If there is one watch series that IWC Schaffhausen is most recognized for, it would have to be its iconic line of Pilot’s watches. Whether scrolling through Instagram, digging through the forums, or reading through magazines and websites, it’s hard to escape the presence of the Big Pilot and Mark series. Next month, three new IWC Pilot’s Watches will join the expanding ranks of the collection: the Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry,” the Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage, and the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Heritage.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” is the obvious hero piece of the trio, coming in a 250-piece, limited-edition set with an attractive 18k rose gold case. The tobacco brown dial, gold-plated hands, and brown calfskin strap match handsomely to the case and are meant to recall the pilot suits from the days when Antoine de Saint-Exupéry took to the skies and wrote about his aerial adventures in classics such as The Little Prince and Night Flight. A stylized “A” underneath the Annual Calendar indicator offers a nice nod to the French pilot and author’s initial. The seven-day power reserve comes courtesy of the IWC in-house Caliber 52850 that includes a Pellaton winding system with parts made from long-lasting ceramic. But the real selling point for horological enthusiasts and fans of Le Petit Prince? A rotor constructed from 18k rose gold and crafted into the shape of a Lightning P-38, the same airplane model that Saint Exupéry took off in on that fateful Mediterranean summer night in 1944 — and never returned from. The Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry” is priced at $32,400.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage is the latest in the trend of watch marques pouring through their archives and bringing a fan favorite back to life with slight adjustments for modern sensibilities. This time around, a Big Pilot Watch from the 1940s — the Caliber 52 T.S.C., to be exact— makes its return with two different makeovers: one in titanium and one in bronze, both with a black dial, blue hands coated in lume, and a seven-day power reserve at 3 o’clock. The in-house-produced 52110 caliber provides the automatic heartbeat inside the watch and features côtes de Genève and perlage finishing. The Big Pilot’s Watch Heritage is limited to 1,500 pieces and is priced at $13,200.
Last but not least, the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Heritage is offered in a titanium case for the first time. The titanium structure will provide a much lighter feel on the wrist compared to previous Mark XVIII iterations, which have come in materials such as stainless steel and ceramic. Although it doesn’t boast an in-house movement like the other two models, the Mark XVIII Heritage offers a more affordable price point for collectors and a still very respectable 42-hour power reserve. Another positive? Like Mark XVIII models in the past, the Heritage edition comes in at a wearable 40 mm. The Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII is priced at $4,150.