The New Racing Green IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43
IWC enlarges the cornerstone model of its pilot's collection.
If the real Big Pilot, the oversized 46mm watch, is still IWC’s flagship pilot’s watch, the recent introduction of the BP43 somewhat redistributed the cards. This slightly more compact, easier, simpler, more focused version is fast becoming the cornerstone of the collection. Following the initial black and blue versions in steel, we’ve seen the release of several special editions, such as the Spitfire and, a couple of months ago, the Top Gun ceramic version. And now, it’s time for new colours with this new IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Racing Green IW329306 and an array of new rubber straps.
A quick reminder about the facts. For almost 20 years, the name Big Pilot at IWC meant one thing: a 46mm, oversized, almost provocative watch inspired by 1940s B-Uhr, powered by a massive automatic movement with a 7-day power reserve, with a dial all about legibility (that thing can be used as a desk clock…) and a display consisting of central H-M-S, date at 6 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. And although we’ve seen several updates and countless limited editions, the rule was a 46mm case and a powerful movement.
In 2021, the icon of IWC got a rival, a watch that was meant to be infused with the same overall flight instrument spirit, yet in a more reasonable way. Smaller case, simpler movement, cleaner display, more versatility… And while fans of the brand might still only have eyes for the BP46, the new BP43 is on its way to becoming the cornerstone watch; the bigger brother is now seen as the hardcore model, with a more niche approach. Times are changing…
So what do we have with the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43? Basically, and as you’ve guessed by the name, it’s a 43mm model with IWC’s typical pilot’s design, with a slimmer profile (13.6mm) and a somewhat more wearable shape – well, with a 53mm L2L measurement, it isn’t a small watch, but it’s smaller than the BP46. The case is brushed steel with polished accents, the crown has an oversized diamond shape, and the glass is secured against drops in pressure, but now, there’s a screw-in crown and a 100m water-resistance. Versatility, all around.
As for the dial, the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 is the most focused model you can imagine. It’s a time-only watch, with three central hands, and that’s it: no date, no power reserve, just large Arabic numerals and markers, and pilot’s hands filled with SLN. At first, and excluding the special editions (Spitfire and Top Gun), the BP43 was launched in matte black and sunray-brushed blue. And it’s now joined by the new reference IW329306, with a deep green, sunray-brushed dial named “Racing Green” – a hue used to paint British racing cars since 1903. Here it’s combined with pure-white printings and rhodium-plated hands, all being luminous, of course.
Inside the case, and visible under the sapphire caseback, is the in-house calibre 82100, a mid-range movement with Pellaton winding system, 4Hz frequency and comfortable 60h power reserve. It features ceramic components for the winding system, ensuring durability, and the decoration and design of the movement are rather pleasant overall.
This new IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Racing Green IW329306 is, as standard, delivered with a tone-on-tone green rubber strap with rivets and closed by a steel folding clasp. The strap and clasp are equipped with IWC’s EasX-CHANGE system, meaning that you can effortlessly and without a tool switch from one strap to another. In addition, IWC is introducing a carefully curated selection of coloured rubber straps, which are now available in multiple colours: black, blue, red, brown, yellow, green, grey, orange, light blue and olive green.
Availability & Price
The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Racing Green IW329306 is presented as a part of the permanent collection and is now available from boutiques, IWC’s online store and retailers. It is priced at EUR 9,100 (incl. taxes) or USD 8,650 (excl. taxes). For more details and orders, please visit iwc.com.
IWC does great blues and greens, and this dial works really well. I hope they also offer it on the new Mark XX.
WTF is IWC doing? They are seemingly moving further and further away from a professionals timepiece to just plain ol’ wrist jewelry. The rubber strap and green dial on a “pilots” watch is so far away from their glory days. Nothing wrong with these I guess, if this is your cup ‘o tea, but this is not what I envision when I think of a pilots watch. Of course, maybe I am just salty, I am hoping at some point IWC will bring back the baton hands (no fauxtina please) on the Mark series with an in house movement at anywhere between 36-39mm, but that seems increasingly more unlikely to ever happen.
@Budda: I’m with you on the MOD stick hands, would love to see those come back. The new Mark XX is a bit smaller than the Mark XVIII, so it might satisfy your desire for a smaller watch (the Mark XX is slightly thinner and 2mm shorter lug to lug). It will also have the Richemont proprietary 5 day movement, but I’m not sure if IWC will rework it enough to call it in-house.
Very nice concept but I Thought we grew up and quit giant wrist clocks
Im with budda on the green dial & painted indices… cheap!! Green rubber strap? gimmicky.. reminds me folks buying Land Rovers & putting on ultra wide wheel rims.. ( isnt the SUV designed for off road.. or just an image grab ?)