IWC from Schaffhausen achieved the worldwide popularity mainly thanks to their Pilot’s watches. Since 2002, the Big Pilot’s Timepiece has been the company’s flagship and one of the most recognizable watches in the luxury watch world.
This large-sized timekeeper with a strong and distinctive character features the classical, instrument-inspired look of the cockpit. Housed in a 46 mm round case, it is a well-known in-house manufactured Caliber 51111 mechanical movement with Pellaton winding system. The spring-mounted rotor and Pellaton pawl winding build up a power reserve of impressive 7 days. In fact, the movement can store enough power to keep the watch ticking for as long as 8.5 days, but only 168 hours energy reserve is used before the movement is mechanically stopped by an ingenious little train in the power reserve. Thus, it eliminates the danger of diminishing torque in the mainspring and provides the perfect accuracy of the 42 jewels movement. This movement is one of the largest automatic movements in the world.
The masculine case encloses a soft-iron cage that protects the movements against extreme magnetic fields. The inner back plate, casing ring and dial are crafted from pure iron and are specifically capable at conducting magnetic flux lines around the movement. This perfect combination holds back magnetic fields from reaching the movement and also provides maximum precision in all kinds of situations.
Depending on a model, Big Pilot’s watch can be housed in an 18-karat white gold or in a stainless steel case. The oversized case is 15.8 mm thick and incorporates a turnip-styled screw-in crown. The watch is shielded on both sides by convex scratch-resistant sapphire glasses with antireflective coatings and secured against displacement by drop in air pressure. It is water-resistant to the depth of 60 meters (200 feet).
A Power Reserve and Date Windows
The design of its clearly laid-out dial with luminescent arrowhead index situated at the 12 o’clock position without a doubt revives the look of the Big Pilot’s watch from 1940 (it was the largest wristwatch ever made by IWC with the diameter of enormous 55 mm).
Its sleek dial features extremely legible white Arabic numerals and hour markers. The hour markers at the quarter hour, as well as hour and minute hands are filled with luminous materials that provide perfect readability even in deep darkness. A power reserve indicator is situated at the 3 o’clock position, while a small date aperture is located at the 6 o’clock position.
The Swiss watchmaker from Schaffhausen offered two versions of Big Pilot’s wristwatch. The standard steel model IW500401 sports a black dial and the matching alligator leather strap in pilot style, whereas the 18-karat white gold version IW500402 matches an ardoise (slate-gray) dial and a dark brown alligator strap with a deployant clasp.
The retail price for the steel model is about $14,000, while the model made from the precious metal can be purchased for approximately $28,000.