THIS IS THE BIG PILOT: MEETING A CULTURAL ICON WITH IWC IN SHANGHAI

At this year’s Shanghai Edition of Watches and Wonders, IWC Schaffhausen is making its mark with the unveiling of several new additions to its iconic Pilot’s Watch collection, including the new flagship IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43. Visitors to the show have the opportunity to discover the Swiss luxury watchmaker’s latest models in an industrial-style shipping container booth, where cutting-edge technology brings the new editions, the Big Pilot’s story and the brand’s unique spirit to life.

Following the digital Watches and Wonders event earlier this month, the watch world is gathering in person at the West Bund Art Centre for the second Shanghai Edition from April 14th-18th. IWC Schaffhausen is presenting several new Pilot’s Watches at the event, including the flagship IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41, the Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL, the first watch to feature the brand’s patented new shock absorber system, two new Top Gun models and a Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar. Chinese media, retailers and clients have the opportunity to see the latest watches in person and take a closer look at each of the designs, which are all fitted with IWC-manufactured calibres.

“It feels great for IWC to be here at the West Bund Art Centre in Shanghai and put the new Big Pilot’s Watch 43- and all the other extraordinary models we are launching this year – into the hands of our guests. At the Watches and Wonders show, we want to inspire people to discover their big dream and give them the motivation to make it come true,” explains Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.

DISCOVER THE LATEST IWC EDITIONS FIRST HAND

A faithful interpretation of an iconic observation watch design, the new IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 features an ergonomic 43-millimetre stainless steel case. Available with either a black or blue dial, it is powered by the IWC-manufactured 82100 calibre with Pellaton winding, which is visible through a sapphire glass back. The user-friendly EasX-CHANGE strap system, as well as the comprehensive calf leather and rubber strap and stainless steel bracelet options, establishes the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 as a quintessential modern utility sports watch, ready for adventures in the air, on land and by water.

IWC is further demonstrating its high-tech capability and craftsmanship by showcasing several other exciting new timepieces at the event. The IWC Pilot’s Chronograph 41 in an ergonomic 41-millimetre case, powered by the IWC-manufactured 69385 calibre, represents the brand’s chronograph expertise. The specially formulated sand-coloured ceramic, used for the case on both models of the Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Mojave Desert Edition, is one of the hardest materials on the planet and demonstrates the brand’s know-how in materials.

IWC’s legendary perpetual calendar, developed in the 1980s by Kurt Klaus, IWC’s former head watchmaker, is showcased too, as it powers the new Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar. It works alongside the IWC- manufactured 52615 calibre and features a Pellaton winding system fitted with ceramic components. Guests can also take a closer look at IWC’s new Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL, which is the first watch to feature the brand’s patented new shock absorber system. Developed over eight years, the SPRIN-g PROTECT system is based on a cantilever spring that suspends the movement inside the case. Thanks to its perfect form and the use of Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG), the spring protects the movement against the g-forces generated during impacts on the watch.

TELLING THE BIG PILOT’S STORY: FROM FUNCTIONALITY TO CULTURAL ICON

Over the last 85 years, the classic Big Pilot’s Watch design has evolved from a functional aviation watch into a cultural icon, inspiring creators from many fields, including the arts, fashion, photography and design. With the launch of so many innovative new Big Pilot’s Watch editions this year, IWC wanted to celebrate its iconic story at Watches and Wonders in a fresh and exciting way. To do this, the Manufacture called upon a select number of friends of the brand to feature on a ‘Talent Wall’ in their booth and tell their story of pushing boundaries and redefining the status quo.

Starring in short inspirational videos, each friend of the brand shares how they made their ambitions come true and details how the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch has accompanied them as they have dreamed big on their journey to success. Friends include: Billy Monger, a racing driver, disability campaigner and challenger; Hayden Cox, a designer and advocate for sustainable surfing; Lu Yan, a womenswear designer and sustainability campaigner; Guillaume Philibert, a streetwear brand creator; Matt Pearson, the co-founder of Airspeeder; Matt Jones, a world record breaker and IWC Longest Flight pilot; Misan Harriman, a photographer, creative director and cultural 
commentator; Mark Ong, a streetwear designer and artist; Hani Rashid, an architect and educator; Alexvi, a leading fashion and portraiture photographer; and Ye Tao, an internationally-renowned dancer and choreographer who developed the “Circular Movement System”.

A PEEK INTO THE FUTURE OF WATCHMAKING

IWC also wanted to showcase its engineering spirit and high-tech expertise at the event through several new technology displays. In a world-first for watch brands, IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr is being ‘teleported’ directly from Schaffhausen to the Shanghai event. Thanks to innovative new hologram technology, a life-sized Grainger-Herr is appearing at Watches and Wonders, presenting the most important watch novelties of the year to an astonished audience and welcoming visitors to the booth. For the rest of the event, the technology is also enabling attendees to interact in real-time with watchmakers at work in the Schaffhausen manufacturing center. Elsewhere, 3D-printed models that reveal the magic of watchmaking in even its smallest details are on show. Both mechanical movement parts and the process of creating new lighter and more resilient materials, such as titanium, steel, Ceratanium®, ceramics and bronze, are being brought to life through this innovative medium.

In the Lab area of the fair, IWC is also demonstrating the innovative Cyberloupe 2.0 to those in attendance. The newly-upgraded digital watchmaker’s magnifying glass is now equipped with a completely revised design, and higher quality cameras, lenses and software that enable better and more detailed streaming quality. With the new Cyberloupe 2.0, watchmakers can share their view with other people worldwide and have any information they require displayed right in front of their eyes by scanning a QR code or opening a browser.

Besides discovering the brand’s most recent watches and latest technology, guests can also participate in hands-on IWC workshops and attend panel sessions on a wide range of topics such as auctions, collecting, or iconic designs.

Watches and Wonders Shanghai at the West Bund Art Centre remains open until April 18th. The event is by invitation only.

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