In 2001, Seiko Watch Corporation created a special Grand Seiko watch in collaboration with Steiff, the iconic German luxury toy brand. This special timepiece was exhibited at the 12th International Jewelery Tokyo in 2001 along with STEIFF’s Platinum Teddy Bear.
Established by Margarete Steiff in Giengen in 1880, STEIFF has been known for its luxurious animal-themed toys for children, especially the teddy bears. The iconic “Bear 55 PB” was launched in 1902. Designed by Margarete’s nephew Richard Steiff, it was the world’s first plush teddy bear with movable arms and legs. In 2002, the company celebrated the 100th anniversary of the original teddy bear.
In the Grand Seiko Teddy Bear Watch project, Seiko Watch Co. and Margarete Steiff GmbH partnered with Japanese Toy Company Takara Co., Ltd. and Platinum Guild International.
Founded in 1955, Takara Co., Ltd. was the sole distributor of STEIFF in Japan. In March 2006, the company merged with Tomy Co., Ltd. to form Takara Tomy. Today, it is one of the world’s leading toy manufacturers.
The 12th International Jewelery Tokyo was held from 24 to 27 January, 2001. During this event, STEIFF displayed its “Platinum Teddy Bear”, sporting a platinum tiara and a cloak made of platinum cloth. Two “Platinum Teddy Bears” and Steiff Teddy Bear Watches were produced.
One set was created for Platinum Guild International for promoting platinum jewelry at the organization’s exhibitions nationwide. The second set was dedicated to the “Teddy Bear Collection Exhibition” to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Steiff teddy bears. Later, it was put up for a charity auction and the proceedings were donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
The Steiff Teddy Bear Watch was based on Grand Seiko SBGX017. This Platinum GS quartz model was introduced in 1997. Equipped with the 9F61 movement, it features 35.5mm diameter case, silver dial and alligator leather strap with platinum buckle. The company selected this model to create the Grand Seiko Steiff Teddy Bear Watch (reference SBGX00C1).
The Grand Seiko SBGX00C1 timepiece has a silver dial with the inscription “Steiff Teddy Bear” just above the 6 o’ clock. The case back features the “Steiff Teddy Bear” text and an engraving of a teddy bear.
During the 12th International Jewelery Exhibition Tokyo, one SBGX00C1 platinum watch was worn on the arm of STEIFF Platinum Teddy Bear. The total amount of platinum jewelry and costumes, including watches, was equivalent to 4.8 million yen.
Movement: Caliber 9F61
Functions: Hour, minute and seconds
Accuracy: Annual difference ± 10 seconds (when worn on the arm at a temperature of 5 to 35 ° C)
Case dimensions: 35.5mm X 10.1mm
Dial: Silver, with Steiff Teddy Bear inscription
Band: Crocodile leather strap with platinum buckle
Glass: Sapphire glass (with anti-reflective coating on the inside)
Founded in 1857 and now based in Besancon in France, DODANE 1857 is a specialist in chronometric instruments of navigation for military and civil aviation. In 2005, the company re-issued the TYPE 21, the famous chronograph watch provided to the pilots of French Airforce from the sixties.
The TYPE 21 is the symbol of precision watchmaking craftsmanship in service to the armed forces. Full-fledged navigational instruments, these chronographs were designed on the basis of strict specifications from the Ministry of Defence.
The technical qualities of the TYPE 21, combined with its reliability, have made it a truly renowned timepiece. The distinctive features of the watch provide a refined, authentic style, perfectly preserving the line and personality of the original watch that was the pride of generations of pilots. This personalized limited edition is assembled in the Swiss Jura region, respecting age-old watchmaking traditions.
Military watches have a history; they reflect intensive efforts in the quest for precision and authenticity. The watch actually had to compensate for onboard instrument failure by acting as a navigational instrument for the pilot. While conserving their precision, these chronographs already withstood extreme constraints in terms of acceleration, vibration, temperature variations and resistance to magnetic effects.
By official command from the French General Staff, the House of Dodane developed the Type 21 in the 1950’s. The “fly-back” function was the principal requirement in the stringent specifications then set out for the chronograph by the Ministry of Defence.
The “fly-back “function enables the user to set the stopwatch to zero and then to restart immediately the chronograph function. The Air Force has imposed this condition as it was vital for pilots when they would fly over a beacon or when they had to land relying on the time given by the control tower.
