In 2014, IWC has launched Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Patrouille Suisse” paying tribute to the high-flying excellence of the Swiss aerobatics squadron. This year, the Schaffhausen-based manufacturer once again pays homage to the Patrouille Suisse with another special edition watch.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse” is just like the previous edition that celebrates flying skills of the Patrouille Suisse produced in the limited quantity of only 250 pieces. The watch is presented in gray color with a case crafted from blasted stainless steel featuring the distinctive design elements that make this pilot’s watch instantly identifiable.
The stainless steel case sizes 46mm in diameter and 16mm in thickness. The case is shielded with convex sapphire crystals with antireflective coatings on both sides and it features an imposing crown which is a reminder of those pioneering days of aviation when pilots were exposed to the elements in unheated or even open cockpits. The case construction provides water resistance up to 60 meters (approximately 200 feet). Furthermore, its case encloses a soft-iron cage that shields the movement against extreme magnetic fields.
Underneath the front sapphire glass lies a slate-colored dial with sun-pattern finish. The arrowhead index at the 12 o’clock position and the bold, luminescent Arabic numerals and hands provide perfect legibility under low lighting conditions. A clearly organized dial comprises two sub-dials. The power reserve counter is located at the 3 o’clock position and it offers a reliable indication of the time that remains until the movement comes to a stop, while on the opposite side, at the 9 o’clock position, there is a small seconds display. The uncluttered dial also features a small date window which is situated at the 6 o’clock position.
The beating heart of the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse” is the largest in-house manufactured caliber 51011 automatic movement which combines all the features that have proved their worth in the long history of IWC’s mechanical timepieces.
The spring-mounted rotor and Pellaton pawl-winding system build up a power reserve of 168 hours (seven days), and after that time, the mechanism is mechanically stopped by an ingenious train in the power reserve. A danger of diminishing torque in the mainspring is eliminated by stopping the movement before all the tension in the spring has been exhausted. Thus the impeccable mechanism preserves the same level of accuracy during the whole time the watch is running. The 42 jewels movement oscillates at the semi-rapid frequency of 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz).
From the rear, the case back features an engraving of three jet planes resembling the Northrop F-5E Tiger II – the planes the Patrouille Suisse pilots use to perform their aerial shows. There is also the inscription “Tribute to Patrouille Suisse” and the consecutive numbering in a form “001/250“ which indicate the exclusivity of this limited edition timepiece.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse” (ref. IW500910) is attached to an anthracite-colored wristband of embossed calfskin, ending with a folding clasp in steel.