Flight has always replica watches been one of the main arteries in the field of watchmaking. As collectors, we fantasize about tying a reliable watch to our wrist and facing the sky on a great adventure: the watch, our noble companion who keeps us on track. One way IWC recognizes this and honors tradition with its Le Petit Prince collection. Named after the famous novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of this aviation pioneer, this line of watches features a midnight blue dial. Fresh for SIHH 2019 IWC has announced the next chapter of the Le Petit Prince line with the IWC Big Pilot's Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "Le Petit Prince" (reference IW590303).
This watch will feature a constant force tourbillon in the IWC Manufacture Caliber 94805, which we saw used in a Portugieser here. This is the brand's solution to a centuries-old problem; as a watch's mainspring unwinds, the force applied to the escapement decreases causing a difference in amplitude and, ultimately, in accuracy. This patented constant force tourbillon solves this problem by separating the escapement from the dial train and measuring the tension applied to the balance spring. The result is a uniform dispersion of force on the escape wheel, nullifying the effect of gravity and providing remarkable accuracy, says the brand. The tourbillon is visible at 9 o'clock on the dial ticking at 2.5Hz. The hand-wound movement boasts a power reserve of 96 hours (or 4 days) indicated on the dial between 4 and 5 o'clock, and a perpetual moon phase display at one o'clock with the Petite Prince character perched on his planet instead of a Moon.
In addition to the noteworthy movement features, this new Le Petit Prince is also the first watch from IWC to come in a "hard gold" case. Hard gold is a new 18kt red gold alloy that has been formulated to be 5-10 times more wear resistant - somewhat reminiscent of Hublot's "Magic Gold" we reviewed and tested here. It's common for brands to introduce something like a new special material in a halo piece like this one, but we can definitely expect it to be used in more affordable watches soon - relatively affordable, that is, given it's still 18kt gold, we're talking of. As with replica watches uk other Big Pilots, this version is 46.2mm wide and 13.5mm thick, while the caseback features a sapphire display to view the ornate bridges and get some glimpses of the gear train (the real star of the show is the tourbillon right there on the dial).
The IWC Big Pilot's Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "Le Petit Prince" will be released in a 10-piece edition, so in all likelihood I'll never see one of these in metal. This does not prevent me from being able to appreciate the technological achievements of IWC. The tourbillon has been around for just over two centuries at this point, but the collaboration between the constant force mechanism and 96-hour power reserve is remarkable in itself. As for the "hard gold" case, we'll have to see how it performs, but if it works as it should in terms of wear resistance, it will be a useful addition. The IWC Big Pilot's Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "Le Petit Prince" will be available in an edition of 10 for CHF 235,000 each, and more details will certainly be released in January at SIHH. For now, see more about iwc.