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In Depth Look: The IWC Big Pilot Series

A Brief Introduction

The International Watch Company (IWC) was founded by the brilliant American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868. The Swiss creator of luxury chronographs is located in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

If you have ever been mesmerized by a breathtaking watch worn by a pilot, the chances are that the masterpiece was created in the house of IWC. The luxury Swiss watchmaker is known for creating high-quality pilot/aviation watches and using titanium in watchmaking.

The Swiss giant is also known for adhering to environmentally friendly processes and sustainable means of chronograph development. The motto of IWC, established in 1903 is a Latin phrase, “Probus Scafucia”, which means “good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen.”

With over 650 employees under its roof and serving an audience from around the world, IWC is considered to be one of the most influential and famous brands of all time.

The Big Pilot Watch Series

Everyone fantasizes the lifestyle of pilots. The speed, thrill and the ultimate conquering of the boundless frontier pose as a desirable life. From the aviator glasses to the dashing uniforms, everything screams style and elegance. The watches worn by the pilots are also bold and gorgeous.

Generally, one would assume that pilots can easily use the same chronographs as the rest of the world. However, altitude can cause fluctuations in temperature and the magnetic waves from the flight equipment can also hinder with the timepiece.

The big pilot series is robust and resistant to fluctuations in temperature. It is also anti-magnetic. The watches tell the accurate time without being affected by the environment.

IWC was among the first organizations to theorize and invent chronographs specifically for pilots. The amazing journey of creating precision oriented time telling wristwatches began in 1936. The big pilot series was launched with two main articles:

- Mark IX

- 431 Big Pilot

Mark IX

Born in Croydon, this watch is one of a kind. It is one of the most iconic watches by IWC, and Mark IX is the founding pillar of the aviation watch series.

In 1930, one of the owner’s sons started his pilot training in British. He made his official British pilot license in 1933. In 1936, he convinced his father to produce the first IWC aviation watch for pilots for precise timekeeping.

The iconic Mark IX features innovative and advanced technologies to facilitate the pilots. Shatter-proof glass, leather strap, and anti-magnetic features are prominent in this ensemble. It made history by becoming the first official aviation watch.

If you want to customize you Mark IX watch with gorgeous watch straps, you can choose from a wide variety of attractive leather military watch straps, cordovan shell straps or custom watch straps.

431 Big Pilot

Reference 431 Big Pilot chronograph was launched with an in-house manufactured movement and large seconds in accordance with exact military specifications. It quickly became the largest wristwatch ever produced by IWC as it featured a case diameter of 55 millimeters.

Also known as B-Uhr (singular abbreviation for Beobachtungs-uhren, or ‘Observation’ watch), this chronograph allowed navigators to synchronize the watches with down-to-the-second precision by stopping the central seconds hand.

The larger than the usual size allowed glove wearing pilots to easily adjust the time and synchronize their watches. The minimalist and reductionist design featured black background dial and luminescent hands.

The watch can also be equipped with custom leather watch straps or Military watch straps for a classic combination of vintage and modernity.

The Categories of Big Pilot Watches

Now that we know the founding pillars of the Big Pilot series, it is time to introduce ourselves to the main categories of modern aviation watches. IWC has categorized their watches into 5 different categories depending on their features, uses, and functionality.

- Spitfire

- Le Petit Prince

- Top Gun

- Classic

- Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Spitfire

Inspired by the legendary aircraft Spitfire, the most prominent feature of this series is the slate-colored sunburst dials. Moreover, it has a unique date display, which not only shows the current date but also shows yesterday’s and tomorrow’s as well.

Le Petit Prince

Known for its elegant blue background, the “Le Petit Prince” features a unique dial which displays hours, minutes and seconds with luminescence hands. It has a soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields.

You can swap its original 21mm strap with custom watch straps or vintage French ammo watch straps for special occasions.

Top Gun

One of the most beautiful watch collections by IWC, the “Top Gun” series boldly presents a black dial with luminescence. It has 231 components and 33 jewels inside the dial. From design to functionality, this series stands out in every aspect of timekeeping.

It comes with a black textile strap of 21mm width, but you can swap it with Nylon or Military watch strap according to your likeness. Pair it with some of the most beautiful leather watch straps for your comfort.

Classic

If you want a classy watch with maximum functionality, this is the one. With 18 ct 5N gold case and a see-through sapphire glass back, the “Classic” series stands out. It has automatic self-winding functionality for your ease. The hour and minute counters are also combined in a totalizer at 12 o’clock.

Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

This series offers a brown dial with luminescence encased inside a stainless steel case of 43mm diameter. It also provides a sapphire glass, convex, anti reflective coating on both sides for maximum protection against the environment.

It comes with a 21mm brown calfskin strap. However, the wearers can pair the dial with any watch strap of their liking.

What Do We Have to Say?

IWC outranks the competitors by offering the most beautiful and the most functional aviation watches in the market.

You will absolutely love the masterpieces from the Swiss watchmaker, and you can also get some alluring watch straps from DaLucaStraps to go along with your dials. Be it vintage strap, leather strap or the modern shell cordovan strap; DaLuca Straps has the best to offer to watch lovers.