IWC’s Big Pilot watches are incredibly intricate timepieces, especially the models that have a perpetual calendar, which are some of the most complicated watches IWC has ever made. The movement is the caliber 51614, an in-house movement with a Pellaton self-winding system. It has a pretty impressive power supply, up to one week.
The design of the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar’s dial is inspired by the displays and indicators in the cockpit of an airplane (the makers were inspired to make the first ones with this design after seeing the movie Top Gun). Most of them have black dials, and there are a few different designs, some of them more complicated than others. Each one uses similar design elements in the markings, at least. Even if the fonts and format aren’t exactly the same, you can still see that each is reminiscent of an airplane cockpit. Between ten and eleven o’clock is a small silhouette of an airplane pointing toward the top of the watch, with the letter N on it. Between one and two is another, this one pointing toward the bottom, labeled S.
It’s easy to identify the models with the perpetual calendar, because you can immediately see that it has four sub-dials, the uppermost of which clearly displays the moon phase. This same sub-dial has “Perpetual Calendar” engraved on it. At the three o’clock position is a sub-dial that has an indicator for days of the month, with another inside of it that keeps track of the power supply. The bottom dial shows the months of the year, and the last one has days of the week and chronograph seconds. Between seven and eight o’clock, there is an aperture that shows the year in four digits. Each of these indicators can be adjusted using the crown.
Now there’s a new edition coming to the Big Pilot series, with a perpetual calendar much like that of the other models. This boutique exclusive, which is called the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar, has a satin-finished red dial, case, crown, and clasp. The sub-dials are also made of red gold. It comes with a black crocodile leather strap. This watch will only be made in 250 pieces, which further limits its availability. If the popularity of the rest of the series is any indication, these won’t last long.