110 Big Pilot Little Prince
For the man who was an aviator as well as an author, IWC made a fitting tribute à la the Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”
IWC’S Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”
Antoine de Saint-exupéry is best known for his enthralling novella, The Little Prince, although many also remember him dearly as a pioneering aviator. Having collaborated with the Antoine de Saint-exupéry – d’agay Estate for more than 10 years now, IWC is perfectly aware of the man’s twin talents, and as a matter of fact, has been crafting timepieces that bind these two rather dichotomous sides of Saint-exupéry.
This partnership between IWC and Saint-exupéry’s foundation may have begun in 2005, but it was only recently that the manufacture made special edition models featuring motifs inspired by The Little Prince. These creations include the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” with the Prince in the moon phase indicator and the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVII Edition “Le Petit Prince” with a picture of the Prince engraved on the solid case back. But whether they’re designed with or without the Prince, IWC would, for obvious reasons, only use watches from the Pilot’s Watches line to pay tribute to Saint-exupéry.
For 2016, IWC has released a trio of new models featuring the Prince although the standout piece is undoubtedly the Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”. For a start, the movement used here is the new Calibre 52850 launched just one year ago in the Portugieser line and to much critical acclaim. This is also the very first Pilot’s Watch to be equipped with the annual calendar function – not that this complication has particular pertinence to aviators, but connoisseurs of the IWC Big Pilot would no doubt recognise the collectability of such a timepiece. Still, Calibre 52850 proffers a tad bit more: the famous Pellaton automatic winding, seven- day power reserve on display at three o’clock, and small hacking seconds at nine. But there’s more.
IWC has made a special oscillating weight for the Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”. Instead of the typical semi-circular style seen in most self-winding watches, the rotor here is cut in the shape of the titular Prince as he stands on his flower-bedecked asteroid numbered B-612 – the exact image used on the cover of the book that is drawn by Saint-exupéry himself. Crafted of solid red gold, the rotor is finished with sandblasted and polished surfaces in order for all of its details to be clearly highlighted. As it swivels around the central axis, the Prince moves along in tandem, as if embarking on his own odyssey through space.
But it’s not all about the movement with this watch; the red gold case, shimmering blue dial finished with a sunburst pattern, and sumptuous dark brown Santoni calfskin strap make a potent combination few serious watch collectors can resist. And as a nod to its aviation roots, the numerals, indexes, and hands, as well as the triangle and two dots at 12 o’clock, have been coated with white Super-luminova for maximum legibility. MOVEMENT Self-winding Calibre 52850 with annual calendar and seven-day power reserve
CASE 46mm in red gold, water resistant to 60m
STRAP Dark brown Santoni calfskin leather with red gold folding clasp