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By Neharika Padala | October 31 2014
This November, during its sale of Important Watches, Sotheby’s Geneva will proudly offer for sale a special limited edition watch from the celebrated Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “The Last Flight” (Ref. IW388005) has been designed to commemorate 70 years since the tragic death of celebrated writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The sale of the watch will take place during Sotheby’s auction of Important Watches on 11 November 2014, and all the proceeds will benefit the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, dedicated to supporting young people around the world.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Last Flight In 1944, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry took off on a reconnaissance flight over France and never returned. Mystery surrounded his fate until 1998, when a fisherman found a bracelet belonging to the French national hero off the shores of Marseille. Pieces of wreckage were later recovered and identified as parts of Saint-Exupéry’s 2 aircraft. Patriotism and a sense of adventure had led the celebrated writer into the path of a German Luftwaffe pilot, who unwittingly shot down one of his favourite authors.
Seventy years later, the life and work of this aviation pioneer and creative genius will be remembered in Geneva at Sotheby’s, when a stunning limited-edition watch – the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “The Last Flight” (Ref. IW388005) number 01 out of 17 pieces – featuring a silicon nitride ceramic case with a special engraving goes under the hammer. The proceeds from the sale will benefit the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, in support of the Hospital Pequeno Príncipe in Curitiba, Brazil’s largest children’s hospital. The fund will help to build a library for young patients of this centre, which specializes in highly complex heart operations, organ and bone transplants and cancer treatment.
In keeping with IWC’s continuing homage to Saint-Exupéry, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “The Last Flight” features a brown ceramic case, a brown dial and a calfskin strap in the same colour, echoing the tobacco colour of the pilot’s flying suit. The watch features a crown, buttons and case back in platinum.
Looking ahead to the sale, Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches said: “This special edition Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is the perfect timepiece to commemorate a man whose legacy combines poetry and humanity with bold endeavor, continuing to inspire today. We are delighted to renew this partnership, and our contribution to the work of the Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, working hand in hand with IWC.”
Georges Kern, IWC Schaffhausen’s CEO, commented: “Last year’s auctioning of a Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” generated a breathtaking CHF 173’000 that was channeled towards the construction of a school with a library in Cambodia, a project brought to life by the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation. We would like to continue our support of this charitable organization with the auctioning of another Special Edition timepiece: the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “The Last Flight” in platinum, with an exquisite engraving on the case back in memory of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. As a globally successful company with a strong commitment to social responsibility, we are proud to have found a partner in the Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation which relies on a vast international network and does incredible work for disadvantaged children with its local projects.”
Olivier d’Agay of the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation added: “The purchaser of this great collector’s IWC Pilot’s Watch Edition “The Last Flight” will be making a generous contribution to the long-standing, well established partnership between the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation and the Little Prince Hospital “Hospital Pequeno Príncipe” in Brazil (Curitiba, Parana), the largest private children’s hospital in South America. Thanks to this donation, we will be able to finance new library facilities in the Hospital, including dedicated rooms, mobile trailers, specialized staff, books, computers and digital e-books. This service helps to enhance cultural and educational action in the hospital and will benefit all the children, including the siblings and wider family of the child being treated in hospital.”
(Source: Sotheby’s, IWC Shaufhausen, The Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation)