Up, Up, and Away: IWC Delights with Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Le Petit Prince

In the world of watches, there are many different realms that influence the design of new models. However, perhaps the most beautiful inspiration comes from the fiction of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, which has already inspired IWC Schaffhausen to create several special editions.

The story has been translated into more than 250 languages to date and is considered the most famous literary work by the French aviator and author. It describes the journey of the little prince to seven planets and their residents. As part of its collaboration with the heirs of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, IWC has since 2013 dedicated several Pilot’s Watches to this charming novel. Just as writing and flying were inextricably linked for Saint-Exupéry, these special editions with deep blue dials bring together poetry and engineering. 

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the “Le Petit Prince” editions, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer now adds another special edition Big Pilot’s Watch to the collection. Limited to 300 pieces, the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Tourbillon Le Petit Prince (Ref. IW329502) features a case and crown made of 18-carat Armor Gold. This alloy is harder and more wear-resistant than conventional 5N gold due to its improved microstructure. Contrasting with the 43mm case is the deep blue dial with a radiant sunray finish. The gold-plated hands and appliques, filled with Super-LumiNova, emit an enigmatic glow in the dark.

The technical and optical highlight is – of course – the flying minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock. French for “whirlwind”, it involves the balance, the balance wheel and the escapement rotating around its axis in a small cage. This constant rotation not only provides a visual spectacle on the dial but also reduces the influence of gravity on the watch’s oscillating system, thereby increasing accuracy. Thanks to the integrated tourbillon stop, the mechanism can be brought to a complete stop and the watch set with down-to-the-second accuracy. The state-of-the-art tourbillon consists of 56 parts and weighs only 0.663 grams. The pallet lever and the escape wheel are treated with Diamond Shell technology, a special coating that reduces friction and improves the flow of energy in the movement. 

The Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Tourbillon Le Petit Prince is powered by the IWC-manufactured 82905 calibre movement. This automatic calibre features a Pellaton winding system reinforced with ceramic components. Using movements of the rotor in both directions, it reliably builds up a power reserve of 80  hours in the mainspring. A special highlight is the rotor made of solid 18-carat gold, which takes the shape of “The Little Prince” standing on his asteroid. This beautiful detail and nod to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s charming novel can be admired through the transparent sapphire glass case back. 

The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Le Petit Prince is fitted with a brown calfskin strap with an 18-carat Armor Gold folding clasp and retails for $72,000.

To learn more, visit IWC, here.

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