IWC continues the ralationship between Antoine St. Exupéry and the “Le Petit Prince” story at this year’s SIHH crop. Over 4 “Le Petit Prince” models were announced. And this the Annual Calendar is the one of the most stunnin gwatches.
The case is the classical IWC Big Pilot with the characteristic big crown. Crafted in red gold, the case is nicely finished, with the case middle receiving a matt brushed treatment to contrast with the polished bezel. The bezel is rather small, and allows the dial to shine.
And shine it does. The dial is large, legible and very clear in its appliqués markings providing a good contrast. The dial carries the now signature “Le Petit Prince” midnight blue hue, which is mesmerizing.
The annual calendar indicators are shown in windows on the dial, arranged as a fan across the top half of the dial. This layout is logical, and the full calendar can be easily and legibly read on the dial. The power reserve sub dial at 3 o’clock nicely balances with the seconds hands at 9.
Instead of the regular gold IWC medallion reading Probus Scafusia in the Portugieser, the Big Pilot movement carries the image of the little prince staring in amazement at the sky. He stands on a tiny planet, which in its entirety forms the rotor and revolves eccentrically around its axis. The prince and his planet are made of solid red gold. This imagery is taken from St. Exupéry’s own sketches, and is an endearing tribute.
The movement has a 7 day power reserve, and carries the annual calendar module. The annual calendar displays the month, the date and the day of the week in three separate windows on the dial. The mechanism automatically takes the length of individual months into account, but not the two differing lengths of the month of February or the leap years. Once a year, therefore, at the end of February, it requires manual correction via the crown.
The IWC Big Pilot Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” does not make any horology breakthroughs. Neither will it boast of technical prowess that its competitors can offer. But it offers something more sublime. Something that only IWC can offer in a watch. It offers the linkage to Antoine St. Exupéry’s “Le Petit Prince”. More than that, it offers the magnificent midnight blue dial, and the imagery of the little prince on his planet as the rotor. It offers poetry and technology, writing and flying. These being two sides of the same coin.