Among other requirements from the French National Defence’s specifications: an autonomy of over 35 hours, a maximum time difference of 8 seconds per any 24 hours. The difference was reduced to 0.2 seconds per minute and 0.5 seconds per half hour for chronometers. Besides, the chronograph was supposed to operate at least 300 starts, stops and zero-setting in a row.
Already used by the Air Force and other corps, the Type 21 was supplied to NATO forces involved in sensitive missions. In the 1990’s, Dodane Type 21 chronographs continued to wield their talent in Army light aviation.
Launched in 2005, the new Type 21 chronograph was designed as homage to the original TYPE 21 of 1956 based on the basis of specifications from the Ministry of Defence. This modern incarnation features upgraded movement, enhanced water resistance, better accuracy and superb finishing.
For their products, Dodane 1857 incorporates manufacturing standards of the Swiss made label. They design, develop and control the timepieces within their company in Besancon and sub-contract the manufacture and the assembly with a great company specialized in watches complications which work with most of famous Swiss watches brand manufacturers.
The movement which powers the TYPE 21 reissue is Dubois-Dépraz 42021 on a basis of an ETA 2892-A2. Dubois-Depraz is an independent Swiss company, specialized in the complications movements making intended to be integrated on a great number of prestigious brands models. The movement is equipped with the Incabloc system and shockproof.
The calibre ETA 2892A2 is used as a basis of engine and drive control, on which the watchmakers add a chronometric module and Flyback function. This high precision base movement manufactured by ETA beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. The movement, the ETA base + Module stopwatch flyback, completely is assembled and set within the Dubois-Depraz company.
The Flyback complication which Dubois-Depraz carries out is rare because it’s complex to develop and DD has an exceptional know-how. The movement features “Côte de Genève” decoration with the gilt engraving of the brand and the Bottom plate and bridges decorated.
The brand has also paid a detailed attention to the sealing of the watch which is of 10 bars (100m) in order to arrive at the highest standards in term of sealing.
The customers can choose the standard model or the Chronometer version with “chronometric instrument” certificate by the “National Observatory of Time Measurement” in Besancon, an independent academic verification agency. Additional charges required for chronometer certification.
Measuring 41.50 mm diameter and 13.70 mm thickness, the stainless steel (316L) case of the watch ensures the antimagnetic safety for the parts of movement.
The leather strap of the chronograph is in black colour in order to respect the original type 21 Ministry of Defence specifications.
The stainless steel bracelet of the Type 21 was made in France by a French band manufacturer. Its complete plain 316 L, solid stainless steel links made by CNC (Numerically controlled Machines) and fixed by special hardened pins (it’s not stamped links).
The hands are made in Besançon and the dials are made in Switzerland.
The Type 21 is a very high-precision chronograph. It is equipped with a special mechanism called “fly-back” enabling to measure pre-set time with continuous or interrupted operations.
This function enables to start, stop and restart the central hand telling seconds divided to the 5th as well as the hands telling minutes and hours.
The chronometer’s Start function is set by pushing the first push-button A. With a second push on this button, the central hand is stopped. A third push on the same button re-starts the chronometer hand. This enables to stop a time measurement and re-start it at the stop mark.
Zero-setting function of seconds, minutes and hours is obtained by pushing the second push-button B.
The Fly-back device allows it to be instantly reset during the chronograph’s operation by pressing the second button (B), without having to first stop the operation with the first button (A). When pressure is maintained on the second button, the hand stays at zero and only starts again when pressure is released.
The device enables an aircraft pilot or ship’s captain to follow instructions and change headings according to a predefined course. Once a sequence has elapsed, pressure on the button launches the following sequence.
The rotating bezel completes the sums of minutes and hours by acting as a countdown timer. For a four hour flight, the pilot enters the number 4 opposite the hour hand of the main dial, and starts the chronograph: when the hour hand is opposite the luminous 0 mark, the four hours have elapsed.
The tachometer measurement enables to know the plane speed when taking off on a short runway. As a matter of fact, if the pilot has not reached the sufficient acceleration to take off regarding a pre-set distance, he or she will choose to reverse the engine push in order to try to take off again safely.
