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IWC Big Pilot 5004

The Big Pilot 5004 is an over-sized pilot's watch produced by IWC from 2006 through 2012.

Overview

IWC created a “Spezialuhr für Flieger” (“Special Watch for Pilots”) in 1936 with clean black dial, large hands, and luminous numerals. Although the 36 mm case was fairly large for the time, pilots preferred an even larger dial and crown for extra visibility in the cockpit. In 1940, IWC responded with an official product, the prototypical “Big Pilot's watch”. Created for the German Air Force, it had a massive 55 mm diameter case. The dial featured a luminous triangle at 12 flanked by two dots, plain numerals, and large luminous sword hands. Another essential element was a massive cone-shaped crown, allowing the watch to be operated while wearing gloves.

By the end of the 1990s, the Mark XV and Pilot's Watch Chronograph had become signature models for IWC. Watch case sizes were growing rapidly, and consumers were responding to “heritage” models that recalled the past. In 2002 IWC resurrected the oversized “Grosse Fliegeruhr” as the Big Pilot, Ref. 5002. It used the new in-house automatic Cal. 5011, which used the company's trademark Pellaton winding system and boasted a seven-day power reserve. Notable differences from the original are the smaller 46 mm case, central seconds, a date window at 6 00, and a power reserve indicator at 3 00.

IWC updated the movement and expanded the line in 2006 with the replacement Ref. 5004. The new Cal. 51110 operated at 21,600 A/h, still not high-beat but better than the stately 18,000 A/h in the original. Changes were also made to the dial, which lost the numeral 9 (for balance) but gained partial numerals at 2 and 4. The strap was now made of alligator leather rather than Santoni buffalo.

A vast number of limited editions were created, many for boutiques or retailers with cases of rose gold, white gold, titanium, and platinum. Some include small seconds at 9 00 thanks to Cal. 51011. One notable version is the Ref. 5003 Markus Bühler, which used Cal. 64900 (a modified Unitas 6498) with a “turbine” at 6 00. 12 examples were made in 2008 by watchmaking apprentice Bühler and were sold as Ref. IW5003-01 by IWC for CHF9,000.

The successor, Big Pilot, Ref. 5009 was introduced in 2012 with a new crown that improved water resistance, the option of a black date background, and the applied markers on the hours replaced by luminous painting for a more traditional look.

References:

  • IW5004-01 (2006-2011) Stainless steel case, black dial, riveted black leather strap
  • IW5004-02 “White Gold” (2006-2011) White gold case, “ardiose” grey dial, riveted brown leather strap
  • IW5004-06 “Gassan” (2007) Rose gold case, silver dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 30 pieces
  • IW5004-07 “Zegg and Cerlati” (2007) Stainless steel case, green dial, riveted green leather strap, limited to 20 pieces
  • IW5004-08 “Tourneau” (2007-2008) Rose gold case, black dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 50 pieces
  • IW5004-09 “Rabat” (2007-2008) Rose gold case, black dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 15 pieces
  • IW5004-10 “SHH” (2007) Titanium case, black dial with orange markers, riveted black leather strap, limited to 50 pieces
  • IW5004-11 “Bartorelli” (2007) Cal. 51011 with small seconds at 9 00, titanium case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, limited to 50 pieces in a set of 3 with Audemars Piguet Offshore Scuba and Söhne Grand Lange 1
  • IW5004-12 “Las Vegas” (2007) Cal. 51011 with small seconds at 9 00, stainless steel case, black dial with yellow markers, riveted black leather strap, limited to 10 pieces plus 15 pieces
  • IW5003-01 “Markus Bühler” (2008) Cal. 64900, limited edition of 12 pieces
  • IW5004-13 Father & Son (2008-2011) Platinum case, rhodium dial, riveted brown leather strap
  • IW5004-15 “Tim Jeffries” (2008) Rose gold case, black dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 25 pieces
  • IW5004-16 “Arije” (2008) Cal. 51011 with small seconds at 9 00, rose gold case, black dial with white markers, riveted brown leather strap, limited to 20 pieces
  • IW5004-17 “Andrea Concato” (2008) Rose gold case, silver dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 30 pieces
  • IW5004-18 “Tribute to Japan” (2009) Cal. 51011 with small seconds at 9 00, stainless steel case, silver dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 100 pieces
  • IW5004-19 “Antoine de Saint Exupery Platinum” (2010) Platinum case, brown dial, riveted brown leather strap, unique piece
  • IW5004-20 “Antoine de Saint Exupery White Gold” (2009) White gold case, brown dial, riveted brown leather strap, limited to 250 pieces
  • IW5004-21 “Antoine de Saint Exupery Rose Gold” (2009) Rose gold case, brown dial, riveted brown leather strap, limited to 500 pieces
  • IW5004-22 “Antoine de Saint Exupery” (2009) Stainless steel case, brown dial, riveted brown leather strap, limited to 1,149 pieces
  • IW5004-23 “Buenos Aires” (2008) Rose gold case, black dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 30 pieces
  • IW5004-25 “Tourneau Rose Gold” (2009) Rose gold case, silver dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 50 pieces
  • IW5004-26 “Tourneau Platinum” (2010) Platinum case, silver dial, riveted black leather strap, limited to 10 pieces
  • IW5004-29 “Las Vegas Boutique” (2010) Stainless steel case, black dial with blue markers, riveted black leather strap, limited to 50 pieces
  • IW5004-30 “White Gold LE” (2011) White gold case, silver dial, grey leather strap, limited to 100 pieces
  • IW5004-31 “Alexei Nemov” (2011) Stainless steel case, black dial with blue markers, riveted black leather strap, limited to 50 pieces
  • IW5004-32 “DFB” (2012) Cal. 51011 with small seconds at 9 00, stainless steel case, silver dial, black textile strap, limited to 250 pieces
  • IW5004-33 “Muhammad Ali” (2012) Stainless steel case, black dial with red markers, riveted black leather strap, limited to 250 pieces
  • IW5004-34 “Wempe” (2012) Platinum case, black dial with gold markers, brown leather strap, limited to 10 pieces
  • IW5004-35 “Muhammad Ali White Gold” (2012) White gold case, black dial with red markers, riveted black leather strap, unique piece
  • IW5004-SH “Shanghai Boutique” (2010) White gold case, black dial with blue markers, riveted black leather strap, unique piece

Movement:

Case:

Dial:

  • Luminous applied or painted indexes (triangle at 12 o'clock)
  • Arabic numerals
  • Steel hours and minutes hand, coated with luminous color
  • Painted seconds hand

Functions:

Bracelet:

  • Leather strap

Production:

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See Also

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iwc_big_pilot_5004.txt · Last modified: 11.10.2021 16:34 (external edit)

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