Throughout its history, IWC Schaffhausen has been heavily involved in the world of aviation and also, to a lesser extent, in the world of motorsports. Until recently, the company’s work in the latter field exerted its influence mainly on one particular IWC watch family, the racing-inspired Ingenieur, while the modern evolution of the Pilot’s family remained rooted in its original 1930s and ’40s cockpit designs. But synergy is the name of the game these days, apparently, as witness the manufacture’s latest high-complication timepiece, the Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “IWC Racing,” which takes its cues both from aeronautical and automotive sources.
Limited to just 15 pieces, in a matte-black Ceratanium case in the classical Big Pilot’s Watch style, the watch contains the IWC in-house Caliber 94800, one of the Schaffhausen maison’s most complicated movements, boasting a tourbillon with an integrated constant-force mechanism, a perpetual moon-phase display for the northern and southern hemispheres, and an analog display for its four-day (96-hour) power reserve. Measuring 46.2 mm in diameter and featuring the Big Pilot’s historically inspired, large conical crown, the case is the latest in IWC’s lineup forged from Ceratanium, a specially developed alloy that is as hard and scratch-resistant as ceramic but as light and robust as titanium, with a distinctive matte-black surface.
Caliber 94805, which made its debut in a limited-edition piece for 2018’s Jubilee collection, is noteworthy for its patented constant-force mechanism, which transmits completely even impulses to the mechanism and works in conjunction with the tourbillon, positioned on the dial at 12 o’clock, to achieve an exceptionally high level of precision. Its double moon-phase display, between 12 and 2 o’clock, is “perpetual,” meaning it will only need to be adjusted by one day after 577.5 years. Its power reserve of four full days is displayed at 4:30, designed to resemble a tachymeter, Other automobile-inspired elements include the inner hour ring, which is reminiscent of cold-air intakes on a high-performance engine, and the dashboard-style combination of white numerals and yellow-colored accents.
Visible behind a sapphire exhibition caseback, the movement is finished to resemble an engine block, its plates and bridges fully blackened in a rhodium-plating process to echo the tones of the case. Completing the theme is the watch’s black rubber strap, which is lined with an inlay of Alcantara, a firm-gripping, durable, synthetic micro-fiber used on the seats and steering wheel covers of sports cars. The watch is priced at 220,000 Swiss francs, or about $240,000.