Recently I had the opportunity to get my hands on one of the most remarkable IWC watches of the last few years, the limited “Petit Prince” edition of IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar, introduced at the 2013 Hong Kong “Watches and Wonders” fair. In this article from my blog, Watch-Insider.com, I provide a review and original photos.
This special edition combines beauty, elegance and mechanical craftsmanship done in-house. It is packed with technical highlights, including the IWC-manufactured 51613 caliber with Pellaton automatic winding and seven-day power reserve. The latter’s display in the counter at 3 o’clock is a constant reminder of the movement’s high efficiency. It generates enough energy to fuel a wealth of watchmaking complications, including the perpetual calendar with its four-digit year display as well as displays for the date, day and month. All the displays are easily adjusted via the crown and advance automatically. According to IWC, the perpetual calendar will not require intervention by a watchmaker until 2100, a year that breaks with the conventional four-year cycle and will not be a leap year. The midnight blue dial offers a visual contrast, with the characteristically bold cockpit design combining with the more understated displays of the perpetual calendar. The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” is the first of IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watches to feature the classical moon-phase display.
My favorite touch on this IWC watch is the little moon, which is decorated by an engraved figure of The Little Prince, the title character of the classic Antoine de Saint-Exupery novel for which the special edition is named, who gazes at the star-studded night sky from his own tiny planet. You can see this up close in the photos, all taken in IWC’s hometown of Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The figure is derived from the famous original drawing by Saint-Exupéry that adorns the front cover of his best-known work. The 18k gold medallion on the rotor also features The Little Prince and can be admired on the reverse side of the watch through the sapphire caseback. The original French title of the first edition, “LE PETIT PRINCE,” is also engraved on the winding rotor. The special edition in rose gold is limited to 270 watches. Also included with the watch is a high-class edition featuring two rarities produced exclusively for IWC: first, a reproduction of the original first edition in English, entitled “The Little Prince,” along with a reprint of the original handwritten manuscript for “Le Petit Prince” in French. Specs on the watch and its movement are directly below the photos.
Caliber: 51613, with Pellaton automatic winding system, seven-day power reserve when fully wound, power reserve display, perpetual calendar with displays for the date, day, month, year in four digits and perpetual moon phase, single moon, small hacking seconds, Glucydur beryllium alloy balance, Breguet spring, rotor with 18k gold medallion featuring an engraving of the Little Prince, screw-in crown
Frequency: 21.600 A/h (= 3 Hz)
Power reserve: seven days (168 hours)
Materials: case and folding clasp in 18k rose gold; midnight blue dial; gold-plated hands and indices, coated with Super-LumiNova; brown calfskin strap with quilted stitching
Crystal: sapphire, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
Water-resistance: 60 meters
Diameter: 46 mm
Case height: 16 mm
Price: 45,500 euros
Limited to 270 pieces
This article was originally published on October 30, 2013, and has been updated.