Watches & Wonders: Prepare For Take Off With IWC’s New Big Pilots 

Watches & Wonders: Prepare For Take Off With IWC’s New Pilot’s Watches

IWC teased big and delivered! So you can choose which one you like best, we grouped all of the novelties into one article. Spoiler Alert: It'll be harder than you think to pick just one.

By Viviana Shanks

With a new in-house movement, new case size, and new strap system, the brand has completely revamped the IWC Pilot collection. It is an update that has been a couple of years in the making and one we were all anxiously awaiting. Now more ergonomic and versatile, the Big Pilot is back.

So, without further ado, please fasten your seat belt, make sure your seat back and folding trays are in their full upright position, and let's take a look at the new IWC Big Pilot novelties.

The IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43

At first glance, the new Big Pilot's Watch 43 immediately reminded me of the Ref. IW431 from 1940, a 55mm watch military pilots used to wear (either on their leg or wrist) and followed precise specifications. It is true that IWC has already paid tribute to the original Big Pilot, but never before with a three-hander that has no date or power reserve on the dial. The new IWC Big Pilot Watch 43 comes in a 43mm stainless steel case, with a thickness of 13.60mm and is water-resistant to 10 bar. Both the sunray blue and black-dialed versions are perfectly easy-to-read, which is what you want when you buy a pilot's watch.

Like the original Ref. IW431 from 1940, the new IWC Big Pilot Watch 43 is powered by an in-house movement – the IWC-manufactured 82100 calibre with Pellaton winding. IWC is already quite familiar with this movement, as it powers its latest Portugieser collection. Boasting a 60-hour power reserve, you can admire the movement through the sapphire caseback.

Available in late May 2021, you will be able to choose between two dials, black, like the original from 1940, or blue. The blue-dialed version is also available with a stainless steel bracelet. The new IWC Big Pilot Watch 43 also comes with the new strap system from IWC, the EasX-CHANGE, but more on that below.

The IWC Big Pilot Watch 43 will be priced at $8,400 for the leather strap versions (Refs. IW329301 & IW329303) and $9,350 for the bracelet (Ref. IW329304).

The IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar

This year, IWC launched an update to Kurt Klaus' Perpetual Calendar with the IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar. Previously seen on the IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Spitfire, this is the first time the perpetual calendar complication is in a non-limited model of the Big Pilot's collection.

Paired with a blue sunray dial, every counter on the Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar is highly legible, and every display can be set by the crown, making it highly user-friendly. Encased in a 46.2mm stainless steel case, the timepiece only measures 15.4mm in thickness and boasts an impressive seven-day power reserve.

The IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar (Ref. IW503605) will be available in late April and cost $29,000.

The IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41

Sports fans, rejoice! IWC completes its Pilot's Watches collection with four 41mm chronographs powered by the in-house movement 69385.

The IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 is the embodiment of the Pilot's Watch's new versatility and robustness. Coming with two colored dials, blue and electric green, the IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 is the evolution and response to the success of the Spitfire chronographs launched in 2019.

Take it from personal experience, I tried it, and I loved it. The blue-dialed IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 – paired with a blue leather strap – fit my wrist to perfection, and now that I have given the watch back, I’m having a hard time envisioning my life without it. The chronograph is smooth and functional as well as readable, even when in a fast-paced environment. That being said, it fits women's wrist and men’s, without qualification. Therefore, it might be the watch you would share with your better half.

The IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 will be available in late April and cost $6,500 for the EasX-CHANGE strap (Refs. IW388101 & IW388103) and $7,200 for the bracelet (Refs. IW388102 & IW388104).

The Big Pilot's TOP GUN Edition "Mojave Desert"

Last but not least, IWC flies back to the Mojave Desert with not one but two editions of the sand-colored ceramic watch. A true success when it launched in 2019 as a chronograph, IWC’s TOP GUN editions are made from corrosion-resistant materials like titanium and ceramic, which are totally at home in the cockpit of a fighter jet.

The 46.50mm Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Edition "Mojave Desert" marks the first time IWC has paired this complication with a sand-colored ceramic case. Powered by the same manufactured caliber as the newest IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar, the Perpetual calendar is adjusted using only the crown, making it completely hassle-free.

After a chronograph and a perpetual calendar, IWC kept in mind those who love the classical IWC look and also want to enjoy the robust case qualities of a “Mojave Desert” model. The Big Pilot's Watch TOP GUN Edition "Mojave Desert comes in a 46mm ceramic case and is powered by the manufacture calibre 52110, which boasts an impressive seven-day power reserve, indicated at 3 o'clock on the dark brown dial.

Both watches will be available in late April. The Big Pilot's Watch TOP GUN Edition "Mojave Desert" (Ref. IW506003) is priced at $14,800, and production will be limited to 250 pieces a year. As per the Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Edition "Mojave Desert" (Ref. IW503004), it will be priced at $35,000 and will be limited to 150 per year.  


One of my favorite highlights of this year's collection is the quick-change strap system that IWC launched simultaneously as the Big Pilot's above. Simply put, the quick strap change system, cleverly named EasX-CHANGE, allows the wearer to change their timepiece’s strap with a simple click.

On behalf of Watchonista, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this trip. At this time, we ask you to check around your seat for any personal belongings you may have brought on board with you, and please use caution when opening the overhead bins, as heavy articles may have shifted around during the article.

We are looking forward to seeing you on board again in the near future. Have a nice day!

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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