316 L stainless steel case (Also available in black PVD version)
Diameter: 41.50 mm
Thickness: 13.70 mm
Unidirectional rotating bezel with anti-clockwise return pawl
Sapphire Upper Glass and Hardened Glass case-back
Water-resistant 100 meters (10 bars)
Three Chronographs totalisators (hour, minute, second) to the 1/5th of second
Superluminova Hands and figures luminescent
57 jewels Automatic chronograph movement 42021 Dubois Depraz Swiss-made Chronometric assortment
Bidirectional winding ball-bearing central rotor
42 hours of power reserve
Finishing: «Cote de Genève» finishing on winding mechanism, polished-surfacing with chamfered bridges, blues screws, Bridge rhodium finishing, Colimaçon decoration on Barrel
Leather strap or Stainless steel bracelet with double claps opening
4000 Euros (*Approximate price as on Apr 2019)
450 Euros extra for chronometer certification
Personalization is available (Additional charges apply)
For Breitling, the name Montbrillant refers to chronographs endowed with a wealth of tradition and exclusive features. One such model is the Montbrillant Olympus, a chronograph inspired by the finest products made by the brand in the course of its history. The beaded bezel, for example, is a faithful reproduction of the first chronographs equipped with a slide rule.
In the same spirit, the two-tone dial clearly distinguishes the timekeeping zone from the logarithmic scales. On the back of the watch is a medallion depicting the factory built by Léon Breitling in 1892 on Montbrillant Street, in the watchmaking town of La Chaux-de- Fonds. Yet it is the mechanism of the Montbrillant Olympus that best reflects Breitling’s strong attachment to tradition.
Caliber 19 is a highly complex movement, made up of almost 250 components, enabling not only the measurement of short times, but also the simultaneous indication of the date, the day, the month and the moon-phases.
The mechanism is programmed to provide this information without any need for adjustments throughout a complete leap-year cycle, meaning four years.
Model: Breitling Montbrillant Olympus
Mechanical self-winding Breitling Caliber 19, officially chronometer-certified by the COSC, high frequency (28,800 vibrations per hour), 38 jewels. 1/4th of a second chronograph, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers. Leap-year calendar with indication of the date, day, month and moon-phases.
Steel, 18K rose gold (limited series). Resistant to 3 bars. Rotating bezel with circular slide rule. Domed sapphire crystal, glare-proofed both sides. Diameter: 42.10 mm.
In addition to illustrating part of the brand’s history and showing the considerable potential of the OMEGA Museum, the Museum Collection meets a clear demand among collectors for historical timepieces from the company. The Museum Collection made its debut in 2001 with a re-edition of a 1938 pilot’s watch. The 2002 OMEGA Museum Collection model was a replica of the square-cased version of a calendar watch from 1951.
Introduced in 2003, the third watch in the collection is re-edition of a rare type of chronograph from 1945, a unusual watch with a tachymetric scale from 400km/h to 20km/h on the dial together with telemetric and pulsometric scales.
In keeping with the Museum Collection philosophy, this re-edition retains the same essential characteristics of the original, save for a few minor improvements to bring it up to the latest technological standards: a domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, clearer markings on the dial, better quality leather for the strap and water resistance to 30 metres.
The watch case retains the original 1945 diameter of 38.4mm, as well as its distinct look of the period: entirely satin-finished, with only the very smallest of polished areas on the bevels of the bezel and chronograph pushers. The crown also has the typically intricate grooved design of the period. The case back has a special museum limited edition inscription, as well as the limited-edition number, engraved on it.
The watch is driven by the OMEGA calibre 3200, a manual winding chronograph movement manufactured exclusively for OMEGA by Frédéric Piguet SA. This movement has a prestige column wheel mechanism to ensure precision operation of the chronograph functions and a power reserve of 55 hours when fully wound. Like all prestige OMEGA movements, its surfaces are finely finished with circular graining, Geneva wave décor, rhodium plating and gold-plated engravings.
The black Opaline dial is adorned with gold feuille hands, a chronograph minute counter at 3 o’clock and continuous small seconds at 9 o’clock. It provides the backdrop for the various instrument scales in gold:
Tachymeter: The tachymeter is a standard feature of most high-end chronographs. However, whilst most tachymeters have a single scale reading down to 60, the OMEGA Museum Collection 2003 has three separate tachymeter scales (in yellow gold) that are graduated down to 20. The tachymeter can be used to calculate the speed of a vehicle by measuring the time taken to travel a reference distance of 1000 metres. Equally, the scale can be used to calculate the hourly output of a machine, for example: if the time taken to produce one item is measured, the tachymeter scale gives an immediate indication of how many such items the machine produces in one hour.
Telemeter: The telemetric scale (in red gold) allows calculation of the distance from the observer of an event that is both visible and audible. The best practical example of its use is in a thunderstorm: the chronograph button is pushed when a flash of lightning is seen and then stopped when the thunderclap is heard; the central chronograph hand pointing to the telemeter scale then indicates how far away the storm is from the observer in kilometres.
