Video: The IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch, Then And Now

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Video: The IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch, Then And Now

Words by Mr Adam Welch

3 March 2020

Anyone familiar with the wares of Schaffhausen’s International Watch Company will no doubt recognise the Big Pilot’s watch, a flagship model with a military heritage that stretches back to WWII. Fewer, however, will be intimately aware of the design’s subtle evolution over time or the way in which its original codes – the black dial, the minimal typography, the onion crown – changed the visual direction of watches for ever. To tell this story more fully, we decided to do a little archive digging and compare one of the 1,000 original ref IW431 pilot’s watches produced by IWC in 1940 with today’s Big Pilot’s watch, examining the lineage between the vintage model and the present-day bestseller.

The result is the above film, which incidentally marks the first in our latest video series, About Time. From this point forth, we’ll be launching a new, in-depth exploration into the world of watches every fortnight across The Journal and the MR PORTER YouTube channel. Make sure you subscribe to catch them all.

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