As part of the celebrations for the brand’s 150th anniversary, IWC have done something rather unusual. They have given the classic pilots watch a big date display. Pilots watch purists probably won’t like this. A pilot’s watch should have just hour and minute hands, a central second-hand, Arabic numerals and virtually nothing else on the dial. In this piece, there is a small seconds display at 6 o’clock and the big date display at the top of the dial.
Big and bold
IWC is perfectly entitled to experiment with its aesthetic heritage and the result is undoubtedly a very attractive wrist watch. very large, very bold and supremely legible. There is a power reserve display on the case back. The watch has a black alligator strap.
If you like large watches, you’ll love this watch. It is 46.2 mm in diameter and 15.2 mm thick, with a stainless steel case beautifully finished in differentiated polished and brushed surfaces. it has a large conical screw-in crown – in a shape typical of pilot’s watches – and a water resistance of 6 bar, 60 m. The numerals and hands are coated in SuperLuminova and they contrast well with the blue enamel dial.
When you turn the watch over you see the solid case back with just a window showing the power reserve. Like classical pilot’s watches, this piece has a soft iron inner case to provide protection against magnetic fields and so there would be no point in having a sapphire caseback. In a way this is a pity because the hand-wound calibre 59235, based on the existing 59210, is a lovely piece of watchmaking, large and beautifully finished.
8-day power reserve indicator
On the calibre 59210 the power reserve is on the dial side. For the Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date the movement was adapted by moving the power reserve to the caseback side and adding the big date function based on two concentric numeral discs.The size of the movement makes it possible to have a very large mainspring barrel, and the watch, which is hand-wound, has a power reserve of 192 hours, 8 days, so that winding becomes a weekly ritual. It would be capable of running for even longer, as it incorporates IWC’s stopping device that brings the movement to a halt once the mainspring has reached a certain minimum torque. This ensures that precision is optimal throughout the entire eight-day period. The balance runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz) and has 30 jewels.
Price and reference
The Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Edition “150 Years” in the blue dial version with rhodium plated hands is reference IW510503, and it costs $13,800 plus taxes and shipping, €14,800 inclusive of VAT. It is a limited edition of 150 pieces.
White dial version
It is also available in a white dial version with blued hands and black dial markings. In this piece the luminescence is just on the hands and the hour markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. This is reference IW510504, and the price is the same, $13,800 plus taxes and shipping, €14,800 inclusive of VAT. Limited edition of 150 pieces. Further information from the IWC website.