Pulsometer: This scale (in silver) is used to take a person’s pulse based on 15 beats. The chronograph is started on the first beat and stopped on the 15th; the pulsometer scale then indicates the heart rate in beats per minute.
Presented in a special Museum Collection gift box, this historical OMEGA timepiece is fitted with a brown alligator leather strap with satin finished buckle.
Unveiled in 1993, this exceptional creation from Blancpain is the world’s first Wristwatch Repeater with Automata.
Automata, or moving figure watches have had a checkered past. The techniques for creating them evolved near the end of the 17th century. The subjects for the moving figures were frequently erotic scenes. Their allure was instantly recognized. Watchmakers responded with ingenious fantasies to tempt those with the means to acquire these most rare and expensive creations. This did not long go unnoticed by the Church.
Religious authorities in the Swiss cantons of Geneva and Neuchâtel formed an alliance to strike out against this free libertine exotic expression. Not only was further production of the watches banned, but those in existence were made subject to seizure.
The fate of confiscated watches was both predictable and grim: destruction. What were already rare pieces for reasons of cost became even rarer. In some cases, the ingenuity of the watchmakers came to the rescue. Rather than placing the automata in plain view on the dial or case-back, watchmakers created a separate hinged case-back that would hide the automata from all but the most detailed inspections. With the hinge closed, the watch would appear as an ordinary, unadorned timepiece.
Notwithstanding the clever means for avoiding detection and seizure, the creation of erotic timepieces was effectively suppressed. Most critically, this complication did not pass from pocket watches to wristwatches, as the industry transformed itself at the beginning of the 20th century.
Blancpain brought back this most celebrated – albeit clandestine– complication with the introduction of its Calibre 332 in 1993. This set a milestone for wristwatches: the world’s first minute repeater with automata. Both erotic and non-erotic figures are combined with Blancpain’s famed minute repeater movements.
Combining moving figures with the delicate repeater mechanism is a watchmaking tour de force. It is always difficult to integrate a repeater with automata because the moving figures require so much power from the movement. Compounding the test of watchmaking ingenuity is the fact that the movement of the figures must take place in a way that does not disturb the functioning of the delicate repeater mechanism. When all of this is done in the scale of a wristwatch, as opposed to a clock or large pocket watch, it is doubly difficult.
In Blancpain’s case, the figures were mated with the world’s smallest repeater mechanism, which made the challenge even greater for its craftsmen. As befits the world’s first automata repeater wristwatch, Blancpain decided to make each watch unique, with hand-created and carved figures adorning the back.
Certifying the individuality of its own scene, never to be duplicated, each Calibre 332 watch is engraved with the inscription “pièce unique”, meaning “unique watch – one in a series of one”.
Beyond the individuality of each of the scenes, each represents an artistic achievement. The figures are all painstakingly hand-engraved. The background scenes are created following the techniques developed by Huguenot artisans 300 years ago, but nearly forgotten for the past 150 years. Multiple enamel layers are hand-painted and fired in a process called “grand feu” enamelling.
The running equation of time (“Equation du Temps Marchante”) watch by Blancpain was debuted in 2004. This limited edition of 50 pieces features two equation of time displays, the running solar minutes-hand (bearing a sun) and a plus/minus display at 2 o’clock. An equation of time display ties the watch to the cycles of the sun, complete with a hand-carved rotor depicting the sun (in gold), moon and stars.
In the history of fine watchmaking, perhaps the most mystical and precious complication of all has been the equation of time. An equation of time display ties the watch to the cycle of the sun. For convenience, humans have defined the day to be exactly 24 hours in length.
Faithful to that definition, watches from the most humble inexpensive quartz watch to the most prized mechanical marvel measure time according to that defined standard. In reality, however, the defined 24-hour day is a convenience, an average, that serves most purposes well but does not correspond exactly to the actual length of a solar day. Because the earth’s orbit is not exactly round and because the earth’s axis of rotation is inclined by 23 degrees, the actual solar day may be several minutes longer or shorter, depending on the time of year, than 24 hours.
The difference between the length of the actual solar day, termed “solar time”, and the 24-hour day, termed “civil time”, is called the equation of time. The accumulated differences between civil time and solar time can be as much as +14 minutes and –16 minutes; on four days per year the errors catch up and the solar time and civil time correspond exactly.
Two centuries ago, fascination with the sun and this phenomenon of a day which varies in length inspired watch and clockmakers to record this time difference, the equation of time, on the face of a timepiece. Since then the equation complication has been reserved for only the most important watches and clocks.
