IWC In The Field: Watch Spotting At Airspeeder’s Base Of Operations

IWC In The Field: Watch Spotting At Airspeeder’s Base Of Operations

Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon


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There are a lot of elements that go into a meaningful partnership. It isn’t enough to have a loose link in brand direction, deep pockets, or a shared affinity for corporate jargon like “synergy” and “scalability.” It takes real commonalities, and once you consider the parallels between IWC Schaffhausen and Airspeeder pilots, these links start to become obvious.

Recently, John and I had the pleasure of visiting Airspeeder’s factory and flight testing location as guests of IWC. On the face of it, a centuries-old Swiss watchmaker and an Australian aerospace start-up sound like unlikely bedfellows, but once we got a better sense of the scale of Airspeeder’s ambitions, the reasoning behind the partnership started to click into place.

For nearly a hundred years IWC has been creating purpose-built watches for pilots, beginning with the Mark IX back in 1936. Initially created for military application during the Second World War, the Mark 12 was released for civilian life in 1994, while the Big Pilot design we know and love today saw its revival in 2001, ushering in a new era of everyday pilot’s watch manufacturing.

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About IWC & The Top Gun Navy Fighter Weapons School

With this in mind, a partner like Airspeeder makes perfect sense, as an organisation at the cutting edge of aviation and the pilots required to operate the trailblazing Airspeeder craft. The South Australian-based team isn’t just creating big electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles that fly fast, but is pushing the world of motorsports forward in an attempt to do things that have never been done before.

Airspeeder is a fusion of aircraft and automobiles that has been dreamt of for more than a century, and is to be offered in a racing format that is ten times more complex to execute than your regular Formula 1 event. And while the technical and logistical challenges are complex in themselves, Airspeeder is also working directly with the Australian government to develop the appropriate regulations and laws for their vehicles to operate within. If that isn’t pioneering, I don’t know what is.

More than a century on from the milestones of the Wright brothers, IWC is with Airspeeder from day one, ensuring only the best from the fittingly named Pilot’s collection find themselves on the wrists of the world-class team. And while it’s always cool to see IWC watches in the wilds of the concrete jungle, all the pieces of the puzzle came together when out in the (literal) field on the wrists of the Airspeeder pilots flying ambitious new tech in the skies of rural South Australia.

For Lexie Janson, a talented professional FPV drone racing pilot before she joined Airspeeder, the blacked-out Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun ref. IW389101 was her pick of the IWC catalogue, and the one we spotted on her wrist while visiting the Airspeeder factory’s cutting-edge simulator setup.

“It’s very light, it’s very comfortable and I like the look of the full black,” she said.

“My favourite colours are black and purple, so it matches what I wear.”

Other than the full-black ceramic chronograph, Lexie is also a fan of the black dial version of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 ref. IW329301, which she wore out to the Airspeeder flight testing site. It’s extremely easy to read the time on, a slightly more approachable size than the traditional 46mm Big Pilot’s watches and most importantly for Lexie, it’s got a black dial.

For Zephatali Walsh, another Airspeeder pilot who cut his teeth in the world of competitive FPV drone racing, the Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” ref. IW506003 is his go-to IWC watch when he’s out at the flight testing location. It’s a cool watch, not just because it’s quintessential IWC, but because it really feels like a modern interpretation of the original Big Pilot design language, with a sandy-tone ceramic case and super-legible dial.

Both John and I were also kitted out with Pilot’s Watches on the day we visited the flight testing site, with John making the green dial Pilot’s Watch Chronograph ref. IW378005 look very good, while I was sporting the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 ref. IW329304 with the stunning blue dial.

While I can’t speak for John and his thoughts on the green dial chronograph, I can confirm the comfort and wearability of the Big Pilot’s Watch 43. I generally prefer watches that aren’t bigger than 42mm, and have always been a little bit disappointed by how much I liked the design of the original Big Pilot when it was too large for me at 46mm in diameter.

With the BP43 though, the proportions have remained spot on with an expansive dial and oversized crown, while the addition of the outrageously comfortable steel bracelet launches it firmly into the category of watches I could see myself wearing as a daily. It isn’t flashy and the dial is balanced and clean, but it makes an undeniable statement on the wrist that is hard to let go of once you experience it.

It was a fascinating couple of days spent with the Airspeeder team, not only in the understanding we got of exactly what the company is seeking to achieve but also in getting to know the people behind the vision and seeing just how excited they are for what’s to come. The future of flying could be just around the corner, and it’s being created right here Down Under.

You can read more about Airspeeder project at our original article here.

This article is sponsored by IWC Schaffhausen. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.

Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at)



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