IWC BIG PILOT CHRONOGRAPH
REF. 500201. Made circa 2000. Large centre-seconds, self winding stainless steel aviator's wristwatch. 7 Day power reserve and date.
Price (2004): $8,000
Price (2014): $9,000
The Picollecta Rare Watch Index tracks the value of popular collectible watches that are regularly traded around the world, using analysis of auctions and private sales, in addition to expert opinion.
Values shown are reflective of a very good/excellent condition example – unless otherwise stated.
International Watch Co (IWC) is a Swiss manufacturer based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, noted for being the only major factory in eastern Switzerland, with most in the west of the country.
The company was founded by American watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841-1916), former director of E Howard & Co, in 1868. He hoped to capitalise on cheap labour and supply in Switzerland, combining this with modern technology for the US.
In 1880, the company was taken over by Johann Rauschenbach-Vogel, and has passed owned through four generations of the Rauschenbach family since. The last of his heirs, Hans Ernst Homberger, died in 1986.
Interestingly, one of IWC's former part owners was the psychiatrist Carl Jung, who married Emma Rauschenbach and was a regular fixture at the factory.
Notable developments at IWC include the first digital watch in 1885. The company was also involved in the development of the Beta 21 quartz movement in 1969.
The company is noted for keeping detailed records of every single watch that has left the factory since 1885, with the information – including details of the calibre, materials and cases - readily available to collectors at a small fee.
IWC has held annual auctions of a unique horological item via an online auction since 2007, with proceeds donated to various charitable sources.
Included was a one-off IWC Big Pilot Chronograph with decoration relating to Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, which was sold to benefit the Ecole des Sables – Antoine de Saint Exupéry school in Mali.
IWC Big Pilot's Watch
First created in 1940, the Big Pilot's Watch is one of the company's flagships.
Featuring a 51111-calibre movement, the largest ever made by IWC, it easily builds up a power reserve of over seven days. It's large design is intended to offer maximum visibility to pilot, with an anti-magnetic mechanism to protect the movement against magnetic fields.
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