IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar and Mark XVII – Limited Special Edition “Le Petit Prince”

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Frank Geelen | ic_query_builder_black_24px 3 minute read
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Le Petit Prince ref.IW502802

Watches and Wonders is more or less the Asian version of the SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, which takes place in Geneva every year). All exhibiting watch brands see this as an important fair, and they have been introducing new timepieces like it’s Christmas. IWC has just introduced two new pilot’s watches, both limited special editions to celebrate the 70th birthday of the book “The Little Prince”. Just look at the little prince on the moon phase indication of the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar “Le Petit Prince”. This is so cool!

I don’t know if you ever read the book Le Petit Prince, or translated The Little Prince – if you haven’t, please do yourself a favor and read it – but it was not only a great book to read, it was also food for thought. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book has become a classic and is read all over the world, in many languages. Antione de Saint-Exupéry was not only a writer, but also a pilot and an adventurer. Since 2006, IWC has a partnership with Saint-Exupéry’s heirs and their charitable organization, the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation. This partnership has led to several limited edition, but these two are by far the coolest of the pack!

IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Le Petit Prince ref.IW502802

The Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” is packed with technical highlights, like the IWC in-house caliber 51613 with Pellaton automatic winding and 7-day power reserve. The movement generates enough energy for 7 days of power reserve (or 168 hours) and driving all gears of the perpetual calendar. Especially for a watch with a perpetual calendar, such a large power reserve is a blessing, so you don’t have to adjust the calendar every time that you put the watch away for a few days.

All the displays are easily adjusted via the crown and advance automatically. The midnight blue dial contrasts beautifully with the 46 mm big, 18-carat red gold, case and over-sized diamond-shaped red gold crown. The Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” in red gold is limited to 270 watches, and comes with two rarities produced exclusively for IWC: first a reproduction of the original first edition in English entitled “The Little Prince”, and secondly a reprint of the original handwritten manuscript of “Le Petit Prince” in French.

IWC Mark XVII Le Petit Prince ref.IW326506

The next one comes for an entirely different price and we’d be surprised if there are any left, of the 1,000 pieces of this IWC Pilot Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince”. IWC didn’t communicate the official retail price, but the normal Mark XVII comes at a price of just under $5k USD. We guess that this special edition, which is just like the normal Mark XVII made in stainless steel, will be slightly above the $5k USD price point.

IWC Mark XVII Le Petit Prince ref.IW326506The biggest difference with the regular Mark XVII is of course the “midnight blue” dial, similar to that on the Big Pilot Perpetual. Another remarkable feat is the star that functions as counterweight on the seconds hand. Such a small, but cool detail.

The stainless steel case measures 41 mm in diameter and 11 mm in height. Inside ticks a self-winding movement, caliber 30110, which is a modified ETA 2892-A2 or similar ETA clone from Sellita. It has a power reserve of 42 hours and indicates hours, minutes, seconds and the date. The movement is protected from magnetic field by a soft iron inner case, like all IWC Pilot’s watches. Another feature that IWC pilot’s watches have in common, is that the front crystal is secured for a sudden drop in pressure that can cause the crystal to pop out.

The case back is decorated with an engraving that shows the little prince with his fluttering scarf, standing on a tiny asteroid. Around this engraving are the reference number and “one of 1000” which means it’s a limited, but not numbered, edition.

The Pilot Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince” in stainless steel is limited to 1,000 watches.

Part of the proceeds from sales of the special editions Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” and the Pilot Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince” will go to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, to support its worldwide commitment against illiteracy.

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