Bid on this IWC Pilot’s Watch to benefit underprivileged children
All proceeds from IWC’s ongoing charity auction will go towards the Antoine de Saint-Exupery Youth Foundation, which benefits underprivileged youth around the world.
A pilot’s watch is supposed to be robust, legible and rugged. And for over 80 years IWC has respected those design codes, slowly building its Pilot’s Watch collection up to be an icon both in and out of its category. But when the manufacture joined forces with the heirs of legendary aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery in 2006, the usually tough watches softened slightly with the whimsy of The Little Prince – Saint-Exupery’s most famous literary work – and the heartwarming reminder of his humanist values.
So now, on the 10th anniversary of the Antoine de Saint-Exupery Youth Foundation (FASEJ) founded by his heirs in 2009, IWC is offering a unique Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” for auction, with all the proceeds from the sale going to the Foundation. There are actually 250 pieces of this reference available worldwide, characterised by a midnight blue dial, 18K red gold case, flyback chronograph (with a moon phase in the chronograph totaliser at 12 o’clock) and four-digit year indication courtesy of the in-house 89630 calibre. But the one going under the hammer is watch number 10, and features beige lume in the numeral 10.
The timepiece will come with a The Little Prince – Tactile Art Book, Claude Garrandes edition, which features drawings in relief and texts in English, French and Braille, and signed by FASEJ president Francois d’Agay and Dr Claude Garrandes, founder of the Arrimage Association in France, an organisation that conducts art and educational workshops for visually challenged children and young adults worldwide.
Those who were able to attend the commemorative 10 years, 10 days exhibition held in Paris in June would have been able to preview the auction piece, alongside historic artefacts and photographs provided by the Foundation. Bidding takes places exclusively online from now until Jul 17, 2019 as part of Sotheby’s Watches Online auction.
This isn’t the first charity auction IWC has held for FASEJ. While the partnership has given the brand plenty of opportunities to produce pretty black tie versions of its popular tool watch, IWC’s contributions to the Foundations have been significant. The first auction was held in 2013, where a similar Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” (featuring a moon phase depicting the Petit Prince standing on top of his little planet) went under the hammer for CHF 173,000 (S$237,693). The Foundation used the funds to open two schools in Cambodia, as well as mobile libraries that visit remote villages.
Every subsequent year has brought more awareness and funding to FASEJ’s youth-centric aid efforts. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “The Last Flight”, which also happened to be the first IWC watch to sport a brown silicon nitride ceramic case, brought in CHF 40,000, which went into building a library in a Brazilian children’s hospital. Earlier this year, a Big Pilot’s Watch Single Piece worn by brand ambassador Bradley Cooper went for CHF 60,000, and all of it was donated to the Arrimage Association.
IWC couldn’t have picked a better role model. For all his altruism and romantic ideals, Antoine de Saint-Exupery also enjoyed the rush of his exploits in the skies. As he once said, “it is in the compelling zest of high adventure and victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys.” For now, victory of that auction lot can be yours here.