So far, the largest watch ever made at the IWC Schaffhausen workshop was the iconic Big Pilot’s Watch from 1940. At this year’s SIHH watch fair, the Swiss watchmaker unveiled its heir with an amazing 55mm diameter. The Schaffhausen-based manufacturer also presented a little bit smaller version with the still imposing diameter of 48mm which is more appropriated for modern tastes. These newcomers are among 20 other new references that IWC unveiled this month.
Both novelties are crafted from lightweight and durable titanium which provides that the large bodies weight less compared with other watches with the similar diameters (for example, the Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55 weighs less than 150 grams, while the Heritage 48 weighs only 120 grams).
IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage 55 and 48 Limited Editions pay homage to the antique B-Uhr timepieces manufactured by several brands during the Second World War for German pilots (including IWC).
Both timepieces feature matte black dials based on historic cockpit instruments, a style that includes only absolutely necessary details. The dial comprises big Arabic numerals, the propeller-like hands, and indices which are coated in beige-colored Superluminova for best visibility under low lightening conditions. The beige nuance has been chosen for the vintage look of the new watches.
As you can see at the image above, the new IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage 55 and 48 models come with the numeral 9 which was dropped over a decade ago from the Big Pilot’s dial. Also, the triangle with two dots at the 12 o’clock position has been situated slightly lower on the dial compared with the previous Big Pilot’s models. The difference when compared with the original Big Pilot’s watch is also a small seconds counter at the 6 o’clock position instead of the center-set seconds hand.
The beating heart of the IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55 is the in-house manufactured caliber 98300 mechanical movement which comes with a shock absorption system. The hand-wound movement is built on 18 jewels, oscillates at the frequency of 18,000 alternations per hour (2.5 Hz) and is capable to store enough energy to keep the watch ticking for at least 46 hours when fully wound.
The Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48 is equipped with the IWC-manufactured caliber 59215 hand-wound movement which provides full 8 days of power reserve when fully wound. The 30 jewels mechanism has the beating rate of 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz) and besides the usual set of functions (hour, minute, second) also provides a power reserve indication, as well as a date function. A power reserve display is placed on the back of the watch and shielded with a sapphire glass, whilst a date aperture is situated inside a small date counter at the 6 o’clock position.
Both models of the IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch are attached to brown calfskin straps, ending with titanium pin buckles. Each strap was divided in two and sewn together at the ends, thus allowing the wristwatch to be worn over a thick flying suit. This also makes it impossible to drop the timepiece accidentally while putting it on the wrist.
IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage 55 (ref. IW510401) is produced in the limited series of only 100 specimens which are available exclusively from selected IWC boutiques all over the world. The Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48 (ref. IW510301) is issued in the limited edition comprising 1,000 exemplars.
Each of these two Big Pilot’s timepieces features the soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields and glass secured against displacement by drop in air pressure. Also, each case is protected with antireflective convex sapphire glass and constructed to resist water pressure up to 60 meters (about 200 feet).
The Big Pilot’s Heritage 55 comes with the retail price of $14,800, whereas IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage 48 is available for $13,400.