In a year where IWC Schaffhausen has put the (Big) Pilot’s Watch collections under a massive spotlight, we’ve seen numerous interesting new editions being presented. This can be either in colour combinations, materials, or movement types. While we have seen novelties outside of the (Big) Pilot’s Watch collections, the quintessential Flieger Uhr by IWC was all the rage. With that in mind, we went through all the new models and picked out the five that impressed us the most. Here are IWC’s best watches introduced in 2021.
IWC Pilot’s Chronograph Tribute to 3705
We start with a tribute piece, dedicated to an important watch in IWC’s history of the pilot’s watches. The IWC Pilot’s Chronograph Tribute to 3705 harnessed the spirit of the original 1994 IWC Fliegerchronograph Keramik, better known as the 3705. The new interpretation features a 41mm wide matte-black Ceratanium case, with the bezel, pushers, crown, caseback and buckle done in the same material. The rest of the architecture is very close to the original 3705. A black dial with white contrasting markings, slightly updated in comparison, paired with a straight-cut hour hand and pointy minute hand. Using the manufacture chronograph 69380, developed to replace the outsourced Valjoux 7750, the Tribute to 3705 displays the same information as the old one, but with the small seconds at 6 instead of 9 o’clock.
Quick Facts – 41mm x 15.3mm – matte-black Ceratanium case – crown, pushers and caseback in Ceratanium – sapphire crystal, protected against displacement by drops in air pressure – soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields – 60m water-resistance – grained, matte black dial – rhodium-plated hands with Super-LumiNova – luminous indexes at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock – chronograph with 3 subdials and day-date display – Calibre 69380, in-house – automatic with pawl winding system – integrated chronograph with column-wheel – 33 jewels – 28,800vph – 46h power reserve – black pilot’s calfskin strap with Ceratanium buckle – Limited Edition of 1,000 pieces – EUR 12,800
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43
The introduction of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 split enthusiasts into two camps when introduced. On one hand, we saw people welcoming the smaller size with open arms, and on the other people who felt it wasn’t a “true” Big Pilot anymore. Regardless of which side you’re on, the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 retains most of the hallmarks that make up IWC’s emblematic pilot’s watch. The smaller case has the same architecture, with an oversized crown and a thin bezel. The dial remains extremely legible and comes in matte black or sunray brushed blue. A sapphire crystal caseback reveals the in-house 82100 calibre, which uses the brand’s Pellaton winding system. The power reserve is a very admirable 60 hours. The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 also features a new quick-release system for the straps and bracelets.
Quick Facts – 43mm x 13.6mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – sapphire crystal on both sides, protected against displacement by drops in air pressure – 100m water-resistance – matte black or sunray brushed blue dial – white Arabic numerals and markers with Super-LumiNova – sword-shaped hands with Super-LumiNova – IWC Calibre 82100, in-house – automatic with Pellaton winding system – 22 jewels – 28,800vph – 60h power reserve – bracelet or leather strap with quick-release system – EUR 8,950 on leather strap or EUR 9.950 on steel bracelet
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL
The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL is the most technically advanced “BP” to date. Retaining the exterior DNA of the Big Pilot range, the Shock Absorber XPL uses a special system to suspend it’s movement and dial inside the 44mm wide Ceratanium case. This patented SPRIN-g PROTECT system shields the movement from shocks in excess of 30,000G. The system can be seen surrounding the central “container”, and the crown is linked through a flexible clutch coupling. The Calibre 32111 inside features an aluminium base plate to reduce the weight. It displays the hours, minutes and seconds, and provides 120 hours of power reserve. Its production will be limited to 10 pieces per year, and 30 in total. We were fortunate enough to witness this watch first-hand and interviewed Commander Etienne Bauer, the Rafale pilot who tested the Shock Absorber XPL for IWC.
Quick Facts – 44mm x 12mm – matte-black Ceratanium case – sapphire crystal protected against displacement by drops in air pressure – 100m water-resistance – SPRIN-g PROTECT system protecting the movement from shocks in excess of 30,000G – matte black dial with luminescent indices – sword-shaped hands – Calibre 32111, in-house – 4hHz frequency – 120h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds – black rubber strap on pin buckle – limited to 10 pieces per year, 30 in total – CHF 80,000
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert themed TOP GUN versions of IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watch date back to 2019 when we saw the sand-coloured watches for the first time. Destined to be used as a proper tool, we get a scratch-resistant ceramic case measuring 46mm in diameter, with a soft-iron inner case, screw-down crown and crystals protected against displacement caused by drops in air pressure. This ensures the Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Mojave Desert is capable of withstanding rugged environments, extreme temperatures and magnetic fields. The bold case has a matte brown dial with sand-coloured numerals, indices and hands. Inside ticks the automatic Calibre 52110, similar to other BP models. It belongs to the latest generation, in-house 7-day automatic movements and uses an upgraded bidirectional Pellaton winding system. It is presented as a limited edition of 250 pieces.
Quick Facts – 46mm x 14.6mm – matte sand-coloured ceramic case – titanium caseback with TOP GUN engraving – screw-down crown – 60m water-resistance – matte brown dial – sand-coloured numerals and indices – sword-shaped hands with sand-coloured Super-LumiNova inserts – date window – power reserve indicator – Calibre 52110, in-house – automatic Pellaton winding system – 28,800vph – 168h power reserve with twin barrels – soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields – sand-coloured rubber strap with textile inlay – limited edition of 250 pieces – EUR 14,900
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN
The very large dial of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch seems like a natural fit for the multitude of information of a Perpetual Calendar display. Despite numerous additional indications, the dial remains fairly balanced and reasonably legible. And this year we were treated to the most tactical “BP QP” to date, the TOP GUN version in full matte black Ceratanium. Not only the case is made of the robust, scratch-resistant material, but also the bracelet and buckle, a first for IWC. Seen through the partially tinted caseback, is IWC’s 52615 Calibre, using the Kurt Klaus developed module for the perpetual calendar display. This movement provides a massive 168h power reserve thanks to its double-barrel set-up. The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN is limited not by numbers but by production capacity, set at 150 pieces per year.
Quick Facts – 46.2mm x 15.4mm – matte-black Ceratanium case – sapphire crystal front and back, secured against displacement by drops in air pressure – 60m water-resistance – matte black dial with black hands, all elements filled with grey Super-LumiNova – Calibre 52615, in-house – automatic with Pellaton winding system – 54 jewels – 28,800vph – 168h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds (hacking) – perpetual calendar with date, weekday, month, year on 4 digits, perpetual moonphase for northern and southern hemispheres – power reserve indicator – matte black Ceratanium bracelet, H-shaped links – Ceratanium folding-clasp with micro-adjustment system – limited to a production of 150 pieces per year – EUR 46,800
For more information, please visit IWC.com