Monochrome Watches
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The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN, For The First Time with Ceratanium Case & Bracelet (Live Pics & Price)

The complex BP QP, clad in the brand's innovative material.

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Ceratanium IW503604

With roots that go back to the 1940s and, more importantly, a production history that started in the mid-1990s, IWC‘s Pilot’s Watch collection is one of the brand’s most established ranges, and it comprises almost all complications and movements that the brand has managed to create over the years. Of course, Kurt Klaus’ perpetual calendar is no exception to the rule, and the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar has been seen, even recently, in multiple editions, such as the new Racing Green or the blue-on-steel model of the permanent collection. But today, it’s a TOP GUN watch that is released, which means tactical black colour scheme. But what’s more interesting here is not the look, but the materials, as we’re looking at the brand’s first watch entirely made of Ceratanium, case AND bracelet. Meet the new IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Ceratanium IW503604. 

If you think a bit… The overall idea behind this watch could feel familiar to you. Indeed, right in the middle of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, a certain Lewis Hamilton was spotted wearing a very surprising (and unique) Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar with a full black dial, and most importantly, a full Ceratanium attire… And even though we don’t know if he was back then testing a prototype or if the brand has been inspired by Hamilton’s idea, but the concept is now arriving in the collection with the new reference IW503604, the first full Ceratanium watch of IWC. And because this innovative material is not the easiest to produce, it will be reserved for now to one of the most complex BPs available, the Perpetual Calendar.

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To make the story short regarding the specifications, the watch in question is based on the stainless steel and blue dial edition that is back in the permanent collection since earlier this year, the reference IW503605. This means an oversized case of 46.2mm in diameter and 15.4mm in height – yes, it’s big, no debating this, but after all, it’s part of the concept – with typical pilot’s watch elements, such as the diamond-shaped screw-in crown and the sapphire crystal on top that is secured against displacement caused by drops in air pressure – yes, IWC’s pilot’s watches are real pilot’s watches… The display is based on the perpetual calendar module developed by Kurt Klaus in the 1980s, with its spread indications (thus feeling home in such a large case) with hours/minutes, a small seconds, a power reserve indicator and a perpetual calendar that shows the date, the day-of-the-week, the month, the year in 4 digits and a double moonphase for both Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Under the screwed caseback with sapphire crystal, here with a slightly tinted surface, is the calibre 52615, a highly powerful in-house automatic base that provides no fewer than 7 days or 168 hours of power reserve on two barrels. Beating at 4Hz, the base movement powers the QP module on top and is wound by a Pellaton winding system. The view through the caseback, with its partially tinted coating, bring a coherent look with the rest of the watch.

Ok, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at what makes this IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Ceratanium IW503604 special. First of all, being part of the TOP GUN family, it’s all about tactical all-black and modern look. The dial, for instance, has a matte black base and shows grey-coloured luminous elements and markers, only accented by small touches of red on the tip of the QP hands. The monochromatic, jet-black design continues on the case, which is made of Ceratanium, as well as the crown.

As a reminder, Ceratanium is the latest development of IWC in advanced performance materials. Known for its pioneer use of titanium and ceramics, the brand has recently developed Ceratanium, a material that combines the lightness and structural integrity of titanium with a hardness and scratch-resistance similar to ceramic. Based on a titanium alloy made specifically for IWC, it is then going through a sintering process, which results in a phase transformation of the surface and a ceramic-like surface that bonds directly with the titanium. As such, the matte black surface you see isn’t a coating but a treatment of the metal’s structure… The result is a material that is lighter than steel, that has great mechanical resistance and that is protected from aggression (scratches and corrosion).

Here, in addition to the case and crown being made in this innovative alloy, the bracelet is also made of Ceratanium, which is a first for the brand. This bracelet with h-shaped links has the same matte black and skin-friendly surface as the case and is equipped with a folding clasp. Best of all, the clasp features a fine-adjustment device.

Availability & Price

The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Ceratanium IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Ceratanium won’t be limited in numbers but its production will be limited to 150 pieces a year. It will be priced at EUR 46,800.

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3 responses

  1. This bracelet would be killer on my Iwc mark xviii hodinkee Ceratanium Edition. Will there be a smaler version of this bracelet??

  2. No plans revealed by IWC yet regarding a smaller bracelet… but Ceratanium is fairly complex to make so a bracelet sold separately is quite unlikely in the near future.

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