Long the flagship model of IWC’s collection of Flieger watches, the Big Pilot’s Watch was first paired with the perpetual calendar complication in 2006 as small limited edition runs for two retail partners. Since then, more than 37 versions of this model have been released. Fifteen years after its introduction, the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar in steel again enters IWC’s permanent collection, with the new reference IW503605 and its deep blue dial.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar is a striking piece, measuring 46.2 mm in diameter and 15.4mm in thickness. Big is indeed the style here, but far from being an affectation, it is in keeping with the 1940 original, which was oversized due to the pocket watch calibre inside. Legibility was of the utmost import in the original and, even though it is slightly compromised by the perpetual calendar indications, the large dial of the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar lends itself especially well to the complication.
The stainless steel case sticks with the Big Pilot’s Watch formula and is almost entirely brushed, with the only polished accents being the conical bezel and the caseback. The satin finish preserves the utilitarian look of the watch and somewhat lessens its visual heft. Completing the look is a deeply knurled and oversized onion-shaped crown engraved with the IWC logo.
Blue watch dials are all the rage lately, but the new IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar is none the worse for it – it is a genuinely good-looking watch. The dial is finished in a dark blue metallic sunburst that serves as a high-contrast background for the white printing of the hours and minutes track and for the calendar indications. As a nice touch, the discs for the four-digit year display are a matching shade of blue, resulting in an unobtrusive look. The tracks for the calendar indications are slightly sunken and feature a fine stamped azurage pattern; together with the applied hour indices, they give the dial an added sense of depth. The red arrow tips of the perpetual calendar indications provide a splash of colour to the dial.
The white-on-blue colour scheme in the Big Piot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar recently made an appearance in the 2019 “Rodeo Drive” edition in ceramic – that edition also featured a shock of red for the final day of power reserve, which has been eschewed in the new release for a cleaner look. Also new, the dial is given an upscale feel by the use of applied rectangular hour indices – the traditional triangle index at 12 is likewise a rhodium-plated steel appliqué.
The watch is powered by IWC’s in-house calibre 52615, IWC’s 7-day, twin-barrel automatic movement with a dial-side perpetual calendar module. The calibre, which is visible through the sapphire caseback, makes use of two technical innovations that are synonymous with IWC. The first is the Pellaton automatic winding system, a bi-directional pawl-based winding system crafted of ceramic for greater resistance to wear. The second is the Kurt Klaus perpetual calendar module. Developed in the 1980s by IWC’s former head watchmaker Kurt Klaus, the eponymous perpetual calendar system is incredibly user-friendly in that all of the indications, including the moon phase, can be adjusted in sync via the crown. Should the watch run down and be a couple of days behind, the correction is as simple as making a few turns of the crown. As the perpetual calendar does not rely on recessed pushers in the case flank for adjustment, the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar is water-resistant to 6ATM/60m, which is further underscored by the use of a screw-in crown.
Availability & Price
The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW503605 will be available in the permanent collection starting today – April 7, 2021 – through IWC boutiques, authorised retail partners, or on IWC.com and will retail for CHF 31,000 or EUR 30,200.
More details at iwc.com.