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Watch Review

The IWC Big Pilot’s Simonetta Orsini “Buenos Aires”

Paul Altieri

With a history that dates back to the 1940s, the Big Pilot’s Watch is a well-known aviation-inspired timepiece from IWC. As one of IWC’s most important watch models, there have been countless versions of the Big Pilot’s Watch over the course of its history. Today we’ll be looking at a limited edition equipped with a perpetual calendar complication: IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Simonetta Orsini “Buenos Aires.”

IWC Big Pilot Buenos Aires
The IWC Big Pilot Buenos Aires is a limited edition with only 40 available pieces.

Design: IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar “Buenos Aires”

Living up to its “Big Pilot’” name, the stainless steel case of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar “Buenos Aires” ref. IW502619 measures a very large 46 mm in diameter, complete with the oversized 11 mm fluted winding crown. This rendition is a completely different take with IWC’s Miramar, a vintage-inspired watch. It’s also a thick timepiece with a height that spans 16 mm tall. Despite its immense size, this Big Pilot’s Watch wears comfortably thanks in part to the curved lugs that hug the wrist.

Limited to just 40 pieces the watch includes a “Buenos Aires” engraving on the rotor signaling that it was exclusively made to be sold by Simonetta Orsini in Argentina.

The steel case is fitted with a black leather strap, which is folded and secured with large steel rivets, adding to the robust style of the watch. To keep the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar “Buenos Aires” ref. IW502619 secure on the wrist, the leather band includes a stainless steel deployant clasp.

At the center of the black dial with white markings and pops of blue accents are the large and luminescent sword-style hour and minute hands. The size of the watch allows for an expansive dial, which packs plenty of information for the wearer. Not only does the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch ref. IW502619 feature day, date, month, year, and moonphase indicators, but also, as a perpetual calendar, these functions automatically adjust until 2100—an impressive feat for a mechanical movement! Along with the calendar displays, the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar also has a power reserve indicator and a running seconds dial, tucked within the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock registers, respectively.

IWC Big Pilot Buenos Aires
Here is the view of the IWC Big Pilot Buenos Aires from the back.

Movement: IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar “Buenos Aires”

Flip the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar around and you’ll see the Caliber 51614 working away beneath the sapphire exhibition caseback. This movement makes use of IWC’s signature Pellaton automatic winding system—a more efficient design that winds up the mainspring when the rotor swings in either direction rather than just one direction.

Flaunting an impressive 7-day power reserve, the automatic Caliber 51614 is ultra user-friendly since everything is set via the winding crown. What’s more, in addition to its impressive mechanical mastery, the Caliber 51614 is also beautifully finished with the coveted circular Côtes de Genève decoration. Also, note the skeletonized rotor that gives an even better view of the gears and components that make up the movement.

The watch combines the vintage-inspired looks of IWC’s flagship aviation watch collection with the high horology perpetual calendar complication, all kept within a very limited 40-piece production run. A model made for discerning enthusiasts of high-end watchmaking, this is one very special edition of the popular IWC Big Pilot’s Watch.

Paul Altieri