IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage IW501004 and IW501005

With their large conical crown, classic dial design and riveted leather strap, these two new Big Pilot’s watches by IWC have an authentic look, close to the original 1940s IWC pilot’s watch, reference 431 (scroll down for photo). The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage is in two versions, IW501004 with a titanium case, and IW501005 with a bronze case. Both of them are large watches at 46.2 mm diameter and 15.4 mm thickness, with a black dial and blue hands coated with luminescent paint.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage reference IW501004

In terms of appearance, these watches have two major differences with respect to the 431: the date window at 6 o’clock, and the 7-day power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. In addition, though large, they are smaller than reference 431 which was 55 mm in diameter, designed to be worn over a flying jacket sleeve. The crown is screw-in, and the water resistance is double the standard, at 6 atm. The watchglass is secured to avoid popping out in low-pressure surroundings.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage reference IW501004

Bronze is a material that develops a patina over time, and this will end up making each watch a little different, reflecting the user’s habits or lifestyle. The alloy that IWC uses contains aluminium, and it is hard, wear-resistant and durable. The caseback of the bronze IW501005 is in titanium to prevent any staining of the skin.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage reference IW501005

Automatic movement

Both watches are powered by the in-house calibre 52110, with a Pellaton self-winding system and a 7-day power reserve, 168 hours. The movement provides the stop-second function, and it is protected against magnetic fields by a soft iron inner case. It runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hertz, and has 36 jewels. Calibre 52110 belongs to the IWC calibre 52000 family, introduced in 2015. The winding pawls and the automatic wheel are made of black ceramic, and the bearing of the oscillating weight is in white ceramic. These materials reduce friction and make the automatic winding system virtually wear-free.

Calibre 52000

Prices and references

The titanium version of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage is reference IW501004 and it costs €14.000. Available from November 2017.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage reference IW501004

The bronze version of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage is reference IW501005, it is a limited edition of 1,500 pieces, and it also costs €14.000. Available from November 2017.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage reference IW501005

See the Top 20 pilot’s watches to see watches with similar looks by other brands. In the photo below, the the Big Pilot’s Watch, reference 431, dating back to 1940. More information from the IWC website.

IWC Big Pilots Watch, 1940

IWC Big Pilots Watch, 1940, with the calibre 52 T S.C. (photo from the book Engineering Time Since 1868, courtesy IWC)

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