In the early development of equation of time movements, two methods of recording the time difference were conceived. The more simple of the two is a display of the difference between solar and civil time on a plus/minus scale. Far more complicated was the second, an équation marchante movement.
With the équation marchante or “running equation” movement, a second minutes-hand is added indicating solar time. This offers the advantage that the solar time can be directly read from the face of the watch. The difference can also be discerned from the difference between the solar minutes hand and the conventional civil minutes-hand.
Equation of time displays in wristwatches have always been extraordinarily rare and, following the tradition developed over two centuries with pocket watches and clocks, they have been incorporated in only the most refined of timepieces. However, working in the small dimensions of a wristwatch, the equation complication has, until now, only been of the more simplified plus/minus scale variety.
In 2004, Blancpain debuted a revolutionary equation of time watch, the Equation du Temps Marchante. Blancpain’s watchmakers undertook to bring to wristwatches, for the first time, the rare and difficult running equation complication that had existed only in large clocks and pocket watches.
To do this they had to design an innovative gear train, with an ingenious differential that combines the running of the equation gear train controlled by a complex-shaped cam and the running train of the watch’s civil minutes-hand, to drive the running equation hand. In addition, Calibre 3863 provides a plus/minus scale equation display.
There is extraordinary complexity in the calendar mechanism of Calibre 3863, which must combine a perpetual calendar with the equation of time train and the normal minute train of the watch. A patented differential system was specially developed for the watch. Of particular interest, at 6 o’clock, is the ellipsoidal wheel which calculates the length of the solar day according to month.
As befits this extraordinary wristwatch, Blancpain combined these two separate equation displays with an innovative retrograde moon phase indication and a complete perpetual calendar.
The decoration of the movement celebrates this achievement with a special hand carving of the bridges and a meticulously hand-fashioned winding rotor bearing an artist’s image of the sun.
Model: Blancpain Le Brassus Equation Marchante Platinum
Case material: Platinum
Diameter: 42 mm
Water-resistance: 50 m
Width between horns: 22mm
Calibre 3863, self-winding movement
Thickness: 5.25 mm
Diameter: 26.8 mm
Power reserve in hours: 72
Retrograde moon phases
In 2005, as part of its celebration of the 270th Anniversary of its founding, Blancpain unveiled a limited edition set, the Apotheosis Temporis.
Inspired by the Six Masterpieces released nearly two decades earlier, the Apotheosis Temporis Set incorporated all of the classic complications from the Six Masterpieces and added two more Blancpain signature complications: a dual time zone watch and a running equation of time perpetual calendar watch.
The equation of time addition is particularly significant as it represents a world first achieved by Blancpain a year earlier when it debuted the first wristwatch ever to incorporate this complex mechanism. Further underscoring its complication prowess, Blancpain endowed the entire Apotheosis Temporis collection with automatic winding.
Villeret Equation Marchante Pure “Apotheosis Temporis”, (Ref. 6038A-3430-55B)
All eight pieces in the set – Ultra Slim, Time Zone, Moon Phase Calendar, Perpetual Calendar with Correctors Hidden under the Lugs, Single Push-button Chronograph with Split-seconds, Tourbillon, Equation Marchante Pure and Minute Repeater – were turned out in platinum, with special black dials reserved for the collection, and featured winding rotors unique to the set.
The Blancpain APOTHEOSIS TEMPORIS Set consists of platinum versions following watch models:-
Ultraplate (Ultra Slim)
Quantième à Phases de Lune (Moon Phase Calendar)
Quantième Perpétuel avec Correcteurs sous cornes (Perpetual Calendar with Correctors Hidden under the Lugs)
Chronographe Monopoussoir à Rattrapante (Single Push-button Chronograph with Split-seconds)
Equation Marchante Pure (Equation of Time)
Répétition Minutes (Minute Repeater)
Done in the Villeret Collection style, this limited edition, which sold out immediately, featured a custom eight-rotor winding box to house the collection.
The cases of the eight creations making up the Blancpain Apotheosis Temporis set feature 950 platinum cases and house a subtle matt black dial with white gold applied hour-markers.
Water-resistant to 30 metres (apart from the Minute Repeater), these cases have a diameter of 38 mm and are fitted with a sapphire crystal that is glare-proofed both sides and a sapphire case-back with anti-glare treatment on the inside.
The sapphire crystal case-back allows to admire the view of movement decorations (“Côtes de Genève”, circular graining, bevelling, polishing and engraving) entirely performed by hand, like all Blancpain movements, in keeping with the noblest traditions of Haute Horlogerie. The eight timepieces also feature a platinum oscillating weight made exclusively for the Apotheosis Temporis.
