It is difficult to think of IWC without having images of one of their iconic pilot’s watches flash through the subconscious. Previously, this image may have been of the unforgettable Big Pilot, or even the Mark XVII — but as a of 2016’s SIHH, that image in your mind will henceforth be the incomparable new 55mm Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch.
Leading the fleet of pilot’s watches unveiled by IWC at the fair this year, this behemoth of a timepiece is one for the true lovers of the original idea of pilot’s watches — large, legible without question and easily strapped over the top of protective flight suits. And while the watch’s aesthetical identity is pegged to IWC’s heritage vaults, this present-day execution is one that is completely in line with IWC’s progressive approach to watchmaking, because the Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch’s 55mm case is forged out of titanium and comes fitted with a sapphire crystal, which has been designed to withstand displacement due to a drop in air pressure.
Granted, you’re not going to need such a robust, flight-ready watch daily, the timepiece is, however, sure to garner extensive interest from die-hard pilot’s-watch collectors. And in order to make the deal even sweeter for those intrepid few, IWC will be producing only a 100 pieces of the Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55 — thereby making this a truly exclusive and special timepiece.
IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55
Movement: IWC cal. 98300 manual-winding movement; hours and minutes; small seconds; 46-hour power reserve
Case: 55mm; titanium; water-resistant to 60m
Strap: Brown calfskin
If, however, you are one of those intrepid few, but somehow don’t manage to get your hands on one of the 100 pieces, fret not — the 55mm Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch also has a sibling that shares its design codes in a 48mm case, and this will be produced in a larger run of 1,000 pieces.
Other notable pieces in the collection this year include a really smart world-time chronograph, the Timezoner Chronograph, as well as the reintroduction of the “Le Petit Prince” series of pilot’s watches. The previous Mark XVII has now been updated with the Mark XVIII, which takes on a more purist form of the series, forgoing elements such as the triple-date window in favor of a more definitive single window.
IWC has also made an effort this year to reach out to those with perhaps a more diminutive or feminine wrist by introducing the new Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36, with a 36mm case. This is no frivolous reduction in case size, but rather one that is directly inspired by the legendary Mark 11, which also had a 36mm case.
This and many more finer points from IWC’s long, pilot’s watchmaking heritage has jubilantly made it into the collection unveiled this year at SIHH. Fortunately for you and I, we need go no further than the cover story contained in this issue 45 of Revolution Asia to discover this heritage, as well as the new collection, in detail.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph
Movement: IWC cal. 89760 self-winding movement; hours and minutes; small seconds; chronograph; date; 24-hour display; 68-hour power reserve
Case: 45mm; stainless steel; water-resistant to 60m
Strap: Black calfskin