 has a nicely finished (both polished and brushed) compact case, an iconic dial design, and an apparently hidden connection to a historically significant watch of yore. Having spent some time with it, I have come to the conclusion that it’s not only a worthy entry into the IWC fold, but a watch meant for those in the know. The low price is just an added bonus.