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IWC Big Pilot

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IWC Big Pilot Annual Calendar Spitfire IW5027-02
IWC Big Pilot Annual Calendar Spitfire IW5027-02
$14,500
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
125
US
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve White Gold Slate Dial
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve White Gold Slate Dial
$14,900
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
 
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar
$33,995
Seller
WatchUWant.com
49
US
IWC Big Pilot Black Dial Black Leather Straps Automatic Men...
IWC Big Pilot Black Dial Black Leather Straps Automatic Men...
$11,900
Seller
Watch Warehouse USA
 
US
IWC Big Pilot "le Petit Prince" Stainless Steel Blue...
IWC Big Pilot "le Petit Prince" Stainless Steel Blue...
$11,950
Seller
Philippe's Watches
 
US
IWC Pilot Big Pilot Perpetual Saint-Exupery IW502617
IWC Pilot Big Pilot Perpetual Saint-Exupery IW502617
$42,330
Seller
Gemnation
84
US
IWC Big Pilot IW500401 Pre-owned
IWC Big Pilot IW500401 Pre-owned
$11,500
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
21
US
IWC IW5009-17 Big Pilot Rose Gold with Grey Dial - On Brown...
IWC IW5009-17 Big Pilot Rose Gold with Grey Dial - On Brown...
$21,500
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
14
US
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Boutique 18k...
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Boutique 18k...
$31,475
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
46
US
IWC Big Pilot Annual Calendar Edition "Le Petit Prince&#34...
IWC Big Pilot Annual Calendar Edition "Le Petit Prince"...
$28,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
125
US
IWC Big Pilot 5009-01
IWC Big Pilot 5009-01
$9,650
Seller
Wingate's Quality Watches
21
US
IWC Big Pilot IW5103-01
IWC Big Pilot IW5103-01
$10,950
Seller
WatchUWant.com
49
US
IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Limited Edition Titanium Case...
IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Limited Edition Titanium Case...
$11,000
Seller
Watch Warehouse USA
 
US
IWC Big Pilot's Perpetual Calendar ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPERY
IWC Big Pilot's Perpetual Calendar ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPERY
$19,900
Seller
BlackTagWatches
26
US
IWC Limited-Edition of 500 Big Pilot 'St Exupery'
IWC Limited-Edition of 500 Big Pilot 'St Exupery'
$21,500
Free shipping
Seller
Charles Tearle
 
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$58,800
Seller
Private seller
US
IWC IW500901 Big Pilot in Steel - on Black Alligator Leather...
IWC IW500901 Big Pilot in Steel - on Black Alligator Leather...
$12,300
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
14
US
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot Father Edition 46mm Steel...
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot Father Edition 46mm Steel...
$11,875
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
46
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition IW5026-35
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition IW5026-35
$29,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
125
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Boutique Edition
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Boutique Edition
$32,000
Seller
Chad Warrick
 
US
IWC Big Pilot DFB German Football Special Eition 46mm
IWC Big Pilot DFB German Football Special Eition 46mm
$15,980
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
14
US
IWC Big Pilot Black Dial Black Leather Automatic Men Watch...
IWC Big Pilot Black Dial Black Leather Automatic Men Watch...
$9,300
Seller
Watch Warehouse USA
 
US
IWC Pilot Big Pilots Watch IW500901
IWC Pilot Big Pilots Watch IW500901
$12,628
Seller
Gemnation
84
US
IWC Pilot's Men's Watch IW500916
IWC Pilot's Men's Watch IW500916
$9,795
Seller
WatchMaxx.com
73
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar 18k Rose Gold Brazil Box/Pape...
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar 18k Rose Gold Brazil Box/Pape...
$37,894
Seller
Jewels in Time
 
US
IWC IW500916 Big Pilot Le Petit Prince in Steel - Special...
IWC IW500916 Big Pilot Le Petit Prince in Steel - Special...
$12,900
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
14
US
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot 18k Rose Gold 46mm Slate Dial
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot 18k Rose Gold 46mm Slate Dial
$26,900
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
46
US
IWC Big Pilot Father IW5009-06
IWC Big Pilot Father IW5009-06
$12,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
125
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$8,950
Seller
Chad Warrick
 
