The new IWC watches 2021 LIVE - Watches and Wonders
The IWC Pilot's Watch collection is under the loupe in 2021, and, as we did last year, we got our hands on the new timepieces ahead of the launch. Here you'll find a brief presentation of the new watches; please stay tuned as we're going to publish in-depth reviews anytime soon. The highlight is the new IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43, which broadens the Big Pilot's range by adding an only-time, smaller, and more accessible option. Also, IWC introduces two range-extending perpetual calendars, and 41mm Pilot's Watches chronographs. With the Big Pilot's Watch excluded, IWC introduces EasX-Change, a new quick-release system to swap from strap to bracelet and vice versa easily.
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The Big Pilot's Watch was not yet at its full potential, in some IWC representatives' words, and I agree with this comment. The ordinary Big Pilot's Watch is not everyone's cup of tea in either style, size, and prize. The new IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43 aims at offering a more accessible value proposition without doubling down on the Big Pilot's heritage and feel; it also comes with a (very well done) steel bracelet.
Stripped down - there's no power reserve indicator and date window - the new IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43 measures 13.6 mm in thickness but preserves the diamond-styled crown and the Arabic font you'll find on a standard BP. From a product perspective, the Big Pilot's Watch 43 is in line with the original observation watches, which were military tools, thus avoiding any useless counter or date window. The new IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43 houses the 4 Hz IWC caliber 82100 capable of 60 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
The big news is an easy-to-change strap that anyone can replace with a super comfy steel bracelet via the quick-release EasX-Change system, as said. The new bracelet offers superior comfort, has excellent build quality, and includes a micro-adjustment system via a clasp's rectangular push button. Retail prices range between 9050 and 10100 Euros (strap or bracelet).
The launch of a new IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar is not any great piece of news; IWC highlights they have launched no less than 37 models since the first-ever model, a 25-piece collection in platinum, was launched in 2006. To my knowledge, the brand introduced more than 37 models along the way if we include boutique editions like the IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar for Sincere, for instance.
The headline news is that the new steel model is no longer a limited edition and enlarges the IWC Pilot's Watch portfolio. The reference IW503605 features a matte blue dial and the classic 46.2 mm large and 15.4 mm thick case. Powered by the legendary IWC 52615 caliber, the new IWC Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar is more than welcome. Its price is 30,200 euros.
After launching the IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Mojave Desert at SIHH 2019, the brand adds two new models to this niche collection, a large aviator's watch, and a perpetual calendar. They both adopt the matte sand-colored ceramic case (which feels like a soft-touch surface, hands-on), while the Top Gun logo, on the Big Pilot's Watch, gives the Big Pilot's that unmistakable Top Gun feel to it.
Technically speaking, and case making excluded, they are comparable to the standard models, size excluded: the perpetual calendar has a thickness of 15.6 mm instead of the 15.4 mm you'll find on the stainless steel option, and the case is three-tenths of a millimeter larger than its steel counterpart. The Big Pilot's Watch Top Gun Edition Mojave Desert IW506003 is thinner than the steel Big Pilot's Watch, measuring 14.6 mm versus 15.5 mm. Both watches also feature a new rubber and fabric strap, somewhat improved over the original chronograph's. They cost 15,100 euros and 34,000 euros respectively.
The IWC proposal is completed by two 41 mm Pilot's Watch chronographs with in-house caliber. Isn't a 41mm collection with caliber 69380 already on sale? Yes, it is; the two new chronograph options listed above introduce technical and aesthetic innovations all together. The green and blue dials are range extenders, while both now sport, again, the new EasX-Change system and, above all, they guarantee great comfort on the wrist.
If you carefully read their specs sheets, you'll notice that these new IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 house a caliber coded as IWC 69385, which shares the same basic specs of a 69380 caliber, but showcases superior refinement, especially on the winding mass. Conversely, the latest two Chronos measure 14.5 mm in thickness instead of 15.3 mm as seen on current IWC 41 mm Pilot's Watches, which is not a minor detail. The main change has to do with the see-through case back getting rid of the soft iron case. Prices range from 7000 Euros to 7750 Euros (strap or bracelet).
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®