The big story during IWC‘s 150th-anniversary celebration at SIHH this year has been the Jubilee Collection, which features the buzzworthy Tribute to Pallweber. The most prominent motif for IWC throughout all 27 new models? A classic design that embodies the spirit of the Schaffhausen-based manufacture with a slight shift away from sportier models such as the Ingenieur and Aquatimer (fear not, IWC released a new Ingenieur collection back in March of last year).
However, what hasn’t received as much attention as the Tribute to Pallweber and the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon (just as cool as it sounds) is the new series of Pilot’s watches that come with the lacquered dials that are ubiquitous throughout all the Jubilee models. Here, we have three new limited edition timepieces that are instantly identifiable as an iconic IWC Pilot watch, yet with a fresh sheen to them thanks to the new dial substance.
All the watches within the Jubilee collection follow a similar design code: their imprinted dials are all either white, with blued hands, or blue, with rhodium-plated hands, and are finished with multiple layers of lacquer to achieve a look reminiscent of vintage enamel-dialed pocketwatches. All are mounted on black alligator leather straps by Italian footwear maestro Santoni, an IWC partner.
The lacquering process is intense. IWC compares it to the production of high-quality piano lacquer, which after seeing the watches in person, seems fair. After being stamped and embossed, the brass blanks are coated with up to 12 layers of lacquer and then flat-polished. Finally, they are finished with a brush and given a high-gloss varnish. If the watch has a dial with any recesses, such as for a date window, these are also lacquered. The whole process ends up providing the watches with a gleam that is hard to take your eyes off of.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “150 Years” (Ref. IW502708) is the only model out of the three with an annual calendar complication. The month, date, and day are in the American-format and only need to be adjusted once a year at the end of February. The exhibition caseback provides a view of caliber 52850 which uses IWC’s trademark Pellaton winding system to offer a seven-day power reserve. It’s a stainless steel model that has a blue dial and measures in at 46.2 mm. It’s limited to 100 total pieces and priced at $19,700.
We also have two different versions of the new Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Edition “150 Years” (Ref. 5105). This is the first Big Pilot’s Watch with a large date display featuring numerals beneath the triangular index at 12 o’clock. It comes in blue (Ref. IW510503) and white (Ref. IW510504). Both models feature a new movement, the caliber 59235. This is basically an upgraded, big date version of the hand wound caliber 59210 that has an eight-day power reserve and has been used in a variety of other IWC models. On the caseback side, you can find a power reserve. The unusual placement was called for in order to keep the minimalist nature of the Big Pilot intact. Both models are limited to 100 pieces each and are priced at $13,800.
Finally, we have the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “150 Years” (Ref. IW377725). Technically, this is similar to previous Pilot Chronographs from IWC, but it’s been updated with the lacquered treatment to earn its place within the Jubilee collection. It’s limited to 1,000 pieces and is priced at $5,150.