The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” Story
The Big Pilot’s Watch and the perpetual calendar are a perfect match. The four sub dials and the four-digit year display are shown off to high effect on the large dial. The date, weekday, month and moon phase are also effortless to read. For the first time, IWC is now combining a Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar with a sand-coloured ceramic case, the hallmark of its “Mojave Desert” editions. The subdued dark brown dial and the sand-coloured rubber strap with textile inlay complement the unique military design. The inspiration came from the flight suits of Navy pilots and the barren landscape of China Lake, the US Navy’s largest land area in the Mojave Desert. The perpetual calendar is mechanically programmed to automatically recognise the different months lengths and the leap years. It will continue running correctly without any manual correction until the year 2100. The calendar module is driven by a single nightly switching impulse delivered by the IWC-manufactured 52615 calibre. Two barrels, wound up by a Pellaton winding system with ceramic components, store a comfortable seven days power reserve.
Calibre Family 52000
The highly efficient winding system is a refined version of the 50000-calibre family with a bidirectional Pellaton pawl-winding system. Two barrels provide an impressive 7 days’ power reserve. The winding pawls and the automatic wheel are made of black ceramic while the rotor bearing is made of white ceramic. These extremely hard high-tech materials make the automatic winding system practically wear-free. The indexless balance with a frequency of 4 hertz (28,800 beats per hour) and the Breguet spring guarantee maximum precision. The design and finish of the movement was also considerably enhanced. The proportions of the rotor and the inset “Probus Scafusia” gold medallion are noticeably slimmer.
In the early 1980s, IWC’s head-watchmaker Kurt Klaus set out on an engineering journey to translate the Gregorian calendar with its many irregularities into a mechanical program for a wristwatch. His ingenious perpetual calendar, which debuted in the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar in 1985, comprises only about 80 parts and displays the date, day, month, year in four digits, and the moon phase. The smart mechanical program automatically recognises the different length of the months, and even adds a leap day at the end of February every four years. The moon phase display is so precise that it will deviate from the actual phase of the moon by just one day after 577.5 years. All displays are perfectly synchronised and can be adjusted simply by turning the crown. Some models come with an additional century slide, so the watch can continue showing the date until 2499. The calendar only needs a small adjustment in those centurial years that skip the leap year, which is the case in 2100, 2200, and 2300. Some versions of the calendar feature a double moon phase display, showing the moon phase on the northern and southern hemispheres.
The Pilot’s Watch Collection
IWC unveiled the first Special Pilot’s Watch in 1936. The Big Pilot’s Watch followed 4 years later and was the ultimate deck watch. In 1948, the Schaffhausen watch manufacturer supplied the Mark 11 to British Royal Air Force, where it remained in service for almost 40 years. The cockpit-instrument look of these three iconic watches inspires the design of classic pilot’s watches to this day. The IWC Pilot’s Watch family is divided up into five distinct lines. The classic Pilot’s Watches are instantly recognizable thanks to their black-and-white dials and the triangular index at “12 o’clock”. The shimmering metallic dial on each Spitfire watch is reminiscent of the fuselage of their legendary namesake. Watches in the TOP GUN collection feature a classic dial and a black ceramic case with push-buttons and a crown made from titanium, while the TOP GUN Miramar line sports authentic military-style design cues. The “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” and “Le Petit Prince” special editions pay tribute to the life and work of the French author and pilot.
About IWC Schaffhausen
In 1868, the American watchmaker and entrepreneur Florentine Ariosto Jones travelled from Boston to Switzerland and founded the “International Watch Company” in Schaffhausen. His visionary dream was to combine advanced American manufacturing methods with the craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers to make the best pocket watches of his time. In doing so, he not only laid the foundation to IWC’s unique engineering approach but also established the centralized production of mechanical watches in Switzerland.
Over its 150 year history, IWC Schaffhausen has developed a reputation for creating functional complications, especially chronographs and calendars, which are ingenious, robust and easy for customers to use. A pioneer in the use of titanium and ceramics, IWC today specializes in highly engineered technical watch cases manufactured from advanced materials, such as titanium-aluminide and Ceratanium®. Preferring the principle of “form follows function” over decoration, the Swiss watch manufacturer’s timeless creations embody their owners’ dream and ambitions as the journey through life.