IWC Schaffhausen launches a Big Pilot's Watch Edition "Patrouille Suisse"
September 9, 2015: Watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen is paying tribute to Patrouille Suisse with a special edition for 2015. The pilots of the Swiss Air Force display team have been wowing international air show crowds for decades with precision and perfection of their formation flying. And so, IWC is recognizing the exceptional flyers of the Swiss aerobatics squadron with a Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse”, a special version of the iconic watch first produced in 1940 which will be limited to 250 watches.
This special edition is presented in grey with a case of blasted stainless steel. The 51011 calibre – the largest automatic movement manufactured in-house by IWC Schaffhausen – combines all the features that have proved their worth in the history of IWC. Within no time at all, the spring-mounted rotor and Pellaton pawl-winding system build up a power reserve of over 7 days, and after exactly 168 hours the movement is mechanically stopped by an ingenious train in the power reserve. Stopping the movement before all the tension in the spring has been exhausted eliminates the danger of diminishing torque in the mainspring. This ensures the same level of accuracy the whole time the watch is running. The power reserve display at “3 o’clock” provides a reliable indication of the time remaining until the movement comes to a stop. A special feature of the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition “Patrouille Suisse” is the small seconds at “9 o’clock”. The date display is at “6 o’clock” as usual. The 46-mm case encloses a soft-iron cage that protects the movements against extreme magnetic fields.
The arrowhead index at “12 o’clock” and the bold, luminescent numerals and hands guarantee perfect legibility of time. The Big Pilot’s Watch is the only model made by IWC Schaffhausen to feature an imposing crown, a reminder of days when pilots were exposed to the elements in unheated – or even open – cockpits. To combat this they wore thick gloves with their quilted flying suits, which made it difficult for them to wind and set their watches. Hence the need for an unusually large, chunky crown. The current stainless- steel variant is rounded off by an anthracite-coloured wrist- band of embossed calfskin with a folding clasp.
The case back features an engraving of three jet planes resembling the Northrop F-5E Tiger II – the planes the Patrouille Suisse pilots use to perform their aerial displays. The inscription “Tribute to Patrouille Suisse” and the consecutive numbering on the case back indicate the exclusivity of this special limited edition.