What kind of model is IWC's masterpiece "Mk.12/Mark XII"?

IWC Mark XII: The Basics

The Mark XII ref. 3241 is a modest watch measuring 36mm.

The case back is simple, with a circular satin-brushed finish and engraved with "IWC" and the words "Die Fliegeruhr Automatik", which stands for "automatic pilot's watch".

Beneath the caseback is a secondary caseback made of soft iron that acts as a shield against magnetic fields.

The screw-down crown features the IWC fish logo.

This is proof that the watch is waterproof to 6 atmospheres.

Available in stainless steel or 18K yellow gold, the Mark XII was presented on a leather strap with an IWC signed pin buckle or a bracelet in the same metal as the case.

The bracelet is elaborate, with alternating rows of five and six small links, all over satin-brushed and fitted with a double-fold deployant clasp.

Collector's Guide to the IWC Mark XII

The dial is designed with visibility as the top priority.

It has a black-on-white color scheme, with large Arabic numerals marking the time on a matte black dial.

The number 3 has been omitted to make room for the date window, and the watch is black on a white background for maximum legibility.

A large triangular index indicates the 12 o'clock position.

A simple minute track sits on the outer side of the hours, and four tritium luminous elements are located at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions.

Tritium-plated baton hands and a white lacquered seconds hand extend beyond the minute track.

The Mark XII was equipped with the Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic caliber 889/2, while the IWC caliber 884. The use of JLC movements in IWC models was due to the fact that both companies operated under the umbrella of LMH at the time, and shared technology.

The 889/2 is known as a thin movement and features over-technology in typical JLC style.

It has a power reserve of 38 hours.

Why Should You Consider the IWC Mark XII?

There's nothing flashy about the Mark XII. Everything about this watch is a reiteration of the mantra, "just right, just right."

This watch doesn't assert itself or scream for attention.

It does everything that needs to be done, and does it quietly and unassumingly.

The dial is matte black to prevent glare, but it is slightly textured.

And the size and position of the date window.

Surely the Mark XII would have been better without the date?

Yes, I think so.

However, in this model, the date is perfectly placed within the circle formed by the Arabic numerals.

Could it have been bigger? The Goldilocks size of 36mm makes it perfect for all-day, every-day wear.

Finally, while I'm no bracelet expert, I think the rice bracelet beads are worth mentioning.

Although it looks a little old-fashioned with only two attachment points for the end pieces (versus five on the Mark XV, the successor to the Mark XII), there's no denying how well-made the bracelet is, thanks to the use of solid links throughout and a fully screwed construction.

Another reason I love the Mark XII is that there is a reference for everyone.

Want a classic tool watch in steel? Yes you do.

Want something a little more dressy?

IWC offers a luxurious version in 18K gold (reference IW924101 comes with the same full 18K beads-of-rice style bracelet as the steel version).

IWC also produces several limited editions of the Mark XII for various markets, rewarding patient collectors who want something rarer than the standard Mark XII.