In addition to all the models presented almost half a year ago at Basel 2010, IWC has prepared yet another boutique edition of one of its most popular timepieces. Meet the new Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar in Orange in all of its 46-millimeter stainless steel glory!
Although normal Big Pilots rarely sport anything more advanced than a full calendar chronograph powered by a modified ubiquitous ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic movement, IWC does create a lot more complicated limited edition watches on special request.
Last year, the brand presented its first Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar created for the Swiss-based Bucherer network of luxury boutiques. Limited to only 100 pieces (70 in stainless steel and 30 in gold,) it was powered by IWC’s in-house Calibre 51613 automatic movement with Pellaton winding system, which is normally used in their Portuguese Perpetual Calendar collection.
It is not clear, what chain of stores ordered this particular model, but here it is in all its orange glory.
Comparing photos of the original and this “second edition” version, it is visible that the only change from the first edition is the new color scheme of the dial and strap. While the first model (let’s call it Bucherer Edition for clarity) sported black dial with white luminescent substance on its hands, indices, and numerals, as well as red markings accenting the tips of its arrow-pointed hands, the second edition is more into your face with its orange SuperLuminova covering hands, hour markers and the Arabic numerals on the main scale, and the letterings and numerals on the sub-dials printed in contrasting white.
As far as I understand, this model will be limited to 250 examples, all of them in stainless steel.
With the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar models IWC has corrected some usability problems that still plague some of its other “perpetuals”.
For example, their current Portuguese Perpetual Calendar has its day of month display sharing the same space with the power reserve indicator. With both indicators equipped with hands of almost the same length, the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar sometimes leaves its owner wondering whether it is the 28th day of the current month or is the mechanism is running off the juice with only one day of power left in its mainspring.
The IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar successfully solves this problem by replacing the standard-looking day of month hand with an arrow-pointed one. The logic is further enhanced with the same arrow-pointed hands serving to indicate the current month (sub-dial at 6 o’clock) and day of the week (sub-dial at 9 o’clock.)
Of course, as some users point out, the watch (or, rather, the entire family that shares the Calibre 51613 automatic movement) has other drawbacks that somehow spoil the pleasure of using it. You can ruin the movement turning the winding crown backward, you can ruin it setting time before 2 a.m. and setting the correct time for those constantly traveling between different time zones may become a real hassle.
However, to my taste, those are no problems at all. Owning such a timepiece is like owning a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley (preferably, Arnage, but I could live with Brooklands, too.) You do have to take good care of the thing, but in return, it will provide you with all the little pleasures the conspicuous consumption can bring.
Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar specification
Movement: Caliber 51613, automatic (Pellaton winding system), 62 jewels, 21,600 vph, Swiss Made
Complications: Day, date, day of the week, month, four-digit year, moon phase
Power reserve: 168 hours / 7 Days
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 46.00 mm
Water resistance: 60 meters
Strap: Black alligator strap with yellow stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective