IWC Big Pilot's Watch Edition 'Le Petit Prince'
$ 9,700.00

IWC Big Pilot's Watch Edition 'Le Petit Prince'

Why We Love It 

The IWC Big Pilot's Watch can trace its history back to the oversized timepieces produced for military aviators in 1940. These enormous pieces were originally designed for maximum legibility in a cockpit setting, and were originally designed to be worn on the pilot's thigh!

Today the Big Pilot's line is perhaps IWC's most identifiable collection, featuring a variety of case and dial configurations suited for any taste - provided your wrist can handle the oversized dimensions!

This particular example is cased in steel and is sized at 46.2mm, fitted with a traditional 'onion' style crown and oversized Arabic indices set against a blue sunburst dial which pays homage to the legendary Antoine St. Exupéry, a famous French children's author and a pioneering aviator. A limited edition model, this watch also features a commemorative case back and a supple saddle brown leather strap from Santoni.

In near mint condition dating from 2020, this watch comes complete with its full set of boxes, books, and warranty cards, and is as clean as they come!

The IWC Pilot’s Story

The history of IWC can be said to be one of marriages. For example, a marriage of the Old World to the New, or of the craftsmanship and tradition of the Swiss with American innovations and technology. But perhaps the most enduring association is between IWC and aviation.

When an American watchmaker named Florentine Ariosto Jones arrived in Schauffhausen, Switzerland, he found a city almost frozen in time. Though the Industrial Revolution had swept through America (where Jones worked as a director of a prominent watchmaking company), in Switzerland the situation was very different. Watchmakers still plied their trades by their own firesides, as they had done for centuries; but Jones had in mind something different: an American-style factory where the watches would be designed and assembled in keeping with the old Swiss ways.

His methods caught on, and soon there were 196 people employed at his factory.

Though IWC was founded 35 years before Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first flight, the association between aviation and IWC began just as the aviation age dawned. A pocket watch made by IWC in the 1890s found its way into the pocket of one Robert Albert Lotter. Lotter was a pilot in the German Luftwaffe who served with distinction during the First World War.

Two decades later, in 1936, IWC would release a watch that set the standard, more or less, for what a pilot’s watch is supposed to be—in fact, this watch, the Spezialuhr für Flieger or Special Pilot's Watch, was the first specially-designed pilot’s watch. Another would follow in 1940, the Big Pilot, which has spawned an eponymous model in IWC’s current collection. However, despite the Big Pilot’s current popularity, it was the Special Pilot’s Watch that would lay the cornerstone for IWC’s most iconic line: the Mark series of pilot’s watches.

IWC released the Mark XI in 1948 according to specifications set forth by the British Ministry of Defense. These watches had to be legible, compact, and able to withstand exposure to the magnetic fields emitted by instruments in an airplane’s cockpit. The Mark XI, therefore, had a black dial with large luminous Arabic numbers, and the Calibre 89 movement (regarded as perhaps the best mechanical movement ever produced) was encased in an iron cage.

The Mark XI served as the basis for design inspiration for a robust line of pilot’s watches still being produced today – easily identifiable by their clean, uncluttered dials, robust cases, and outstanding quality.



SKU: AS03943

Stainless steel case is approximately 46.2mm (excluding the crown). Calibre 52110 automatic winding movement by IWC. IWC Reference IW501002. Circa 2020.

Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic as-new condition overall showing only faint wear from careful handling. Luminous blue sunburst dial is in as-new condition with matching handset. Signed crown. Limited edition caseback engraving.

Includes brown leather Santoni steap with signed deployant clasp. Also includes inner and outer boxes, books, and warranty card dated 2020.

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