Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Grail Watch #1: IWC Big Pilot

2 years ago or so, one of my friends Gary showed me an IWC Portuguese Chronograph and I was in awe of the it's aesthetics and being a mechanical engineer, was more in awe of the makings and windings of the watch. This started in me a passion  for looking and reading, not necessarily owning, watches, and the rest as they say is history.

After one Seiko and one Steinhart automatic, both of which I really love, I still have in my head a list of what I believe would make my own perfect collection. This list is not necessarily in order...

Read complete list of my favorite watches here.

IWC Big Pilot's Watch

Borrowed from Bill of
IWC describes the Big Pilot in the following manner:

Since 2002, the Big Pilot’s Watch has been IWC’s flagship. Its IWC-manufactured 51111 calibre – one of the largest automatic movements in the world – contains all the features that have proved their worth in the long history of IWC mechanical watches. Within no time at all, the automatic movement generates a power reserve of 8.5 days, but only runs for 7 days before being mechanically stopped by an ingenious little train in the power reserve.This eliminates the fall-off in torque that occurs as the mainspring winds down, which could lead to loss of amplitude in the balance and unacceptable inaccuracies in the rate.

To me, the Big Pilot is one of my top favorite watches simply because of the following:
  • Its history and DNA as a Pilot Watch
  • Its in-house movement
  • Its elegant, and simple design
  • Its wrist presence
In terms of history and pilot watch DNA, nothing more could be asked of the Big Pilot. During the 1940s, IWC (along with A. Lange & Söhne, Laco, Wempe and STOWA) was one of the makers of the original pilot watch. This makes the Big Pilot a direct descendant of the original pilot watch, and though it has been redesigned and re-sized there is no doubt that this watch has got the DNA of the original pilot watch.

One of the modifications made by IWC is powering the Big Pilot with the  in-house 5111 calibre movement. This big baby can power the Big Pilot up to up to 8.5 days (only which 7 days are used as described above). Having an in-house movement to me is what separates manufacturers from just being a watch brand. This means that the watch was designed and built ground up and not just merely assembled from a myriad of parts.

In terms of design the Big Pilot is the epitome of understated wrist presence, if there is such a thing. Understated in that the watch's design is elegant and simple , with the dial only adorned by the power reserve indicator at the 3 o'clock position, and a date window at the 6 o'clock position. The texts IWC Shaffhausen can be found at the 12 o'clock position just below the double dotted triangle, and  automatic written at the 6 o'clock position just above the date window. In terms of wrist presence, I have had the chance to wear the Big Pilot twice already and it is such a looker and cannot be missed. But even with the massive 46.2mm, I am surprised that this beast of a watch feels so comfortable on my 6.5" wrist.

I don't know if I will able to afford a watch that retails at USD13,500 at ADs, though after discounts this watch can be had for roughly USD10-USD11k, but nonetheless it remains one of my dream watches and THE pilot watch I would like to get.

1 comment:

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