IWC Schaffhausen BIG PILOT’s WATCH. New 43 mm vs. “old” 46,2 mm.

@IWC Watches

The Big Pilot’s Watch perfectly embodies IWC Schaffhausen’s extensive heritage and expertise in engineering rugged and reliable instruments tailored to meet the needs of elite aviators. It exemplifies how a purely functional design can transform into a cultural icon. Today, the Big Pilot’s Watch is not only one of the most recognized watch designs in the world but also an expression of a certain character and mindset. This is what Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, told me when he showed me the 43 mm watch in March this year the first time.

The Big Pilot’s Watch 43 (Ref. IW3293) is an authentic interpretation of the iconic design, without either a date window or a power reserve display, it features a 43 mm stainless steel case (Height: 13.6 mm / Lug-to-Lug: 53 mm / Weight: strap 114g , bracelet 159 g) for enhanced ergonomics and wearability. To offer you a direct comparison we filmed both, the new 43 mm and the regular “old” Big Pilot’s watch with a diameter of 46,2 mm (Height: 15,5 mm / Lug-to-Lug: 57 mm / Weight: 145 g).

With the Big Pilot’s Watch 43, IWC has 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. Despite its reduced size, the 43 mm case combines a bold look with great wearing comfort.

Powering the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 is the IWC-manufactured 82100 calibre. The automatic movement has been engineered with a focus on maximum precision and reliability. It features the highly efficient automatic winding system developed by Albert Pellaton, which uses the rotor’s smallest movements in either direction to wind the mainspring. Components like the automatic wheel or the pawls that mesh with it are made of virtually wear-free zirconium oxide ceramic. The manufacturing of such small ceramic parts presents a huge engineering challenge. When fully wound, the mainspring stores 60 hours of power. The movement has been elaborately decorated with circular graining and can be observed through a sapphire glass back.

The new IWC EasX-CHANGE system has been developed with a focus on user-friendliness. It enables the wearer to quickly and easily change the strap and adapt the watch swiftly to different surroundings or activities. You can find a wide range of accessories, such as calfskin and rubber straps in attractive colors, as well as a new stainless steel bracelet with a fine adjustment clasp system for improved comfort and ergonomics at IWC boutiques or online at A reworked case construction also ensures the watch is now water-resistant to 10 bar. With this level of versatility, the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 is the perfect companion for just about any activity or setting.

Powering the Big Pilot’s Watch 46 is the IWC-manufactured 52110 calibre. It features an efficient Pellaton automatic winding system with parts made from black or white ceramic. With the help of two barrels, it builds up a reserve of 7 days (168 hours). The display at “3 o’clock” indicates the time remaining until the movement comes to a stop. The Big Pilot’s Watch has a date display at “6 o’clock” and the central seconds essential in any watch used for flying. The 46-millimetre case, which is water-resistant to 6 bar (60 meters), encloses a soft-iron inner case that protects the movement against magnetic fields. The watch also features a striking conical crown.