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IWC Big Pilot

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The IWC Big Pilot: a watch steeped in tradition and history

The Swiss watchmaker IWC is known around the world for its pilot timepieces. With a diameter of up to 46 mm, these watches are as impressive for their eye-catching size as for their superlative quality. Based on an original design first issued in 1940, the IWC Big Pilot uses its generous proportions to pack in the latest developments in watch technology.

The IWC Big Pilot watch has had a significant impact on the evolution of aviation timepieces. It was the Big Pilot that introduced standard features such the two dots to the left and right of the number twelve, the sans serif hour numbers and the distinctive diamond-shaped hands. This is what IWC itself has said about its legendary design: “What started out as a functional military watch has become one of the most famous models in the whole industry. The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch is an icon of its era.”

Of course, today this model is no longer just for pilots. Lots of celebrities enjoy wearing these luxury chronographs. Prominent examples are the boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, the soccer players Jens Lehmann and Zinedine Zidane and the Hollywood star Bradley Cooper. They all appreciate the quality and precision of IWC watches. The IWC Big Pilot strap in luxurious calf with contrasting stitching adds to the high-end appeal of the model, and variants like the IWC Big Pilot with bronze patina help to keep the design fresh and interesting for new generations of fans.

The IWC Big Pilot

Elegance and precision

Over the course of more than 80 years, the IWC Big Pilot 5002 model has lost none of its prestige and popularity. It was launched in 1936 as a specialist watch for aviators, then expanded into a timepiece for navigation and observation under the name "Large Aviator Watch T.S.C." In 1940, the watch acquired a 55 mm case inspired by the on-board instruments of the period's military aircraft. Finally, in 2002, IWC launched the Big Pilot with a 46 mm case, to offer lovers of large wrist watches a modern version of the legendary original model. Within, it has the largest automatic movement of all IWC watches. Here is a general rundown of its features:

  • Diameter 46 mm
  • 7 days power reserve
  • Waterproof
  • Automatic watch movement
  • Stainless steel case
  • Black dial with Arabic numerals and black and white hands
  • IWC in-house 51111 movement with 42 precious stones
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal

Superior watchmaking since 1868

Switzerland has long been famous for its world class watch industry. The American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones recognized this as early as 1868 when he decided to found the International Watch Company – IWC for short – in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen.

As a pioneer in the field of watchmaking, he took advantage of the most cutting edge production technology available at that time, using the hydroelectric power of the Rhine to drive the machines that produced his high quality watches. Despite these successful innovations, Jones had to file for bankruptcy after only a few years and the business passed into the hands of the Rauschenbach industrial family.

Under their leadership, IWC manufactured the first ever jump hour pocket watch in 1888 – a technical novelty that caused a sensation at the time. Over the decades, the firm changed hands on several more occasions (the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung managed it briefly), but it always remained true to its aim of producing first class performance watches. In this way, IWC continued to establish successful series and models like the Big Pilot even during the most turbulent times in its history.

Order the IWC Big Pilot and other watches from CHRONEXT

IWC timepieces are the result of masterly watchmaking, groundbreaking technology and outstanding workmanship. At CHRONEXT you can buy these high quality luxury watches either new or pre-owned. All watches are carefully checked by our expert workshop to make sure they're in excellent working order. Our pre-owned IWC Big Pilot prices are extremely competitive, and every item is shipped in the original packaging and with a certificate of authenticity.