The Big Pilot is IWC's self-proclaimed "flagship watch", so I was expecting a lot. Was I disappointed? Let's find out...
Firstly, it feels exceptionally well made. The crisp edges of the case, and the machining of the crown are something to behold, as is the dial which benefits from the exceptional anti-reflective coating on both sides of the crystal - it almost looks like there is no crystal it times! The leather strap is also very nice - great quality leather and seems to be lightly rubber-sealed underneath which presumably keeps the stinky sweat out!
I mentioned the dial earlier and I'll go back to that now - it's exceptionally clear and the contrasting white on black really stands out, with the hint of red in the power reserve adding a welcome splash of colour. The hands are fantastic - white lume surrounded by black borders that pretty much fade into the dial, meaning the white lume really stands out and the sharp edges give a real feeling of the hour and minute hands pointing EXACTLY where they should be. I'll mention the second hand shortly.
And so to the movement. This is IWC's own in-house Calibre 51111 online casino movement. Its's a pretty low-beat movement at only 21,600 beats per hour. This low-beat tempo combined with the needle-like centre seconds hand really gives the watch an old-school feel and I can only imagine it is fairly true to the effect of the 1940 original. It's fantastic to watch it bump bump bump it's way round the dial. As with the hour and minute hands the sharp end of the seconds hand really gives a feeling of precision. The movement is capable of an 8.5 day power reserve, although impressively IWC have included a mechanism to stop the watch when it has 1.5 days power left in order to improve accuracy. I like that they didn't push for useless power-reserve bragging rights to the detriment of timekeeping (which has pursbonus.net so-far been superb). Winding the BP is a pleasure in itself. The diamond crown makes it very easy and the movement feels very smooth as the pressure builds in the power reserve, going from 0 to 7 days very quickly. It should also be noted that IWC include a soft iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields - not a highly publicised feature but good to know and potentially handy to have.
So far I haven't mentioned it's size. There's no denying, guys, that this is one big watch. 46.2mm is a substantial number when compared to most watches out there, but what you have to remember is that its all dial, with little extending beyond the case other than the diamond crown. I'd say it wears slightly larger than a 44mm Panerai Luminor, but even on my fairly meagre 7.25" wrists I'm very happy with how it looks and feels. I've got an aged ammo-style strap hopefully turning up in the next couple of days, so it will be interesting to see how that works with the BP. I think it will be great, dressing it down and harking back to it's original use as an ultimate tool watch.
So overall, it's a cracker.