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2007 IWC Big Pilots Watch

Story and History

2007 IWC Big Pilots Watch

Grosse Fliegeruhr - The Big Pilot Watch

The Grosse Fliegeruhr was a military issue watch for use by Aviators and were issued for the Luftwaffe

The large cased watches were referred to as “Nav B-Uhr” or “Beobachtungsuhr” (Navigation Watch)

This specification of watch supplied to the Luftwaffe was dictated by the RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium), the German Ministry of Aviation (the RLM operated from 1933 – 1945).

Five manufacturers made watches to the specification dictated by the RLM; Lange & Söhne, Laco (Lacher & Co), Stowa (Walter Storz), Wempe and IWC

The watches had a case diameter of 55mm, were marked on the back with FL23883 and were equipped with large winding crowns to facilitate operation whilst wearing gloves

Additional features included a hacking movement (ability to stop the second hand when pulling out the crown), Breguet balance spring, chronometer certification and a long leather strap to allow the watch to be worn over a flying suit

The strap typically featured two decorative rivets on each side, near the shoulders of the watch case (four in total)

The watch was fitted with an anti-magnetic casing to protect the movement against magnetic fields. A triangular shaped index at 12 O'clock would feature on the dial with two dots either side, as required by the RLM

IWC decided to re-launch the original concept although with an eye on use by the normal watch lover rather than a military airman - hence the case size was reduced to 46mm and a date was located at 6 o'clock and a Power Reserve at 3 o'clock

The strap was Crocodile and the enormous Onion Crown was obviously kept at the original size giving the modern wristwatch that distinctive look


Stainless steel case

Diameter 46.2 mm

Height 15.6 mm

Screw in crown

Water resistance 6 bar


51111 Calibre

IWC-manufactured movement

Automatic, self-winding

168 hours Power Reserve

Frequency 28800.0 vph (4.0 hz)

42 Jewels

Côtes de Genève, perlage


Soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields

7 days power reserve

Power reserve display

Date display

Glass secured against displacement by drop in air pressure

Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides

Pellaton automatic winding

Central hacking seconds

This example as first delivered in 2007 and remains in remarkable condition

Original box & papers, deployment clasp and IWC crocodile strap

A really striking timepiece and one of my favourites

New price today £11.450


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