The legendary IWC Mark XI aviator's watch was a “cult watch”. Produced from 1948 until the early eighties, the Mark XI was never available to the public. Instead, it was offered to military and civilian pilots as a tool for aviation. Sensing an opportunity in the 1990s, IWC introduced a civilian version in 1993, the Mark XII.
The Mark XII is designed to be simple to read, with little superfluous decoration. The dial is plain, with numerals from 1 to 11 inside the marked chapter ring. Luminous markers are placed at 3, 6, 9, and 12, with a large triangular marker at 12. A white background date window replaces the marker at 3 00, contrasting with the matte black dial. The case measures 36 mm across, with short curved lugs giving for a snug fit by modern standards. A large knurled crown screws down for 60 meters of water resistance. The bracelet has 11 flat links across, and a double deployant clasp is fitted. The solid caseback is marked “Die Fliegeruhr Automatik” (“the automatic pilot's watch”).
The Mark XII uses Jaeger-LeCoultre's Cal. 889/2, known as Cal. 884 to IWC. The companies were closely related at the time, so it is no surprise that this excellent movement was selected. It is a 28,800 A/h movement with 36 jewels and is adjusted in 5 positions.
The basic Mark XII was produced in a stainless steel case with a black leather strap or steel bracelet. A yellow gold version with a leather strap was also produced. A limited-edition Mark XII Mellow Yellow was created co-branded with Saab in 1997. This is made of titanium instead and uses a movement from ETA. Another limited edition of 500 pieces, in platinum, was also created.