Having been the official supplier of watches to the German Air Force, IWC is among the few brands that have strong know-how of the pilot’s watch genre. Originally designed to be oversized to help pilots read the time accurately from a distance, pilot’s watches nowadays are more about enjoying the classic aviation aesthetic. Keeping that in mind, IWC recently announced a more wearable variation of its authentic Big Pilots watch.
Staying true to their historic aviation roots, the current Big Pilots watches from IWC are beasts that measure 46mm or more in diameter, making them suitable only for the largest of wrists out there. The new Big Pilots 43 addresses this problem to a great extent. The case on this new watch is 43mm wide and has a thickness of 13.6mm, which does not translate into a small footprint but is certainly more manageable than before. Dimensions aside, the case remains unmistakably IWC, with a nice rounded shape and long curvaceous lugs. Like before, the case is beautifully finished with finely brushed surfaces throughout complemented by thin polished bevels that run along the sides of the case. Another area, where the case on the Big Pilot 43 shows improvement is its depth rating. While the current Big Pilots watches are water-resistant to 60 meters, the Big Pilot 43 offers a water resistance of 100 meters making it a truly capable sports watch. And finally, in true Big Pilot’s fashion, this watch comes with an oversized threaded crown that should make setting the time or winding the movement a pleasurable experience.
The dial on the Big Pilot’s 43 is simple yet refined with a strong focus on legibility. Offered with a matt black or sunburst blue base, the dial features the well-known Flieger type A style layout which is characterized by bold Arabic numerals and a triangle with two dots at the 12 o’clock position. Running on the outer periphery is a white printed minute track and time can be read using the sharp sword style hour and minute hands and a stick style second’s hand. Furthermore, to enhance low light visibility the hands along with the printed rectangles at the cardinal positions have been filled with luminous paint. Folks at IWC have done a great job of keeping this watch sterile by not offering a date window and keeping the text minimal.
Another first for the Big Pilot’s collection is that mechanical internals that drive the Big Pilot’s 43 can now be enjoyed through the sapphire case back. The Caliber 82100 is an automatic movement that operates at 4 Hz and offers a power reserve of around 60 hours when fully wound. The movement features IWC’s Pellaton winding mechanism that uses both directions of the rotor to wind the mainspring. In addition to this, a lot of components within the movement have been made from ceramic, which makes them less prone to wear, eventually improving the efficiency of the movement.
The new IWC Big Pilot’s 43 comes equipped with EasX-Change, an ingenious quick-release mechanism that makes strap swapping a breeze. The Black variant comes attached to a brown leather strap, whereas the Blue variant can be had on a blue calf leather strap or a stainless-steel bracelet. The watch will retail for USD 8,400 on leather and USD 9,350 on the bracelet.