Saab-Signed IWC Mark XII

Saab: one of many names, or brands, that you just don’t expect to tangent anywhere near watchmaking. TAG partnering with Porsche makes sense, directionally and historically. Omega and Bond; it’s not what Fleming wrote but no one will argue there isn’t synergy there. But Saab? The people who made aspirational cars for designers, architects, turtleneck enthusiasts, and wanna-be fight pilots? Yes, those sensible Swedes somehow once convinced zee no-nonsense Germans over at IWC to make them a watch. They obliged, in exactly 210 examples of the Mark XII.


But that’s not even the strangest part. It wasn’t for one of the sexy Turbo models, upper management, or as gifts to family and friends. Saab sought out a limited run IWC for a very non-descript 1997 special edition 900 cabriolet only available in yellow known as the ‘mellow yellow’. With no sense of irony, the watch is probably worth more these days. Certainly, servicing costs will be less of a, ahem, saab-story (I apologize).


Now, as students of detail, IWC didn’t just leave it at a simple dial stamp. The entire watch is a different proposition. These were made in satin-finished titanium, where the standard Mark XII was steel. The dial wasn’t black as usual, but grey to match the titanium tones. It doesn’t even use the same JLC 889/2 base, instead utilizing an ETA 2892A2. Don’t let the name fool you, it really is a dependable calibre. In fact, it may be only the details of this watch which remain the same, all other major touch points are significantly altered. Saab doesn’t make vehicles anymore, and that’s a bit sad. But if you’re the kind of watch enthusiast whose ideal weekend includes lefse and Abba, it’s still possible to relive those heady days.


This example shows honest light surface wear, titanium is quite easy to scratch. The dial is perfect, as is all tritium. The watch is original, though missing a complete set. It comes from a well-regarded German retailer.

Find this Saab Mark XII here from Rarebirds for 3900 EUR.