Once again, IWC Schaffhausen is paying tribute to the high-flying excellence of the Patrouille Suisse with a special edition for 2015. The pilots of the Swiss Air Force display team have been wowing international air show crowds for decades with the precision and perfection of their formation flying. This year IWC is recognizing the exceptional flyers of the Swiss aerobatics squadron with a Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse”, a special version of the iconic watch first produced in 1940 which will be limited to 250 watches.
Dedicated to aviators, the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse” (Ref.IW500910) is presented in grey with a case of blasted stainless steel featuring the characteristic design elements that make this professional timepiece for pilots instantly identifiable.
The 51011 calibre – the largest automatic movement manufactured in-house by IWC Schaffhausen – combines all the features that have proved their worth in the long history of mechanical watches from IWC. Within no time at all, the spring-mounted rotor and Pellaton pawl-winding system build up a power reserve of over 7 days, and after exactly 168 hours the movement is mechanically stopped by an ingenious train in the power reserve. Stopping the movement before all the tension in the spring has been exhausted eliminates the danger of diminishing torque in the mainspring. This ensures the same level of accuracy the whole time the watch is running. The power reserve display at “3 o’clock” provides a reliable indication of the time remaining until the movement comes to a stop. A special feature of the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse” is the small seconds at “9 o’clock”, symmetrically opposite the power reserve display. The date display is at “6 o’clock” as usual. The 46-millimetre case encloses a soft-iron cage that protects the movements against extreme magnetic fields.
IWC’s historic 52 T.S.C. Big Pilot’s Watch of 1940 is clearly recognizable as the model that inspired the design of the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse”. It is a style icon and the model which established the standard design on which all classic pilot’s watches are based.
A clearly organized dial, the arrowhead index at “12 o’clock” and the bold, luminescent numerals and hands guarantee minute-perfect legibility of the time regardless of lighting conditions. The Big Pilot’s Watch is the only model made by IWC Schaffhausen to feature such an imposing crown, a reminder of those pioneering days of aviation when pilots were exposed to the elements in unheated – or even open – cockpits. To combat this they wore thick gloves with their quilted flying suits, which made it difficult for them to wind and set their watches. Hence the need for an unusually large, chunky crown. The current stainless steel variant is rounded off by an anthracite-coloured wristband of embossed calfskin with a folding clasp.
The case back features an engraving of three jet planes resembling the Northrop F-5E Tiger II – the planes the Patrouille Suisse pilots use to perform their aerial displays with the same high levels of precision we associate with Swiss watches. The inscription “TRIBUTE TO PATROUILLE SUISSE” and the consecutive numbering on the case back (001/250, 002/250 etc.) indicate the exclusivity of this special limited edition. The Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse” will be available from September 2015 at IWC boutiques in Switzerland and from Swiss retailers, then later at IWC boutiques worldwide.
Model: BIG PILOT’S WATCH EDITION “PATROUILLE SUISSE” REF. IW500910
IWC-manufactured calibre 51011
Mechanical movement featuring Pellaton automatic winding
Frequency: 21,600 A/h | 3 Hz
Power reserve: 7 days (168 hours)
Glucydur® beryllium alloy balance with precision adjustment cams on the balance arms
Breguet balance spring
Soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields
Power reserve display
Small hacking seconds at 9 o’clock
Case, dial and strap
Stainless-steel case (blasted)
Glass sapphire, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
Water-resistant 6 bar
Diameter: 46 mm
Height: 16 mm
Secured against displacement by drops in air pressure
Slate-coloured dial with sun-pattern finish
Anthracite-coloured embossed calfskin strap, stainless-steel (blasted) folding clasp
Limited edition of 250 watches with consecutive serial numbers