March 5, 2024
Previewing IWC Big Pilot's Watch Edition

As part of the opening of the new Rodeo Drive store, IWC of course launched a limited edition watch for the occasion with the reference IW502003 IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Boutique Rodeo Drive. Limited to 250 pieces, this is one of those limited edition models I think fans of the brand should take notice of given the design as well as the case. The last ceramic-cased IWC Big Pilot’s Watch I reviewed was this Top Gun version here. Things have changed a bit, and while the movement remains the same in-house caliber 5111, the new watch is a lot more wearable.

Previewing IWC Big Pilot's Watch Edition

It seems subtle, but the reduction in case size from 48mm wide to 46mm wide is a big deal, making the watch (at least for my wrists) actually comfortable to wear – while still obviously being a large timepiece. I wasn’t able to take many pictures at the store opening event, but I did snap the above picture of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Boutique Rodeo Drive timepiece for Instagram, which, in my opinion, helps show off its real-world presence a bit more.

I was told that this is the first ceramic and titanium (for the crown and caseback) version of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch to come in this smaller 46mm-wide size (which is 15mm thick) – and I haven’t been able to track all the sizes enough to verify that. The ceramic has an almost glossier gunmetal finish which works with the metallic blue dial very well. The white and black hands along with the hour markers stand out well, offering the same fantastic legibility everyone knows comes with IWC’s own rendition of the classic “flieger” aviation watch. Aside from the minimal extra branding on the rear of the case, there is really little to make this IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Boutique Rodeo Drive watch very “L.A.” but, as far as limited editions go, it is a very handsome and attractive addition to the brand’s larger pilot watch collection.

The in-house-made IWC caliber 5111 is an automatic with a long seven days of power reserve (operating at 3Hz) and a power reserve indicator (and the date) sharing space on the face with the main dial for the time. It offers a signature look for their stable aviation watch while also delivering a historic military pilot look people want from the model family.