Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen releases the Big Pilot 43: a modern interpretation of an iconic aviation watch.
Watch lovers the world over have a new face to look for this year with Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen’s release of the Big Pilot 43: an elegant sports watch that harkens back to the golden age of aviation and the glamor of 1940s air travel.
Released this April, the Big Pilot 43 is the latest in a lineage of IWC timepieces inspired by 1940s military observation watches that had large faces for readability and were designed to measure several elements in addition to telling the time. For aficionados familiar with the line and style, typically sized at 46-48 millimeters with substantial crowns to provide usability for pilots wearing bulky gloves, the Big Pilot 43, with its 43-millimeter stainless steel case, may seem demure in size and style.
The streamlining was an intentional move to enhance ergonomics and wearability with the modern-day watch maven in mind. “We have returned to the extreme purity of the original observation watch designed more than 80 years ago and created a simple three-hand watch with no other elements on the dial,” explains IWC’s creative director, Christian Koop. “Despite its reduced size, the 43-millimeter case combines a bold look with great wearing comfort.”
While the bells and whistles of the watch face have been minimized, the technical functionality of the Big Pilot 43 is on point. In this model, rhodium-plated hands are powered by a Pellaton winding system (reinforced with top-of-the-line ceramic components) that harnesses a 60-hour reserve. And, for those curious to see precision at work, the IWC-manufactured 82100 caliber movement is visible through a sapphire glass case back. The timepiece is available at Cherry Creek’s Hyde Park Jewelers with calfskin, rubber, or stainless-steel bands that are easily swapped thanks to IWC’s signature EasX-CHANGE system.
All in all, the Big Pilot 43 is a knock-out addition to a 150-year legacy that has been bringing American manufacturing methods and the fine craft of Swiss watchmaking together since its founder, Florentine Ariosto Jones, first arrived in Schaffhausen and began the “International Watch Company” in 1868. Like its maker, it’s a timepiece piece built to endure the demands of use and style, equipping its wearer for a range of activities and looks, and ultimately making us wish there were more hours in a day.