25/05/2006 “Saint Ex” lives on The IWC Edition Antoine de Saint Exupéry
75 years after the publication of his novel, Night Flight, Swiss chronometer maker IWC Schaffhausen is dedicating a limited
edition of one of its pilot’s watches to the pilot and author Antoine de Saint Exupéry.
Antoine de Saint Exupéry, known as “Saint Ex” last climbed into the cockpit of an aeroplane. a Lockheed P38 Lightning, on the military airfield at Borgo in Corsica for a reconnaissance flight over occupied France on 31 July 1944. He failed to return.
Most famous for writing the "Little Prince", his novel "Night Flight" was published 75 years ago, and tells the story of the
loss of an aircraft carrying mail from Patagonia en route for Buenos Aires. It was based on his experiences in the '30s building up the Aéroposta Argentina airmail company operating from Buenos Aires, which was the first functional airmail network in that part of the world.
IWC Schaffhausen has chosen the anniversary of the publication of the novel as the occasion for a special edition of its new mechanical Pilot’s Chronograph. The Special Edition Antoine de Saint Exupéry will be limited to exactly 1,931 watches – with a tobacco-coloured dial, special protection against magnetic fields, an automatic winding system, aggregate time recording up to 12 hours, and a case-back engraving that portrays the flying hero.
The case back is engraved with the likeness of the author and pilot and shows “Saint Ex” in his flying gear on the airfield at the Borgo airbase on Corsica. This famous photograph was taken by LIFE photographer John Phillips just a few days before Saint Exupéry’s last, fatal mission.
The 1,931 examples will comprise 1,630 in stainless steel, 250 in rose gold, 50 in white gold and a single example – not for sale – in a platinum case. The platinum watch will be auctioned together with a first edition of “Vol de nuit” in French for the benefit of the “Vol de Nuit /Vuelo Nocturno” association. This association takes care of neglected children in Argentina, a country which was very important for Antoine de Saint Exupéry.