The end of last year we told you about the limited edition Big Pilot Watch honouring one of IWC’s favourite ambassadors, the late Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and his famous character “le petit Prince”. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and the ‘Petit Prince’, feature as IWC limited editions regularly and always, a part of the proceeds go to a good cause. After the steel version, IWC have now come with a follow up limited edition, the IWC Big Pilot Le Petit Prince in red gold.
The “Le Petit Prince” are all limited editions and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry editions are ‘special editions’ and all are linked with charity. For instance the Pilot Chronograph Saint-Exupéry ‘Last Flight‘, which is entirely executed in a brown ceramic case, comes in several editions, and one of these editions has a platinum crown, pushers and case-back. This platinum model is auctioned and all proceeds go to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Foundation. A part of the proceeds of ALL “Le Petit Prince” editions goes to support carefully selected charity projects together with the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation. I just love the combination of high-end watches and charity, and again, IWC does a great job here. A great detail for the owner of such a piece, is that the case-back is always engraved with the little prince, and the dial is always blue.
With the new version IWC have once again applied a limited edition to their iconic timepiece the Big Pilot, and like most of its siblings this new limited edition version comes with a 46mm case, now made of rose gold. Of course it features its iconic diamond shaped crown, reminiscent of the early pilot watch’s and large dial opening that really accentuates the sheer presence of this piece.
The gorgeous midnight blue sunburst dial is a striking combination with the red gold case. The gold-plated applied hands and indexes are coated with super-LumiNova, whereas the classic pilot’s watches of course had matte black dials and numerals in tritium (or even radium, which has a whole other story linked to it) for good visibility during the darker hours. The white minute track is slightly different with numerical indications placed every 5minutes and also indications for a quarter of a second.
Historically original IWC pilot watches were fitted with large pocket watch movements. IWC have continued with the same concept by using a large in-movement calibre 5111 with a 7-day power reserve. If you want to learn more about the history of pilot’s watches, we published five long-reads about this important part of the history of wrist watches – click here to start with part 1. One in particular is about the so-called B-Uhr, which stands for Beobachtungs-Uhr and translates to Deck Watch, and focusses on these big pilot watches.
One of the main features of a pilots watch is a thick leather strap and this is no different coming with a brown calfskin strap with quilted stitching. And finally the reverse of the piece has, like all its “Le Petit Prince” siblings, a sketch of “Le Petit Prince” engraved into the case-back with the number of the watch. All together this IWC Big Pilot Le Petit Prince edition is probably one of the most attractive versions of all IWC Big Pilot watches.
- Movement: IWC in-house Calibre 51111, with Pellaton automatic winding system, 7-day power reserve when fully wound, date display, central hacking seconds, Breguet overcoil spring
- Case: 18K red gold case, 46mm in diameter, 16mm thick, big diamond shaped screw-in crown, sapphire convex crystal with antireflective coating on both sides, withstands drops in air pressure, limited to 250 watches, special engraving featuring the little prince and inscription “IWC ∙ LE PETIT PRINCE ∙ ONE OUT OF 250” on case back
- Strap: brown calfskin strap with quilted stitching, folding clasp in 18K red gold
The IWC Big Pilot Le Petit Prince in 18K red gold has a price tag of € 33.000 Euro (including 21% VAT) / CHF 32.000 Swiss Francs (including 8% VAT)