For over 80 years, IWC has been bringing man’s dream of flying to wrists with its iconic Pilot’s watches. Now, the Swiss watchmaker is offering timepiece enthusiasts a chance to discover the storied heritage.

From now until July 9, IWC is holding an exhibition at the centre court of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. The space showcases 12 historical creations that have made their mark in the incredible world of aviation.

What is most eye-catching is perhaps the replica of a Spitfire hung above the above the exhibition booth. This is reportedly one of the most famous combat aircrafts in history.

The Spitfire is a single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by Allied countries before, during and after World War II. It was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft.

On Aug 5, British pilots Matt Jones and Steve Boultbee Brooks will take off in a carefully restored Spitfire, from the UK, for a 43,000-kilometre round-the-world expedition.

Named “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight”, the four-month mission will cover more than 30 countries along the way, including planned stopovers in Asia, including Japan, China and India.

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Ashvin Valiram (left) and Stanislas Rambaud believe that the exhibition is a great treat for Malaysian watch lovers. Photo: The Star/Izzrafiq Alias

“We’re giving the opportunity to Malaysians to immerse themselves in the world of our brand,” says Stanislas Rambaud, IWC SEA managing director, regarding the exhibition.

“It’s also a great chance for people who don’t know the brand to discover it and the story behind it. Aviation especially, being a part of the world of IWC for many, many years.”

The exhibition also highlights IWC’s new Pilot’s Watches, which were first unveiled in January at the 2019 edition of Geneva’s Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie.

On display are two distinct sub-lines – Spitfire, featuring outstanding engineering expertise with 100% in-house movements, and Top Gun, created from innovative materials such as ceratanium and sand-coloured cerami.

Visitors can also look forward to a remarkable line-up comprising watchmaking icons such as IWC’s first Big Pilot’s Watch from 1940 and the famed W.W.W. for the British Army from 1945.

The Ref. 3705 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph from 1994, which is IWC’s first Pilot’s Watch and second timepiece ever to be crafted from high-tech ceramic, is also on display.

“With a storied legacy spanning over 80 years in manufacturing Pilot’s Watches, IWC is extremely proud to be the main sponsor of ‘Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight’,” notes Rambaud.

“In the same spirit as the expedition, our goal for the exhibition is to showcase the company’s unrivalled engineering expertise and, hopefully, inspire an interest in mechanics among people no matter their age or background.”

The IWC Pilot’s Watches Exhibition also inaugurates the company’s new boutique, which is opened in partnership with one of Malaysia’s fine watch retailers, Swiss Watch Gallery.

Located on the second level of Pavilion KL, the boutique is the first in Malaysia and the third in South East Asia – after Bangkok and Manila – to implement the Swiss watch manufacture’s latest global boutique design concept.

“We are proud to co-host this one-of-a-kind exhibition in conjunction with its official opening. It’s certainly a big spectacle,” states Ashvin Valiram, executive director of Valiram Group.

“We’re trying to do something very different here. We want to really stand out and make a statement. I think no other brands have done something of this scale in the market.”

According to Ashvin, IWC and Valiram-owned Swiss Watch Gallery has been partners for a very long time. The relationship goes all the way back to 2001 when Swiss Watch Gallery opened at Penang International Airport.

“When the IWC boutique opened in Malaysia in 2007, we were the ones who launched it. And that, I would say created a bit of a halo effect for the brand, showcasing it very differently,” he adds.

For IWC, its story began in 1936 with the “Special Watch for Pilots”. Developed by pilots Hans and Rudolph Homberger, it was decked with shatterproof glass, resistant to drastic fluctuations in temperature and fitted with an antimagnetic escapement.

In 1948, IWC created the Mark 11. Housing an inner case that protected the timepiece’s movement from magnetic fields. This navigator’s timepiece continues to inspire the purist design and functionality of all Pilot’s Watches.

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Both historical creations and the latest timepiece novelties are on display. Photo: The Star/Izzrafiq Alias