This year, IWC Schaffhausen honors the aviation pioneer, legendary writer and adventurer with several special edition models. One of them is the new Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” that features a characteristic tobacco brown dial and a calfskin strap, both of which recall Saint-Exupéry’s flying suit.
The new Big Pilot’s Watch that pays tribute to the extraordinary life’s work of a legendary French pilot and great humanist boasts some ingenious technical features. The perpetual calendar does not display only the lunar cycles, but also the seconds, minutes, hours, date, day, month and year in four digits.
All the displays are automatically advanced and will take into account different month lengths and even all the leap days in the Gregorian calendar until 2100 (the year that breaks with the conventional 4-year cycle and will not be a leap year), and they will not need any intervention by a watchmaker. Every hundred years, the leap year that would normally occur is omitted (29 February 2100, for example), which means that on 1 March, the watchmaker will need to set the calendar manually.
In case the watch has not been used for some time and has stopped, the displays are advanced together via the cone-shaped crown. The interesting crown is the reminiscent of the pioneering age of aviation, when pilots often had to climb into an ice-cold cockpit and operate the controls with gloves.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” is powered by the IWC-manufactured caliber 52610 featuring twin barrels which supply the power needed to provide 168 hours (7 days) of power reserve. The 54 jewels mechanism oscillates at the rapid frequency of 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz). The impeccable movement comes with a bi-directional Pellaton winding system with its new ceramic pawls which generates maximum tension in the spring when the watch is worn normally.
The power reserve indicator is situated at the 3 o’clock position, together with a date display. It slowly moves anticlockwise from 1 to 7 (days), thus showing that the mechanism is fully wound.
Underneath the sapphire glass lies a gorgeous tobacco-colored dial which is full of details. The dial comprises rhodium-plated hour and minute hands and the indices which are coated with a luminescent material to provide the best legibility in low lightening conditions. As you can see on the image above, date, day and month hands are tipped with red, thus recalling cockpit instruments.
From the rear, a look through the transparent sapphire glass back shows the movement’s intricate design elements, such as the enhanced Pellaton winding with its practically wear-free parts crafted from black and white ceramic, the blued screws and the different decorative polished finishes on the bridges. The rotor is crafted from solid 18-karat red gold and features the engraved inscription EDITION SAINT EXUPÉRY and ONE OUT OF 750, thus reminding that the watch is issued in the limited quantity.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” is housed in a stainless steel case measuring 46mm in diameter and 15.5mm in thickness. The case is constructed to resist water pressure up to 60 meters (200 feet). This limited edition timepiece also boasts a glass secured against displacement by drops in air pressure.
Finally, the new IWC’s watch is complemented by a matching Santoni leather strap.