The importance of IWC's Pilot collection is accentuated this week, as a variety of novelties on the theme are presented. The 2021 collection focuses on 41 and 43 mm, a perpetual calendar, sand-coloured ceramic and a ground-breaking Shock Absorber. Let us examine a few of the beauties of this year.
The eye-catching "Mojave Desert" comes on the radar first, as it adds a more military look to the Big Pilot series. Available as a perpetual calendar (ref. IW503004) and as a regular Big Pilot (ref. IW506003) the Mojave Deserts look really cool. The so-called Engineering Ceramic case is made of is among the hardest substances on earth, and has a Vickers rating second only to diamond. The sand-coloured cases look pure and raw, completely in sync with the "tool" purpose of the watches.
The perpetual calendar is of course the higher complication, powered by the in-house 52615 calibre. The mechanical program is leading back to Kurt Klaus his invention from the 1980s, and with the Pellaton winding system the in-house IWC signature is complete. Just 150 pieces will be produced per year.
The new 41mm ref. IW3881 series join the line-up as fresh new iterations of what can be considered the entry-level models. Both in size and price attractive, the looks remain all the way as you would expect from this classic. The new blue and green dials, available both with calfskin strap or stainless steel bracelet, makes the watch visually up to date, as does of course the in-house 69385 calibre, visible through the case-back. Starting at euro 6,850 the ref. 3881 is a very interesting alternative for the usual sports watches as well.
The eye-catcher of this year took 8 years of development, and here IWC pushes the boundaries of shock protection. The Big Pilot's Watch Shock Absorber XPL (ref. IW357201) has the patented Sprin-G PROTECT system, and without going too much into technicalities, it is worth mentioning that this system protects the movement in accellerations up to 30,000 Gs, more than sufficient to handle the G-forces in a fighter jet cockpit.
With the looks IWC goes full stealth. While the XPL in the name stands for "Experimental" and refers to the brands' experimental engineering division, the looks of the watch make perfectly clear that this is not a regular model. Only 10 pieces per year and 30 in total will be made of this complicated piece.
The new pilots have landed, and in 2021 IWC has strenghtened their Pilot watches over the full spectre, making a firm statement of the importance of the Pilot watch for the brand, and importance of IWC for pilot watches..