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IWC Big Pilot

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IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve
TOP
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve
$8,995
Free shipping
Seller
AJ Watches
44
US
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve White Gold Slate Dial
IWC Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve White Gold Slate Dial
$13,500
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Limited Edition Platinum Big Pilot 103/500 NEW
TOP
IWC Limited Edition Platinum Big Pilot 103/500 NEW
$34,989
Seller
Private seller
 
US
IWC IW500901 Big Pilot SS / Leather (26787)
IWC IW500901 Big Pilot SS / Leather (26787)
$8,700
Seller
European Watch Company
64
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
157
US
IWC Big Pilot IW5103-01
IWC Big Pilot IW5103-01
$10,950
Seller
WatchBox
53
US
IWC Big Pilot Black Dial Black Leather Straps Automatic Men...
IWC Big Pilot Black Dial Black Leather Straps Automatic Men...
$11,900
Free shipping
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 IW500908 Big Pilot Special Edition - Limited to 1000pcs -...
IWC IW500908 Big Pilot Special Edition - Limited to 1000pcs -...
$16,000
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
17
US
IWC Pilot Big Pilot Perpetual Saint-Exupery IW502617
IWC Pilot Big Pilot Perpetual Saint-Exupery IW502617
$42,330
Seller
Gemnation
105
US
IWC Big Pilots Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery
IWC Big Pilots Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery
$15,950
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Big Pilot IW500401 Pre-owned
IWC Big Pilot IW500401 Pre-owned
$11,500
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
25
US
IWC IW502618 Big Pilot OrangePerpetual Calendar SS LIMITED...
IWC IW502618 Big Pilot OrangePerpetual Calendar SS LIMITED...
$27,900
Seller
European Watch Company
64
US
IWC Big Pilot Le Petit Prince IW5009-16
IWC Big Pilot Le Petit Prince IW5009-16
$9,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
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
60
US
IWC Big Pilot 5009-01
IWC Big Pilot 5009-01
$9,650
Seller
Wingate's Quality Watches
34
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
34
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
17
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 Slow Beat
IWC Big Pilot Slow Beat
$9,950
Seller
Beverly Hills Watch Company
5
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$54,800
Seller
Private seller
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Boutique Edition
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Boutique Edition
$32,000
Seller
Chad Warrick
 
US
IWC Big Pilot Father IW5009-06
IWC Big Pilot Father IW5009-06
$12,950
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
157
US
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve Stainless...
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot 7 Day Power Reserve Stainless...
$8,675
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
60
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
16
US
IWC Pilot Big Pilots Watch IW500901
IWC Pilot Big Pilots Watch IW500901
$12,628
Seller
Gemnation
105
US
IWC 500402 Big Pilot in White Gold - on Brown Leather Strap...
IWC 500402 Big Pilot in White Gold - on Brown Leather Strap...
$21,650
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
17
US
IWC Big Pilot's 7-Day Power Reserve 46mm Steel Automatic...
IWC Big Pilot's 7-Day Power Reserve 46mm Steel Automatic...
$7,950
Free shipping
Seller
ElegantSwiss
 
US
IWC Big Pilot Petite Prince Le 18k Rose Gold 145/250 Complete...
IWC Big Pilot Petite Prince Le 18k Rose Gold 145/250 Complete...
$25,250
Free shipping
Seller
Burdeens Jewelry
 
US
IWC Big Pilot Antoine De Saint Exupery Perpetual Calendar IW5038
IWC Big Pilot Antoine De Saint Exupery Perpetual Calendar IW5038
$18,999
Seller
Blisstimepiece
18
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$8,950
Seller
Chad Warrick
 
US
IWC BIG PILOT ANNUAL CALENDAR SPITFIRE
IWC BIG PILOT ANNUAL CALENDAR SPITFIRE
$13,300
Seller
Royal Jewelers
 
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
60
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
38
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 IW502639 2012 Special Edition Big Pilot Automatic - LE to...
IWC IW502639 2012 Special Edition Big Pilot Automatic - LE to...
$31,500
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
17
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
16
US
IWC Big Pilot Le Petite Prince 18k Rose Gold Complete Iwc...
IWC Big Pilot Le Petite Prince 18k Rose Gold Complete Iwc...
$25,250
Free shipping
Seller
Burdeens Jewelry
 
US
IWC Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar 18K Rose Gold Automatic...
IWC Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar 18K Rose Gold Automatic...
$27,990
Seller
Midtown Watch
11
US
IWC Big Pilot's Heritage Watch IW510301
IWC Big Pilot's Heritage Watch IW510301
$11,700
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
25
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar
$29,500
Seller
Private seller
 
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
60
US
IWC Big Pilot Midnight Blue Dial Automatic Watch “LE PETIT PRINC
IWC Big Pilot Midnight Blue Dial Automatic Watch “LE PETIT PRINC
$10,750
Seller
Orafi inc
 
US
IWC Big Pilot Spitfire Grey Rose Gold
IWC Big Pilot Spitfire Grey Rose Gold
$19,999
Seller
Blisstimepiece
18
US
IWC IW500912 Big Pilot Mens Automatic in Steel - On Black...
IWC IW500912 Big Pilot Mens Automatic in Steel - On Black...
$10,300
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
17
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
16
US
IWC Big Pilot 18k White Gold Limited Edition Of 100 Anthracite...
IWC Big Pilot 18k White Gold Limited Edition Of 100 Anthracite...
$17,750
Free shipping
Seller
Burdeens Jewelry
 
US
IWC Big Pilots  Black Dial Automatic IW500912 Extra Large WATCH
IWC Big Pilots Black Dial Automatic IW500912 Extra Large WATCH
$9,670
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
27
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual IW502618 Pre-Owned
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual IW502618 Pre-Owned
$34,500
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
25
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 Pilot Collection Big Pilot 18k White Gold 46mm Grey Dial...
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot 18k White Gold 46mm Grey Dial...
$19,175
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
60
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 Automatic 7 Days Power Reserve IW500912
IWC BIG Pilot Automatic 7 Days Power Reserve IW500912
$10,600
Seller
BlackTagWatches
34
US
IWC IW502638 Rose Gold Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar - on Strap...
IWC IW502638 Rose Gold Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar - on Strap...
$39,850
Seller
Essential-Watches.com
17
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
16
US
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Rose
IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Rose
$40,000
Seller
Chad Warrick
 
US
IWC Pilots  Le Petit Prince Midnight Blue Dial Automatic...
IWC Pilots Le Petit Prince Midnight Blue Dial Automatic...
$9,670
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
27
US
IWC Big Pilot Father Watch IW500906
IWC Big Pilot Father Watch IW500906
$13,925
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
25
US
IWC Big Pilot
IWC Big Pilot
$9,495
Free shipping
Seller
AJ Watches
44
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
60
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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