IWC’s Big Pilot has once again ascended to the highest flying altitude of fine watchmaking with the introduction of another perpetual calendar into the family.
Since the first Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar was released in 2006 in a limited edition of 25 pieces in platinum, no fewer than 37 versions of the iconic Big Pilot’s design with a perpetual calendar have been issued.
For 2021, the 43mm Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar comes in a steel case rather than more exotic materials used in previous iterations including bronze, ceramic and titanium.
Stainless steel doesn’t shave much off the price, still coming in at $29,900 (ceramic is $33,000). This should be reassuring, because the greatest value comes in the IWC-manufactured 52615 calibre.
Watches have been getting smaller in recent years, with the vast majority of brands pitching men’s or gender-neutral watches between 36mm and 41mm.
For IWC’s Big Pilot — there is a clue in the name — the brand has stuck resolutely to a 43mm case, and the watch uses every square millimetre of the sunray blue dial.
Its date and power reserve are located at 3 o’clock, the month display at 6 o’clock, weekday and small seconds share a subdial at 9 o’clock, and a double moon phase display is at 12 o’clock.
The moonphase indicator is correct for the Northern and Southern hemispheres and only needs to be adjusted by one day after 577.5 years.
Another distinguishing feature is a four-digit year display that will be correct through to the end of this century and can be adjusted to show three more centuries, allowing the watch to be on time until 2499.