Last year, I had the chance to interview F1 superstar Lewis Hamilton, just before the French Grand-Prix. Part of the discussion was, of course, his impressive racing results but also something more in line with our usual topics; watches. I asked him what if he had the opportunity to design his own IWC watch. He answered “red gold is my favourite (…) I love the Big Pilot’s watch, I love heavier watches (…) Most likely it would be a perpetual calendar (…) A watch as mechanical as possible.” Well, it seems that his idea has come to life, with the new IWC “Lewis Hamilton” Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar.
Let’s get it straight… This new IWC Lewis Hamilton edition is bold. Colours are louder than your usual Pilot’s watch, the mix of materials brings a lot of contrast, the watch is large, heavy, complex and far from accessible. In short, it’s quite in line with the image Hamilton sends – even though, to my biggest surprise, the time I spent with him was very relaxed, easy-going and the man is much more humble and realistic than I thought… First impressions! Certainly, I personally prefer a more classic Rodeo Drive edition or the new Top Gun Ceratenium colour scheme. To each his own, and this new IWC is indeed very personal.
The base for this new IWC Lewis Hamilton edition is the well-known the Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar. Once again, we have the oversized 46.5mm case, with a height (almost 16mm) and weight that you can’t forget. The movement and display are also perfectly familiar. What’s not is the unique combination of materials and colours, bolder than most of the other IWC watches you can think of.
For his own IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar, Lewis Hamilton chose a black ceramic case – matte black, made of zirconium oxide. To bring contrast and a bit of “bling”, the pilot’s cone-shaped crown and the caseback are executed in 18K red gold. To match the rest of the dial, the textile strap is Bordeaux red and attached to a folding clasp in black ceramic.
The dial of the IWC Lewis Hamilton edition IW503002 is equally bold, coloured and contrasted. The classical, yet complex display of IWC’s in-house perpetual calendar module is retained, featuring day, date, month, year indication on 4 digits and dual moon for both hemispheres. The watch also features a small seconds and a power reserve indication. The main novelty is the sunray-brushed, Bordeaux red colour of the dial, which is matched with red gold-plated hands, applied indexes and markers… Bold indeed.
Powering the IWC Lewis Hamilton edition is the calibre 52615, an in-house movement with Pellaton winding system, delivering 168 hours of power, beating at 4Hz and featuring 54 jewels. The movement is decorated with a special gold-coloured rotor with Hamilton’s logo.
Price and availability
The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition Lewis Hamilton (reference IW503002) is limited to 100 pieces. It will be priced at EUR 52,600. More details at www.iwc.com.