US
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Alexei Nemov Stainless Steel...
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Alexei Nemov Stainless Steel...
$10,800
Seller
World of Luxury
28
US
IWC LE of 500 Big Pilot 'St Exupery' Perpetual Calendar
IWC LE of 500 Big Pilot 'St Exupery' Perpetual Calendar
$39,500
Free shipping
Seller
Charles Tearle
 
US
IWC Big Pilot Automatic 7 Day Power Reserve 46 mm, Ref. 5004-01
IWC Big Pilot Automatic 7 Day Power Reserve 46 mm, Ref. 5004-01
$8,480
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
14
US
IWC Big Pilot Stainless Steel 7 Day Automatic Anti-magnetic...
IWC Big Pilot Stainless Steel 7 Day Automatic Anti-magnetic...
$8,750
Free shipping
Seller
Burdeens Jewelry
 
US
IWC Big Pilot's Heritage Watch IW510301
IWC Big Pilot's Heritage Watch IW510301
$11,700
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
21
US
IWC IW5028-05 Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar London Botique in...
IWC IW5028-05 Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar London Botique in...
$28,900
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
14
US
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve Stainless...
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve Stainless...
$8,275
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
46
US
IWC Pilot Fathers Watch ( Of Father & Son Combo) IW500906
IWC Pilot Fathers Watch ( Of Father & Son Combo) IW500906
$12,200
Seller
Wristwerx, Inc
 
US
IWC Big Pilots  Black Dial Automatic IW500912 Extra Large WATCH
IWC Big Pilots Black Dial Automatic IW500912 Extra Large WATCH
$9,280
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
15
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar "Orange Fanta"...
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar "Orange Fanta"...
$24,995
Seller
First Class Timepieces
 
US
IWC Big Pilot's Watch IW500901 Stainless Steel Black Dial...
IWC Big Pilot's Watch IW500901 Stainless Steel Black Dial...
$11,945
Seller
BestWatchSource.com
 
US
IWC Big Pilot Automatic 7 Day Power Reserve 46mm, Ref. 5009-12
IWC Big Pilot Automatic 7 Day Power Reserve 46mm, Ref. 5009-12
$9,750
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
14
US
IWC BIG Pilot Automatic 7 Days Power Reserve IW500912
IWC BIG Pilot Automatic 7 Days Power Reserve IW500912
$10,600
Seller
BlackTagWatches
26
US
IWC Big Pilot Father Watch IW500906
IWC Big Pilot Father Watch IW500906
$13,925
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
21
US
IWC IW500906 Big Pilots Father - Steel on Black Leather Strap...
IWC IW500906 Big Pilots Father - Steel on Black Leather Strap...
$13,700
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
14
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Rose
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Rose
$40,000
Seller
Chad Warrick
 
US
IWC Big Pilot 5004-01
IWC Big Pilot 5004-01
$9,350
Seller
Wingate's Quality Watches
21
US
IWC Big Pilots  Spitfire Slate Grey Dial Automatic IW500917...
IWC Big Pilots Spitfire Slate Grey Dial Automatic IW500917...
$19,860
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
15
US
IWC Big Pilot Stainless Steel Men's Watch IW5004-01
IWC Big Pilot Stainless Steel Men's Watch IW5004-01
$8,950
Seller
DeMesy Fine Watches
5
US
IWC Big Pilot Heritage
IWC Big Pilot Heritage
$11,000
Seller
Tarrytown Jewelers
US
IWC Big Pilot Le Petit Prince Midnight Blue Dial Automatic 7...
IWC Big Pilot Le Petit Prince Midnight Blue Dial Automatic 7...
$9,995
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
14
US
IWC Pilot's Big Pilot Limited Edition Le Petit Prince Blue...
Top
IWC Pilot's Big Pilot Limited Edition Le Petit Prince Blue...
$9,500
Seller
Private seller
US
IWC Big Pilot IW5004-01 Pre-owned
IWC Big Pilot IW5004-01 Pre-owned
$10,525
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
21
US
IWC IW502617 Big Pilot Saint Exupery Perpetual - Rose Gold on...
IWC IW502617 Big Pilot Saint Exupery Perpetual - Rose Gold on...
$35,000
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
14
US
IWC Big Pilot Iw500901 46 Mm Schaffhausen 5009 Iw5009-01 500901
IWC Big Pilot Iw500901 46 Mm Schaffhausen 5009 Iw5009-01 500901
$11,350
Seller
Davinci Watches
 