Constituting an objet d’art in its own right, a splendid lacquered wooden piece of furniture with an exquisitely marquetry-worked Macassar ebony cabinet has been lovingly crafted by a skilled artisan to host the eight Apotheosis Temporis models. This precious work of art features storage areas for the eight complications equipped with a rotating motor to ensure continuous winding of the watches.
Introduced in 2000 by Swiss watch brand MAURICE LACROIX, this high complication watch from the prestigious Masterpiece collection combines a split-seconds chronograph and annual calendar. The steel case has a pink gold bezel and is fitted with a solid silver dial pierced with the brand’s exclusive large date window at 12 o’clock and the month window between 4 and 5. The hand-decorated movement is visible through the transparent back.
Automatic ML 15, based on an ETA 2892-A2 calibre
Hand-decorated, 49 jewels, blued steel screws
The Big Pilot’s Watch ref. 5002 , the large professional pilot’s watch made by IWC in 2002 is a historically important timepiece that represents a high point in traditional watchmaking: with a Pellaton winding mechanism and a seven-day automatic movement.
Everything about it is out of the ordinary: the mechanical automatic movement, the seven-day power reserve, the solid case, the dial and the hands, and even the crown.
The Big Pilot’s Watch, with its imposing 46 mm case diameter, 15.8 mm height and a take-off weight of 150 grams – including a leather strap and folding clasp – embodied a new dimension of professionalism in the market for oversize watches intended for aviation. When it launched, it was the second largest IWC wristwatch produced in the history of the factory. The historic Big Pilot’s Watch (52-calibre T.S.C.) launched in 1940 was the largest wristwatch ever made at IWC in Schaffhausen.
Externally at least, it traces its roots back to a navigation watch with a modified pocket watch movement produced for military pilots in 1940, which today commands record prices as a collector’s item. The heart of the Big Pilot’s Watch is IWC factory calibre 5011, an exclusive watch drive mechanism in the superlative class.
Pawl Winding Mechanism
The principle of the pawl winding mechanism already developed by the horological genius Albert Pellaton in Schaffhausen at the end of the forties has been revived in the calibre 5000 and its descendants. This technical solution, in which reciprocating pawls act on a toothed wheel and the smallest movement of the arm is also utilized for winding the watch, had for decades assured the technological superiority of IWC automatic watches.
For example, this system is not subject to the familiar wear in the rotor bearings and reduction gear of other designs. The rotor itself is even spring mounted. The Pellaton winding mechanism is thus regarded as being unmatched to this day thanks to its robustness, ease of servicing and efficiency.
That is not all, however: a new addition to the calibre 5000 family is the layout of the spring, the barrel and the entire design of the full seven-day power reserve. All the parts, on which such spring forces act, are dimensioned accordingly.
A long self-contained power reserve of this kind necessarily includes a clear power reserve display on the dial. This incorporates a special IWC feature: an integrated differential drive mechanism with a mechanical stop device arrests the movement before the force of the spring runs down fully, more specifically after precisely 168 hours or seven days.
The watch could, in fact, continue to run for more than one extra day with the remaining spring energy. But it will be stopped after a week, if no kinetic energy is supplied to it, to ensure that the accuracy remains stable from the first to the last minute. Behind this intricate design lies the horological consideration that the physically unavoidable and unfavourable end torque of the mainspring must not be permitted to make its effect felt in this way. The power of IWC can thus be translated as: 168 hours’ accuracy.
Additional details, such as the screw balance with its Breguet spring, adjustment cams on the balance limbs and 18 000 semi oscillations, also identify this advanced school of precision watchmaking. A particularly intricate means of precision adjustment was adopted from the old “Ingenieur” watch.
Even the escapement of this horological oversize calibre originates from the Mark XI which, as an official pilot’s watch, had previously passed all the quality and accuracy tests of the Royal Air Force for a “Navigator Wrist Watch”. All of this together endows the Big Pilot’s Watch with effortless chronometer accuracy. Without a certificate.
The design of the movement of this pilot’s watch was extended to include a date display at “6 o’clock” with quick changing in a forward direction and the central seconds hand that is essential for aeronautical use, the drive for which does not lie directly in the power flux of the train. Consideration was also given to small and important details: on the seventh day of operation of the power reserve or, to put it another way, after 165 hours, the date changes three hours before the movement is stopped mechanically, so that the change sequence continues to take place with entire reliability.
