Home Watch Types Aviators IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch, Bigger and Bigger-er

IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch, Bigger and Bigger-er


IWC Big Pilot's Heritage WatchDo you like large watches?  Of course, you have to define what a large watch is, and that varies from person to person, but anything around 50mm for me qualifies as a large watch.   The largest watch I own is a 47mm, and it is noticeably larger than the rest of my collection.  Well, now I may need to rethink my upper end.  The IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch comes in two flavors, with the smaller of the two sitting at 48mm.  The larger one, a very robust 55mm.IWC Big Pilot 01Big, definitely, but just a beautiful and clean, simple design, a true heritage pilot’s watch.  You can see the original watch above, with a central, hacking second hand.  The new models retain the hacking feature, as would be required in order for a crew to synchronize their watches, but move the second hand to a sub dial at 6:00.  Otherwise, you have the large diamond shaped crown, the triangle and dots of the Flieger A style for the 12:00 index, and blued hands.   Each of the IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch version have different movements, with the 55mm version getting the IWC 98300, with a 46 hour power reserve and 18 jewels, which the 48mm version has the IWC 59215, boasting a very impressive 8 day power reserve and 30 jewels.  Both watches are hand wound.  Taking advantage of modern construction, the watches both feature a titanium case, beryllium alloy balance, and a domed sapphire crystal.

IWC Big Pilot 02

The 55mm is limited to 100 watches, so you may be out of luck, but the 48mm has a slightly larger production run of 1,000 pieces.  Neither of the watches are inexpensive, with the 55mm running $14,800 and the 48mm coming in for a relative bargain of $13,400.  Apart from the modern materials, the modern movement, and the shift from radium paint to Super-Luminova, the watch is decidedly old school.  The oversized crown can be wound with gloves and the triangle makes reading the time easier regardless of the orientation.  Even the strap is old school, with the 2-part leather strap split to accommodate the buckle and then rejoined at the ends, much like a bracelet.  The watch could be adjusted in size to fit over a jacket sleeve without fear of dropping it.  As for my take on it, I think you can guess where I land.  I won’t be greedy, I’ll take the 48mm.

Watch Overview:

  • Brand & Model: IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 48 and 55
  • Price: $13,400 (48mm)/14,800 (55mm)
  • Who we think it might be for: You want a vintage pilot, you are a fan of IWC, and you have already put the kids through college..
  • Would I wear one myself based on what I’ve seen?: Oh yeah.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Nothing.  But I do like the lighter tan shade of the vintage strap.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: Clean and classic.

Tech Specs from IWC:

  • Movement: IWC 59215 (48mm) / IWC 98300 (55mm)
  • Functions: Three hand (power reserve indicator on the case back in the 48mm)
  • Case: Titanium
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Water resistance: 6 Bar (60 meters)
  • Lug width: Not specified
  • Straps: Leather
  • Diameter: 48/55mm
  • Thickness: 14.5/13.5 mm


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    • I have not tried the watch on in person, but I suspect it will be OK. The second photo down shows the vintage watch from which the new one takes its inspiration. It looks like the crown is larger in that one, while the modern version is a tad smaller, but still oversized.

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