This is one of those watches that makes so much sense I’m amazed it didn’t exist until now. But before we dive into the details of the IWC Big Pilot Edition ‘Right-Hander’, let’s step back and have a quick recap on the Big Pilot.
The Big Pilot is a watch with two distinct histories. The first iteration of this story was the original watch, made as a navigational tool for wartime use. In this context, size = clarity and reliability. The civilian story of the Big Pilot begins in 2002, with the reference 5002. IWC’s revival of their historic design was perfectly pitched for the times, as big watches were all the rage, but few had the presence of IWC’s 46mm aviator.
Seventeen years on and the Big Pilot is a staple of IWC’s lineup, offered in many material, complication and dial configurations over the years. But never — until now — a right-handed version. Quick primer on right and left-handed watches. Watches are intended to be worn on the less dominant hand, which, for most people, is the left. Ergonomics and good design dictates that a watch worn on the left hand should have its crown on the right side, ensuring ease of access. Conversely, a watch intended for left-handed people is worn on the right wrist, with a crown on the left-hand side. Or so the theory goes. Now, no one is forcing anyone to wear the IWC Big Pilot Edition ‘Right-Hander’ on the right hand, and I would say that the offside crown position makes sound sense for people who wear the watch on the left. Because — and I don’t know if you got this memo — the crown on the Big Pilot is BIG, originally intended to be operated through thick flying gloves. What this means in real life is that it can occasionally get in the way, or even dig into the wrist. By moving it to the left it can make for a more comfortable wearing experience, and still have that big presence. Smart play, IWC.
The crown isn’t the only cool difference about the IWC Big Pilot Edition ‘Right-Hander’; the slate-coloured dial glimmers in the light, and the dark, panda-like (or perhaps Koala, given the colour scheme) subdials for the mighty seven-day power reserve and running seconds provides some subtle contrast. Otherwise, the dial details of this 46.2mm wide by 15.6mm tall watch are pretty familiar: broad hands and clean Arabic numerals. The caseback is also clean, and solid — providing an effective Faraday cage around the big, automatic calibre 52010.
The final point of difference on this boutique-only piece is that for the first three months of its release (from August), it’s available exclusively in Australian (and French) boutiques and authorised retailers — so if you’re a left-hander with a love of the Big Pilot (or a right-hander, I don’t think they’ll check), find your nearest boutique of authorised dealer here.
IWC Big Pilot Edition ‘Right-Hander’ ref. IW501012 price and availability
IWC Big Pilot Edition ‘Right-Hander’, limited to 250 pieces worldwide, available exclusively in Australia and France from August 2019 til October 2019, $21,200
Made in partnership with IWC. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.