The Big Pilot is, without a doubt, one of the most emblematic watches of the entire history of IWC. An oversized watch, almost provocative in its proportions and design, it made an incredible impact on the industry and watch community when first released in 2002. For almost 20 years, it was meant to be BIG, until 2021 and the introduction of a smaller BP, the Big Pilot’s Watch 43. A slightly less striking and even more focused take on the concept, it has since been released in Spitfire models. And for 2022, it’s time for it to go modern and technical, with the new IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN IW329801 in Black Ceramic.
When released in 2021, the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 somehow generated quite some comments. While a wider audience certainly appreciated its more restrained looks, its more compact case (thus far more easy to wear), its simpler movement making it more accessible, its ultra-focused display and clever strap/bracelet quick-change system, there were mixed feelings coming from the hardcore Big Pilot’s fans. Nevertheless, the watch seems to have gained popularity and attracted a new audience since its introduction, meaning that now IWC can expand the collection by adding specialized touches. It started with the vintage-inspired Spitfire bronze and titanium models. It’s now time for the modern, technical TOP GUN touch to be applied.
The main specificity of this IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN IW329801 is to be all about modern and stealthy inspirations. Based on the classic attributes of the sub-collection launched in 2007 with the Double Chronograph TOP GUN, it now has a case made of matte black zirconium oxide ceramic. In a typical IWC style, the crown and caseback are made of contrasting titanium, giving the watch a sheer instrumental look. Compared to the steel, titanium or bronze models, this TOP GUN has grown a bit, being 43.8mm in diameter (+ 0.8mm). The case is a decent 13.9mm in height, thus far thinner than a classic Big Pilot. The crown screws in and the watch offers a comfortable 100m water-resistance. The titanium caseback is decorated with the TOP GUN emblem. It also features a soft-iron inner case that protects the movement from the effects of magnetic fields.
The dial of this Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN IW329801 couldn’t be more focused on legibility… The combination of a matte black background, oversized hands and markers in white and the fact that apart from the time, nothing has been added to the display, this results in a watch that might one of the most legible on the market. Here, the hands are black and largely filled with luminous material and a small touch of red has been added to the TOP GUN logo.
On the wrist, the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN can hardly be named a small, restrained piece but the combination of reduced diameter, thinner case and shorter lugs (well, sort of, at 53mm) makes it far more wearable than a classic Big Pilot. The watch is worn on a green textile strap with a titanium folding clasp, somehow reminiscent of the older Miramar models. The strap is equipped with the integrated EasX-CHANGE system, allowing to change the strap without tools, effortlessly.
Inside the case is the calibre 82100. This in-house movement features the brand’s emblematic Pellaton winding system, which has been fitted with components made of virtually wear-free ceramic. The power reserve is a comfortable 60 hours.
Availability & Price
The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN Ceramic IW329801 is released as part of the permanent collection. It will be available from boutiques, retailers and online from April 2022. It is priced at EUR 11,000. For more details, please visit iwc.com.