IWC Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar

The IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar is the marriage of two of the Manufacture’s tour de force – the iconic pilot tool watch and the brand’s perpetual calendar developed by Kurt Klaus in the 1980s. Introduced in 2006, it is now one of the most revered creations of IWC.

Throughout IWC’s history, 37 versions of the Big Pilot’s watch have featured a perpetual calendar, and all have been in limited editions. In 2021, the brand finally released a standard production model, in a stunning blue rendition. Here’s a closer look at the IWC Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar:

 

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW503605

 

A Quick History of IWC’s Perpetual Calendar

IWC’s take on the perpetual calendar is considered a milestone in watchmaking even today. Created by the brand’s former lead watchmaker Kurt Klaus, the legendary complication made its debut on the Da Vinci in 1985.

Much like other perpetual calendars in the market, it displays the date, day of the week, month, moon phase, and year in four digits. However, it recognizes different month lengths and leap years, allowing the complication to run perfectly without corrections until 2100.

 

1985 IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 3750

 

Over the years, IWC engineers have continuously enhanced the original mechanism, developing perpetual calendar watches with either a digital display for the month and day or a double moonphase indicator. (photo: Sotheby’s)

 


 

The Birth of IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar

The perpetual calendar made its appearance on the Big Pilot’s watch in 2006, in a limited edition of 25 pieces made of platinum. Since then, over 37 versions of the emblematic Big Pilot’s design with a perpetual calendar have been issued.

With the Big Pilot’s large dial, the complication is a perfect fit. There’s plenty of space in the dial to put tons of details while remaining legible and harmonious.

 

2006 IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW5026

 

All models released in the last 16 years have been limited editions, but last year, we saw IWC making the perpetual calendar a staple in the Big Pilot’s Watch collection by unveiling a regular production model.

 


 

The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar IW503605

The standard production Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar comes with outstanding features including a 42mm size and steel construction. At 15.4mm thickness, it also exudes an imposing presence on the wrist.

 

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW503605

 

A cult-favorite, the watch’s midnight blue colorway made it more attractive. A similar hue is used in the highly successful Le Petit Prince line, which are tributes to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The blue calfskin leather strap complements the rugged look of the watch.

 


 

Dial

Boasting a sunburst finish, the blue dial provides the perfect contrast for its luminous markers and rhodium-plated hands. Its functions are neatly displayed on four registers, which is another unique feature of IWC perpetual calendars.

The date and power reserve displays occupy the 3 o’clock position, while the month indicator is at 6. The weekday display and the small seconds share the subdial at 9. At 12 o’clock, there’s the moonphase display, which depicts the moonphase for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and only needs adjustment by one day after 577.5 years.

 

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW503605

 

The IW503605 also comes with an additional century slide, allowing the watch to continue showing accurate date until 2499. It gets better as all of its displays are perfectly synchronized, and the calendar can be set easily via the crown, making it extremely user-friendly. This is a trait rarely seen in complicated watches.

 


 

Movement

Inside the IW503605 is an in-house movement with 386 components: the Caliber 52615. Engineered with precision and quality, it has the Pellaton automatic winding system that stores 7-day worth of power reserve in two barrels.

 

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW503605

 

The beautifully-done movement is also visible through a sapphire caseback, and offers a frequency of 4.0 hertz.

 


 

The Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar continues the tradition of mechanical calendars in the Big Pilot collection in a stylish and wearable package. Get yours today at SwissWatchExpo.com.


PHOTO CREDITS: IWC

 

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