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Presenting this truly stunning original International Watch Company (IWC) 1952 British military spec wristwatch complete with a full service. These watches are now incredibly rare in this ‘Hooked 7’ configuration.


- Issued to a British Royal Air Force pilots
- Rare ‘Hooked 7’ variant
- 36mm Case
- Dial and glass in superb unmarked order
- Hacking Seconds & Cal. 89 movement
- Had a full service last August


The IWC XI story'
Shortly after WW2, around 1946, the British Air Ministry put out a call for new wristwatches for their pilots. These watches were required to have a matte black dial with white fixtures and the four quarterly hour markers luminised, a high grade Swiss movement capable of 36 hours power reserve and chronometer spec timekeeping, a water resistant case, a Faraday cage for anti-magnetic purposes and an acrylic crystal with a retaining screw. Two manufacturers answered this call: Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC. In 1948 Mark XI watches began to be issued to Pilots across the British Empire.

IWC produced around 8000 examples of the Mark XI for the Air Ministry over a 4 year period from 1948-1952. 7400 of these were delivered to the RAF and 600 to the RAAF (Australia) over the 4 years.

Originally, these Mark XI wristwatches were issued with Radium Dials. Due to safety concerns in the early 60s they were recalled from their Pilots Wrists and fitted with Tritium Dials (see letter ’T’ in a circle on the dial) and amongst these replacement dials was a rare variation which was later to be donned the ‘Hooked 7’. The vast majority of these replacement dials had a seven with a flat top, however a very small number had a seven that hooked slightly and this small variation is extremely sought after amongst the military watch community.

Housed in a 36mm stainless steel case with fixed lugs, it has an antimagnetic Faraday cage protecting the famous manual winding Cal. 89 movement beating at 18,000 A/h.

With original cross hatched crowns; the bottom to manually wind and set the time, and the upper crown to set the inner elapsed time bezel. Strangely, the elapsed time bezel lacks any numbers, only a wide marker designation the 12 o’clock position, and simple narrow markers for the 5 minute designations. This was intended by the manufacturers.

Low level flying in the far North Highlands:
These Pilots watches were typically worn by flyers and navigators from across Britain. An integral part of training and combat for many was low level flying. Even in training these extremely dangerous flying drills took many lives. The best place to train these manoeuvres was in the far North Highlands of Scotland. Its uneven straths and glens make a good practise ground. Even today, aircraft stills practise low level flying in and around Caithness and Sutherland.

- Age: c.1952
- Movement: Manual wind with Hacking Centre Seconds.
- Calibre: 89.
- Timekeeping: Very good.
- Service History: Full service, August 2023
- Dial: Original IWC Tritium Military Specification Replacement Dial.
- Case: Stainless Steel
- Measurements: w/wo crown: 36mm/39mm x 46.5mm
- Bezel: Solid.
- Water Resistant: *NOT* sold as water resistant
- Hands: Original.
- Crystal: Correct acrylic crystal (replacement)
- Crown: Correct original unsigned crown
- Strap/Bracelet: New military grey NATO strap with steel fixtures
- Lug Width: 18mm fixed bars

Happily, there is no evidence of previous polishing to the case. People and collectors who know about older watches of this type appreciate that originality is key.

Powered by self famous calibre 89 winding movement with sweep seconds and date. Case back shows some light surface scratches, commensurate with age and use, but the following can still be made out on the case back, ‘JWC’, ‘Stainless Steel’ and ‘International Watch Company’.  The case itself has some light surface ware. The dial is in absolute excellent condition with no obvious marks to the dial. The original crown works so nice and winds solidly but not too heavy. The crystal is in great shape and no scratches or noticeable blemishes off any kind, probably a replacement. Hands are in lovely original order with the original creamy yellow lume now perfectly aged, as it should be, to a darker mustard colour. 

The watch has just had a full specialist mechanical service at Adams Watch specialists.

Overall this original IWC XI, RAF pilot’s watch is in superb authentic condition. A watch that is now becoming extremely rare in this ‘Hooked 7’ configuration.

IWC Mark XI for the British Military (Hooked 7)