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. Sensing an opportunity in the 1990s, IWC introduced a civilian version in 1993, the Mark XII. This remained in production until the replacement Mark XV was introduced in 1999. XIII was skipped because it is an unlucky number in Western countries, as is XIV in Asian cultures.
The Mark XV is designed to be simple to read, with little superfluous decoration. The dial is very similar to the Mark XII, 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 was enlarged from 36 mm to 38 mm for the Mark XV, with longer lugs to fit modern tastes.
A Spitfire version of the Mark XV has a “pie pan” silver dial and sword hands or cathedral hands. The original version, with cathedral hands, was limited to 1,000 examples for the British market. This was produced from 2001 through 2003. The following Spitfire model, an unlimited version, had sword hands and was produced from 2003 through 2005.
The Mark XV uses an ETA Cal. 37524 movement rather than the high-end Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre. This ETA 2892/A2 is reworked by IWC and tested in 5 positions and at 2 temperatures. It is gold plated, with upgraded components throughout.