Since 2005, IWC has been in collaboration with the family of French aviator and author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This partnership has already seen a variety of special editions launched within the Pilot’s Watches collection. While some pay tribute to the life and accomplishments of the great humanist himself, others are dedicated to his most famous literary work “The Little Prince” (Le Petit Prince). These timepieces, characterised by their distinctive midnight blue dials, have been a highly regarded addition to the Pilot’s Watch collections since 2013.
And at the upcoming SIHH, the manufacturer will now be adding some exclusive models to this line. One such model is the Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “Le Petit Prince” (ref. IW590303). It is the first pilot’s watch from IWC to feature a constant force tourbillon. It is available with a hard gold case and is limited to 10 watches.
This is the first time IWC has produced a watch with hard gold, a special new version of red gold. The microstructure of the alloy is modified in a sophisticated manufacturing process. Hard gold is therefore significantly harder and around 5 to 10 times more wear-resistant than conventional red gold. As a result, the material is perfectly suited to the large case and the crown of a Big Pilot’s Watch.
The patented constant-force tourbillon is the IWC engineers’ answer to a centuries-old challenge in the field of watchmaking: As the tension in the spring of a mechanical wristwatch slackens over time, less force is transferred to the escapement via the dial train, which in turn decreases the amplitude of the balance. This has a negative impact on the precision of the watch. The patented constant-force mechanism separates the escapement from the direct flow of force from the dial train and with every second re-tensions a balance spring, which serves as a temporary store of energy and transfers absolutely even force pulses to the escape wheel.
Integrated into a tourbillon, which also eliminates the influence of gravity on the oscillating system, the result is extraordinary precision. The IWC-manufactured calibre 94805 combines a constant-force tourbillon with a perpetual moon phase display, which takes 577.5 years to require adjustment by one day. The “Petit Prince” stands on the moon. Two barrels store enough power for 96 hours. A display notifies the wearer of the remaining power reserve.
Power reserve display
Tourbillon with integrated constant-force mechanism
Perpetual moon phase display
IWC manufacture calibre 94805
Frequency: 18,800 vph / 2.5 Hz
Power reserve: 4 days (96 h)
Case, dial and strap
18 carat hard gold case
Diameter: 46.2 mm
Height: 13.5 mm
Crystal: Sapphire, arched edge, anti-reflective coating on both sides
Water-resistance: 6 bar
See-through sapphire glass back
Glass secured against displacement by drops in air pressure
Blue dial, gold-plated hands
Brown calf leather strap
Limited to 10 watches