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IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar

The Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar is an over-sized perpetual calendar pilot's watch produced by IWC from 2006 to 2018.

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. This was refreshed in 2006 with the updated Cal. 51110 as Ref. 5004.

Also in 2006, IWC released a special limited-edition Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar, Ref. 5026 watch with a perpetual calendar mechanism in a limited edition of 25 in a platinum case. This watch used a large 46 mm case and was 16 mm thick with an oversized crown like the Ref. 5004. The dial was taken up by four subdials

Additionally, a window at 7 30 shows the year with four digits.

This was made possible by Cal. 51612, closely related to the Cal. 51611 previously seen in the IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar. A descendent of the first modern in-house IWC movement, Cal. 5000, this was an eight day movement with Pellaton automatic winding. Being part of the later series in this family, it ticks at 21,600 A/h. In 2007, Big Pilot Perpetual watches received the upgraded Cal. 51614.

The first Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar models were the un-numbered limited-edition “Sincere” platinum of 2006, followed closely by the limited-edition “Cellini” in titanium. In 2007, a unique stainless steel example was offered for Only Watch, where it was sold for EUR80,000. Many other limited edition examples followed, culminating in 2017 with a unique piece offered for Laureus in Milano, Italy.

In 2012, IWC introduced the Top Gun Perpetual Calendar, Ref. 5029 in a large 48 mm ceramic case. It used the same Cal. 51614 movement but was styled in a modern military theme. This was the only “unlimited” model in the original Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar line.

A slightly different version of the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar arrived in 2013. Ref. 5028 differed only slightly Cal. 51613 had a “single” moon phase indicator at 12 00 and used pointer hands in all subdials. The first example was a unique “Le Petit Prince” piece in platinum auctioned for the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation. A limited edition of 270 in rose gold followed, and these remain extremely popular with collectors.

References:

  • IW5026-02 “Only Watch 07” (2007) Stainless steel case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, unique piece
  • IW5026-05 “Sincere” (2006) Platinum case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 25 pieces
  • IW5026-06 “Cellini” (2006-2007) Titanium case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 50 pieces
  • IW5026-07 “Andreas Huber” (2008) Stainless steel case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 5 pieces
  • IW5026-07 “Carl F. Bucherer Steel” (2008) Stainless steel case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 65 pieces
  • IW5026-08 “Carl F. Bucherer Gold” (2008) Rose gold case, black dial with white markers, riveted brown leather strap, limited edition of 30 pieces
  • IW5026-09 “Swiss Fine Timing” (2009) Rose gold case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 25 pieces
  • IW5026-13 “Buenos Aires Simonetta Orsini” (2010) Rose gold case, black dial with white markers, brown leather strap, limited edition of 20 pieces
  • IW5026-15 “Gerais Salto Angel Venezuela” (2010) Rose gold case, black dial with white markers, brown leather strap, limited edition of 30 pieces
  • IW5026-17 “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” (2011) Rose gold case, brown dial with white markers, brown leather strap, limited edition of 500 pieces
  • IW5026-18 “IWC Boutique” (2010) Stainless steel case, black dial with yellow markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 250 pieces
  • IW5026-19 “Buenos Aires Simonetta Orsini” (2010) Stainless steel case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 40 pieces
  • IW5026-20 “Middle East Boutique” (2010) Stainless steel case, black dial with white markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 70 pieces
  • IW5026-21 “Zegg & Cerlati” (2011) Stainless steel case, charcoal dial with grey markers, riveted black leather strap, limited edition of 31 pieces
  • IW5026-28 “Boutique” (2010) Rose gold case, black dial with white markers, brown leather strap, limited edition of 70 pieces
  • IW5026-35 “Boutique” (2011) Rose gold case, black dial with beige markers, black leather strap, limited edition of 240 pieces
  • IW5026-35 “Gassan” (2011) Rose gold case, black dial with beige markers, brown leather Portuguese strap with gold thread, limited edition of 10 pieces
  • IW5026-36 “Carl F. Bucherer White Gold” (2011) White gold case, blue dial with white markers, blue alligator strap, limited edition of 30 pieces
  • IW5026-38 “Brazil Boutique” (2012) Rose gold case, grey slate dial with gold markers, black alligator strap, limited edition of 25 pieces (1-25)
  • IW5026-38 “Mexico Boutique” (2012) Rose gold case, grey slate dial with gold markers, black alligator strap, limited edition of 25 pieces (26-50)
  • IW5026-39 “Boutique” (2011) Rose gold case, gold dial, black alligator strap, limited edition of 250 pieces
  • IW5026-40 “Miami Boutique” (2015) Stainless steel case, black dial with yellow markers, riveted black alligator strap, limited edition of 50 pieces
  • IW5026-41 “Laureus Milano” (2017) Stainless steel case, blue dial with silver “panda” subdials and markers, black leather strap, unique piece
  • IW5028-01 “Le Petit Prince Platinum” (2013) Platinum case, blue dial with applied white markers, brown leather strap, unique piece
  • IW5028-02 “Le Petit Prince Rose Gold” (2013) Rose gold case, blue dial with applied gold and beige markers, brown leather strap, limited edition of 270 pieces
  • IW5028-03 “Laureus Zürich” (2014) Platinum case, blue dial with applied white markers, blue leather strap, unique piece
  • IW5028-04 “Latin America Boutique” (2015) Rose gold case, brown dial with applied markers, brown leather strap, limited edition of 50 pieces
  • IW5028-05 “London Boutique” (2015) Stainless steel case, gray dial with applied markers, blue alligator leather strap, limited edition of 38 pieces
  • IW5029-02 “Top Gun” (2012) Ceramic case, matte black dial with white markers, black textile strap
  • IW5029-03 “Top Gun Boutique” (2013) Ceramic case, matte black dial with red markers, black textile strap, limited edition of 250 pieces
  • IW5029-08 “Lewis Hamilton 5th F1” (2018) Ceramic case, black dial with gold markers, black textile strap, unique piece

Movement:

Case:

  • Ø 46 mm or 48 mm
  • Screw-down caseback

Dial:

  • Luminous painted indexes (triangle at 12 o'clock)
  • Arabic numerals

Functions:

Bracelet:

  • Leather strap

Production:

See Also

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

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