Optimal protection against magnetic fields for the movement
Professionalism in the case of the Big Pilot’s Watch naturally also includes optimal protection against magnetic fields, which extends far beyond the standard of 4800 A/m for antimagnetic watches. The Big Pilot’s Watch has been tested up to 32 000 A/m – while still retaining full efficiency.
In order to achieve these fantastic values, use is made of a soft iron inner case of the kind already utilized by IWC in pilot’s watches in 1940, in the first “big” pilot’s watch, which provides all-round screening for the movement. This naturally also had its effect on the case dimensions. The dial, movement ring and a double back are all made from this ferromagnetic material, which absorbs all magnetic fields which may influence the watch and in so doing keeps them from the actual movement mechanism.
The small date window is the only remaining minimal point of entry for magnetic forces. IWC had also attempted, in its early Ingenieur models, to close this opening with date display rings made of soft iron. However, the resulting new problems (weight) encountered when changing the date were not in an acceptable proportion to the additional protection afforded.
The soft iron cage and the associated extreme protection against magnetic fields is no “ideological” whim of the IWC engineers, but has since become a quality feature of all particularly durable watch production. This was an absolute must in the confined surroundings of the cockpits of older aircraft in particular with their numerous electrical devices. In our everyday lives, in which we are surrounded by more or less strong magnetic fields from countless electrical devices, such screening of the watch movements is an important condition for accurate running.
All technical features of this watch thus adhere uncompromisingly to a single requirement: airworthiness. And this means robustness, reliability and full functionality, including under the most unfavourable conditions. The dial and indices are coated with Superluminova.
The sapphire glass is specially protected against a sudden drop in air pressure and is anti-reflecting, in order to ensure legibility of the watch under all conditions. In a modern interpretation of the specification, a top-class pilot’s watch includes the aforementioned date display with quick setting, large seconds hand, screw-in back, screw-in crown and tested water-resistance to 60 metres.
The Big Pilot’s Watch from IWC has a similarly named predecessor with a wartime past. It is a legend among connoisseurs, because between 1940 and 1945 there were only a few hundred of these watches in their grey stainless steel case with the modified, gold-plated precision calibre 52 S.C. (for Centre Seconde) pocket watch movement.
This “oversize device” produced for the German Air Force according to the criteria for military observation watches (B watches) was, with a case diameter of 55 mm, a height of 16.5 mm and a weight of 183 grams, the largest “wristwatch” ever produced by IWC.
Its long leather strap allowed it to be worn by the pilot in an easily readable position on top of his flying suit. And the above-mentioned principle of a movement completely encapsulated in soft iron was used here for the first time in a wristwatch. Yet it was neither water resistant nor shock-proof.
The Big Pilot’s Watch adheres to the tradition of the navigation watches and observation watches in pocket watch format for navigational purposes (calibre 52, calibre 67, and calibre 71) that were already being produced by IWC for the German and British Admiralties at the start of the twentieth century.
Its characteristic protection against magnetic fields also has its roots in early railway watches and, in particular, a pocket watch with a soft iron inner case first produced for the Berlin tramways between ca. 1920 and1930. As a pilot’s watch with particular specifications it can be traced back to the first pilot’s watch, the Mark IX from1930, and naturally to the first “big” pilot’s watch, several hundred examples of which were supplied to the German Air Force from 1940 onwards.
Of the 1200 calibre 52 S.C. (for Centre Seconde) movements produced, a proportion was fitted in an additional oversize observation watch and a smaller number in pocket watches for military use. This “navigation watch” (observation watch, Class I) produced by IWC in line with military criteria, each of which was subjected to individual testing at the German Marine Observatory, was the first IWC wristwatch to incorporate a ferromagnetic inner case as protection against magnetic fields.
The case dimensions (diameter 55 mm, height16.5 mm) conformed to the requirements of the military procurement office. Apart from IWC, only A. Lange & Söhne, LACO, STOWA and Wempe manufactured this particularly demanding type of pilot’s watch.
A movement component with a critical role in the escapement of the 2002 the Big Pilot’s Watch was also adopted by the next generation of post-war pilot’s watches (Mark XI): this was the screw balance with adjusting cams and Breguet balance spring beating at 18 000 semi oscillations. The Mark XI (1948-1984) has passed all the “navigator’s wrist watch” tests with flying colours.
Significant references to the past are combined in the Big Pilot’s Watch and are associated in particular with the development of a distinctive automatic movement at the end of the forties by the Technical Director of IWC at the time, Albert Pellaton. His patented design for a winding mechanism operating via a cam disc, ruby ferrules and click springs established the 85 family of calibres, which continued to be improved and developed until the mid seventies culminating in the legendary calibre 8541.