US
IWC Big Pilot "Father", Silver Rhodium Dial - Stainles...
Top
IWC Big Pilot "Father", Silver Rhodium Dial - Stainles...
$9,895
Seller
Motion in Time
 
US
IWC Big Pilots Heritage 48 Limited edition Black Dial Hand-wou...
IWC Big Pilots Heritage 48 Limited edition Black Dial Hand-wou...
$10,380
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
15
US
IWC "Big Pilot" Strapwatch.
IWC "Big Pilot" Strapwatch.
$10,390
Seller
Capetown Diamond Corporation
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$9,750
Seller
Tarrytown Jewelers
US
IWC Big Pilot Annual Calendar Spitfire [EU Watch] 5027-02
IWC Big Pilot Annual Calendar Spitfire [EU Watch] 5027-02
$12,999
Seller
The Goldenswan Inc
US
IWC Big Pilot's Heritage Watch 48 IW510301
IWC Big Pilot's Heritage Watch 48 IW510301
$12,000
Free shipping
Seller
Prestige Time LLC
US

The Big Pilot from IWC: A Bold Timepiece

The Big Pilot from IWC delivers exactly what its name promises: It's a large tool watch created specifically for pilots. IWC introduced this classic watch for the first time in 1940 and since then it has gained cult status.

Highlights

  • Famous pilot's watch
  • Case diameters ranging from 46 to 55 mm
  • Easy to read thanks to a large dial and stark color contrast
  • Protected against magnetic fields
  • Special limited edition collector's models

A Cockpit Inspired Design

The International Watch Company, better known as IWC, has been producing watches meant for pilots since 1936. In 1940, during the Second World War, the company introduced the 52-caliber T. S. C. Big Pilot's Watch. The timepiece, reference number 431, had a 55-mm case and weighed 183 grams. It remains the largest watch IWC has ever produced. Its case size was, at the time, much larger than average due to the use of an in-house movement originally developed to fit pocket watches. The watch ran precisely and in accordance with the chronometer norm. The central seconds could be stopped in order to allow pilots and navigators to sync their watches with each other or with a time signal to the exact second.
Altogether, the imposing IWC timepieces met the technological standards of the time. The dial had a similar design to the circular cockpit instruments in propeller planes such as the Junkers Ju 52. Clear legibility even under poor lighting conditions was a predominant concern. Thanks to the watch's large dimensions, only one look was required to gather the time. The design was based solely around its legibility: A black dial contrasted with the white stick indices, Arabic numerals, and sword hands. A triangle marked the 12-hour position, and luminous material ensured that the watch was legible at night. The German Air Force supplied their crews with these IWC watches. However, IWC combined Swiss neutrality and business sense in a unique way: The Mark XI from 1948, another legendary pilot's watch, was purchased by the British Royal Air Force and used for 30 years.

