It has indisputably been a big year for IWC’s flagship Pilot’s Watch collections — the launch of the BP 43, a re-edition of the classic “Black Flieger” 3075, and high complications in the military inspired Top Gun family providing just a few examples. Now as 2021 winds down, IWC closes it out with yet another milestone: the first Big Pilot’s Watch model equipped with a chronograph — and not just any chronograph. Here’s a closer look at our final “Watch to Watch” of 2021: the Big Pilot’s Watch Monopusher Edition “Le Petit Prince.”
Why did IWC wait so long to equip one of its most popular and historical models with one of the most popular complications? Simply put, a traditional two-pusher chronograph design would have been incompatible with the iconic look of the Big Pilot’s Watch, especially its unmistakable, extra-large conical crown. The solution was to integrate a single chrono pusher into that crown, allowing the robust rounded case to preserve its familiar silhouette. Fortunately, IWC makes such a monopusher chronograph movement in-house — Caliber 59360, which it had previously installed in last year’s Portugieser Hand-Wound Monopusher “Laureus Sport for Good” edition. That manually wound movement, one of three in-house chronograph movements produced by IWC, now ticks inside the new watch’s 46.2-mm stainless steel case, behind the shiny sunburst blue dial characteristic of the timepieces in the ultra-exclusive “Le Petit Prince” subfamily of the Pilot’s Watch collection, named in honor of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Little Prince” literary character. (Saint-Exupéry, you may recall, was a pilot as well as an author.)
Joining the cerulean dial’s hallmark extra-large Arabic numerals and hands — all rhodium-plated and treated with Super-LumiNova — are subdials at 12 and 6 o’clock for 60 elapsed chronograph minutes and running seconds, respectively, and a date window at 3 o’clock. The single pusher in the center of the fluted crown can be pressed once to start timing an interval, a second time to stop timing, and a third to return the central seconds hand to zero. All these functions are made possible by the aforementioned movement, which IWC says requires just 70 turns of the crown to build up its massive eight-day (192-hour) power reserve, which is indicated on the back side of the caliber. A sapphire pane in the caseback offers a spectacular view of this indicator as well as the movement’s other micro-mechanical wonders and decorative finishes.
Mounted on a brown calfskin leather strap with a steel folding buckle, the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Monopusher Edition “Le Petit Prince” is limited to 500 pieces, priced at $16,500, and available through IWC boutiques, authorized retail partners, and online at IWC’s website.
|Manufacturer:||IWC, Baumgartenstrasse 15, Schaffhausen, 8201 Switzerland|
|Functions:||Hours, minutes, seconds, date, monopusher chronograph|
|Movement:||IWC manufacture Caliber 59365, manual-winding, 192-hours power reserve, 28,800 vph (4 hz), 281 components, 36 jewels, Côte de Genève, perlage|
|Case:||Stainless steel case, screw in crown, see-through sapphire glass back, 60 meters water resistance, convex sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on both sides|
|Bracelet and clasp:||Brown calfskin strap, steel folding buckle, strap width 22 mm|
|Dimensions:||Diameter = 46 mm, Height = 14.6 mm|
|Price:||$16,100 (limited to 500 pieces)|