Pilot, aristocrat and author of the The Little Princess, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was presumed dead in 1944 when he was shot down whilst piloting an American Lockheed P-38 Lightning on a reconnaissance mission over the Rhone Valley. Overweight and already having been discharged from the French Air Force due to his age, Exupéry had nonetheless set off in search of adventure – and an unexpected run-in with the German Luftwaffe.
While the plane was eventually discovered by divers in 2000, the body of the late, eccentric author has never been found.
In order to mark the 70th anniversary of Exupéry’s death, Swiss watch manufacturer IWC has released “The Last Flight”, a limited-edition version of their traditional Pilot’s Watch, available in three colours.
To tie in with Exupéry’s legacy, each watch will feature a ceramic case, brown dial and calfskin strap, all in the same tobacco colour as Exupéry’s flying suit, along with buttons, crown and case of titanium, red gold or platinum, according to the model (with 1,700, 170 and 17 available of each, respectively).
Even non-pilots will be pleased to know that the silicon nitrate ceramic cases offer excellent protection, while the sapphire glass face is almost unbreakable and has an anti-reflective coating as well as being water-resistant to 6 bar (meaning you’re free to take it snorkeling, if you wish).
To mark the release of the limited series, Sotheby’s Geneva is set to auction one of the platinum models in November, with the proceeds benefitting the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation (a charity involved in improving literary rates among young people across the world).
If you're unable to make it to Geneva don't worry, as all three watches in the range are available to order online. iwc.com