IWC Big Pilot Heritage 55  on PLANE Capture

So, it seems IWC is going to renew their Pilot’s Collection, which means models like the: Top Gun, Spitfire and Mark, will gain novelty elements. But, first sneak peek for aviation comes in the form of some new limited edition: Big Pilot’s. These timepieces are a tribute to the antique B-Uhr watches manufactured by several brands during the Second World War, including IWC Schaffhausen. For 75 years, the historic “Big Pilot 52 caliber T.S.C” was the largest watch manufactured at IWC, until now.

Originally IWC produced these large and very legible watches, in the 1940’s, with military purposes, especially as an auxiliary tool for aviators. Although the brand has kept up with modern times, issuing timepieces with more contemporary aviation traits, in the form of their “Top Gun” and “Spitfire” model lines. But, the Big Pilot still has the historic weight of time and size on its side, having originated in such a demanding and turbulent era of horology.


“IWC Big Pilot Heritage 55, Ref#: IW510401” * Image courtesy of: IWC

This new “IWC Big Pilot” with its 55mm sandblasted titanium case is a faithful re-issue of the original 1940’s one it’s molded on. And with a limited run of just 100 pieces produced, this definitely will be a must-have (that not all will have) for true IWC aficionados. But, there will be a smaller 48mm model issued, with a limited run of 1000 pieces, also available. And unlike IWC’s standard use of a generic “One of XXX” engravings on its limited editions. These two versions of the “Big Pilot” will exhibit a truly specified numbered “X/100” and “X/1000” countdown of the pieces produced.


“IWC Big Pilot Heritage 48, Ref#: IW510301” * Image courtesy of: IWC

The black dial on this timepiece is all about keeping it vintage, with large tracks and numerals, coated with Super-LumiNova. But, IWC has added a cream color to this watches informative elements as well as its propeller styled hands with a blue outlining, contrasting with the black background. The numerals at the 3 and 9 o’clock position are back, after being erased from the 2002 edition, up till now. Another call-back to the antique B-Uhr watches is the large triangle with two dots on top, featured at the 12 o’clock position, just below the index marker.

IWC Big Pilot Heritage 55  HISTORIC Capture

The original IWC Big Pilot, circa 1940’s * Image courtesy of: IWC

IWC Big Pilot Heritage 55

The “IWC Big Pilot Heritage 55″ (Ref#: IW510401) is powered by a hand wound movement, IWC in-house caliber 98300, with 18 jewels and up to 46 hours of power reserve. While the “IWC Big Pilot Heritage 48″ (Ref#: IW510301) is powered by a hand wound movement, IWC in-house caliber 59215, with 30 jewels and up to 192 hours (8 days) of power reserve.

Both watches come mounted to a brown calfskin strap, that’s been divided in two and sewn together at the ends, making it impervious to an accidental fall while strapping to a wrist. This is also a historic approach, which was done to allow a watch to be worn over a flight suit, hazard free and the strap features a titanium pin buckle.

IWC Big Pilot Heritage 55  Capture

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IWC, Schaffhausen, Big Pilot, Aviation, Luxury Watches

Written by Mauro Az