Big Pilot's Watch

The Big Pilot's Watch from 1940 has experienced multiple comebacks. The first was in 2002 with the Big Pilot's Watch, which is still part of the collection. The original 55-mm case size wasn't practical for everyday wear, so IWC downsized the newer watch to 46 mm with a thickness of 16 mm. They also added a round power reserve display at three o'clock to an otherwise sparse dial. The watch has an impressive power reserve of seven days; it's even more impressive when you consider most other mechanical wristwatches have power reserves lasting less than two days. The automatic movement features a Pellaton winding system. The system is named after its inventor, Albert Pellaton, who was the technical director at IWC for many years. The patented mechanism winds the movement bidirectionally and, together with the long mainspring, enables a week-long power reserve.
The Big Pilot's Watch also has a date display at six o'clock, a feature not present on the 1940 model. The striking, large onion crown is screw-down. The watch is waterproof to 60 m, equal to a pressure of six bar.
The historical origin of the watch's design is easy to see, as it has a black dial with white sword hands, white stick indices, and Arabic numerals. There's even a triangle at 12 o'clock instead of the numeral, giving the Big Pilot a clear retro look.
The in-house caliber 51111 is protected by a soft-iron case designed to prevent deviation from the correct time caused by magnetic fields. The case was necessary since there are strong magnetic fields present in airplanes caused by the electricity needed for fuel injection. The case back of this stainless steel watch with reference number IW500912 features an engraving of the famous German aircraft Junkers Ju 52.

Big Pilot's Heritage Watch

IWC added two additional Big Pilot watches to their portfolio in 2016, both of which followed in the footsteps of the original from 1940: the Big Pilot's Heritage models, available in 48 and 55 mm. Both have a titanium case and weigh 120 and 150 grams, respectively. By and large, they look the same, apart from their size difference. The hands and indices on the black dial are somewhere between antique white and cream. Together with the riveted, brown calfskin strap, it has a much more old-fashioned feel than the 46-mm Big Pilot. Furthermore, one important difference is how the watch is wound. The Big Pilot from 2002 winds automatically from arm movements, while the newer watches require the wearer to wind them via a crown.
The in-house caliber 59215 powers the Big Pilot's Heritage Watch 48 with an impressive eight-day power reserve. The power reserve display is located on the back side and visible through a small, round opening in the titanium case. The dial has a central seconds and minute hands as well as a small seconds at six o'clock with an integrated date display, and the white sword hands feature blued borders.
The Big Pilot's Heritage Watch 55 has a diameter of 55 mm, exactly matching its historical predecessor. It is powered by the in-house caliber 98300, which has no date display or power reserve indicator - also like the original. However, unlike the watch from the 1940s, it doesn't feature central seconds, but rather a small seconds at six o'clock.

Buying Advice

Are you looking for an impressive, large watch with a functional design and retro flair? Then you should consider the Big Pilot.
If the Big Pilot participated in a pilot's watch competition, it would certainly win top prize. That's no surprise - it's the quintessential pilot's watch with a diameter of at least 46 mm, a contrasting black/white color combination, and a clear dial. The watch is even more eye-catching when paired with a suit and tie. It doesn't simply disappear under shirt sleeves, as it's meant to be worn over flight suits. The Big Pilot can be considered an uncompromising alternative to the classic dress watch.
If the "regular" Big Pilots would win, then the Heritage models with their larger diameters of 48 and 55 mm would certainly receive even higher marks. IWC produced these watches in a limited run of 1,000 48-mm watches (reference number 5103) and only 100 55-mm versions (reference number 5104). For the smaller Heritage model, you should be prepared to pay around 13,000 euros. The much rarer 55-mm version initially cost around 15,000 euros, but it has risen in value due to its limited run. Other special editions are available in the five-figure range, such as a version with an 18-karat red gold or platinum case. IWC abandoned the Big Pilot's minimalism in some models, adding complications like a perpetual calendar. These versions range from 20,000 to 30,000 euros.
The stainless steel Big Pilot is significantly more affordable; new, it costs around 10,000 euros.

The Jones Caliber

The pocket watch caliber which IWC used to power their first large pilot's watch is nicknamed the Jones caliber after the founder of the company, Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841 - 1916). The Bostonian founded the company in 1868 in Switzerland, but import taxes to the United States were expensive. In the end, exporting the watches from Schaffhausen failed. IWC changed owners many times after Jones left the company and today it belongs to the luxury goods concern Richemont. Richemont also owns famous brands such as Panerai and Cartier.

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