The news-storm from SIHH is in full effect, and quite literally, the renewal of the entire Big Pilot collection is BIG thing. After the limited edition IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48 & 55 (inspired on the B-Uhr watches), there are also a bundle of new Chronographs in the collection. Of course a new Petit Prince, but also a new Spitfire Chronograph. Here’s an overview of the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph, including the normal black IW377709 and the rest of the collection.
The SIHH is Richemont’s moment to introduce all the new models, from every brand under the group’s umbrella. This year for IWC, the Pilot’s Watch collection is entirely overhauled, following last year’s renewal of the Portuguese. Into the Pilot collection, the Big Pilot holds kind of a special place in the eye of collectors, especially the 5002 and 5004 references. A bold, clean (but at the same time pretty sizeable at 46.2mm wide) rendition of a true pilot’s watch. Then came another edition, and the added 12-hour chronograph-functionality takes it a step further. It no longer is that clean, tool-like, purpose built watch, but it becomes a lot more versatile. And a bit smaller, but more on that later.
For 2016, IWC start’s with the new IW377709 and IW377710 references. The biggest change basically, is that the triple date window is gone, to be substituted by a single date window. This gives the dial of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph a much cleaner look, while it may be experienced as a bit busy before. Legibility is still very much on par, as a pilot’s watch should be. The 43mm wide (already grown 1mm in diameter with the IW3777 reference a few years ago), and 15mm tall case is done in stainless steel, features a black dial and will be available on either a Santoni black leather strap (IW377709) or a stainless-steel bracelet with folding buckle (IW377710).
Another small, but significant change is the removal of the 5-minute numerals on the outside of the minute markers. This further balances the dial, making it a clearly organized, easy-to-read watch.
Next in line is, of course, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph “Petit Prince” Edition IW377714. Usually, an IWC “Petit Prince” features a plaque, engraving or other type of graphic of the famous character by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The not-so-obvious link for the uninitiated seems odd, but knowing that monsieur de Saint-Exupery was an avid aviation enthusiast and pioneer makes it more clear. The IWC Big Pilot Chronograph IW377714 features a blue dial with white markings, and an engraved caseback with an image of the little prince.
The third model in the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph line-up is the Spitfire IW377719. With its recognizable slate grey sunburst dial, IWC has been offering the Spitfire since 2006, and always with a dial chosen to match the color of the eponymous aircraft. Various polished surfaces, for the bezel and the bracelet-links, make it stand out a bit more from the other IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph novelties. Additional two-tone NATO straps are also new for the Spitfire.
Inside all the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph watches, you will find the same movement, known as the Calibre 79320, the same as in the current collection. This automatic movement gives each watch a power reserve of 44 hours, and operates at a rate of 28.800 vibrations per hour. It is sourced at ETA, and is based on a Valjoux 7750, reworked to IWC-specifications. It is housed in a soft-iron case to resist magnetic fields. Arguably a hole in the dial for indicating the day and date would reduce this resistance, but we are nitpicking here.
No prices are available yet, and release is unknown at this very moment but more information will shortly follow the SIHH through boutiques and official retailers.