This watch drive mechanism helped the Ingenieur range in particular, but also the Yacht Club and other models, to achieve considerable success. The revival of this patented and proven mechanism, exclusively identifiable with IWC, was an important objective of the new family of calibres developed by IWC.
Produced in a stainless steel and a limited series of a 500 pieces in platinum.
Model: IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch Ref. 5002
Professional pilot’s watch with automatic movement, patented Pellaton winding mechanism, barrel drum for a theoretical 8.5 day power reserve after being fully wound, with power reserve display, date, hour, minute and large seconds hands, mechanical stopping of the movement after 168 hours, or 7 days, to prevent variations in the escapement caused by the effect of the end torque of the spring. Reference: 5002, The Big Pilot’s Watch of IWC
IWC calibre 5011, year of manufacture 2001
Movement dimensions: 38.2 mm x 7.44 mm at the centre
Number of parts: 334 component parts in 53 sub-assemblies
Number of functional jewels: 44 functional synthetic rubies, including 35 different jewel bearings. Train: 57 interconnections, special feature. Seconds wheel situated beneath the escape wheel, and the train with one additional wheel (eight-day wheel) compared with a conventional train; indirect large seconds and indirect minute, i.e. the drive for both pinions does not take place in the direct power flux of the train.
Spring barrel: barrel made of Aluminium S-Korofestal (AIMgSi1), artificially aged, anodized, teeth screwed on separately, mainspring with bridle made of Nivaflex1, spring barrel – minute wheel multiplication 1:15, spring barrel ca. 13.6 revolutions when fully wound. One revolution of the spring barrel = 15 hours power reserve. Theoretical power reserve: 13.6 x15 hours = 204 hours (8.5 days). Ca. 12rotor revolutions = 1 hour power reserve.
Power reserve display: differential gears with inputs for winding up and running down and output for power reserve display. Mechanical stopping of the movement after 168 hours (7 days).
Winding mechanism: Pellaton pawl winding system, identical with the winding mechanism used in IWC calibre8541, via a spring-mounted rotor, cam disc, ruby ferrules and 2 pawls on a pawl wheel; reduction: 175:1.
Escapement: two-armed screw balance with 16 adjusting screws and 2 adjusting cams on the balance arms (IWC special feature), in the form of a “sage leaf” (or bird’s tongue) arm. Balance wheel, pallet fork and escape wheel identical with IWC 89 calibre. Nivarox 1 balance spring with Breguet curve, “chronometer” quality,18 000 semi oscillations: per hour 18 000 A/h= 2.5 Hertz (Hz).
Shock-absorber: Incabloc system
IWC precision adjustment: stud carrierand regulator stem are adjusted with cams, identically with IWC calibre 8541.
Date: conventional jump-type date change(ca. 1 hour), quick change forwards via crown, last date change is possible until in conjunction with the movement running down after 165 hours.
Movement decoration: bridges and bottom plate nickel-plated, engraving gold plated, decoration of the “circular rib” type, bridge edges diamond-cut, typical IWC rotor (without gold medallion) with gold-plated “Probus Scafusia” engraving, main plain edges, crown wheels, ratchet wheel, spring barrel cover and differential wheel with sun pattern finish.
Special steel with screw-in back, anti-reflecting sapphire glass
Case variant: Platinum with screw-in back and anti-reflecting sapphire glass
Protection against magnetic fields: soft iron inner case (dial, movement ring and inner back), effectiveness up to 32 000 A/m without loss of function tested by the Straumann Institute (standard value for antimagnetic watches: 4800 A/m).
Crown: screw-in, especially user-friendly crown for winding the movement (after stopping), date change forwards and hand setting with seconds stop function.
Security: minimum water-resistance up to 6 bar = 60 metres, shock resistance to NIHS standard.
matt black, Arabic numerals, white indices, luminous, executed in Superluminova C1 (dark blue dial for the platinum variant).
Hands: original arrow shape of the first“big” pilot’s watch from 1940, skeletonized, inlaid with Superluminova C1.
Buffalo, dark brown, with rivets as in the first “big” pilot’s watch strap from 1940, (Platinum: buffalo, dark blue, without rivets), in each case with secure button closure.
Total weight of the watch with strap and button closure
– Stainless steel model: ca. 150 grams
– Platinum model: ca. 220 grams.
Stainless steel version: unlimited
Platinum variant: 500 pieces.
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