Review: 1:1 UK Luxury Replica IWC’s Big Pilot Watches Is a Purpose-Built Aviation Instrument-Turned Luxury Timepiece

They say “necessity is the mother of invention,” and few realms better encapsulate this notion better than pilot’s watch space — a horological segment largely kickstarted and supercharged by the onset of the Second World War. And you really can’t discuss today’s pantheon of iconic best UK replica watches born out of WW2 without mentioning IWC’s legendary Big Pilot’s Watch. A horological staple through and through, the Big Pilot’s Watch has steadily grown and evolved over the last eight-and-a-half decades — first debuting in 1940 with the Big Pilot’s Watch Calibre 52 T.S.C. before later being revived in 2002 in the form of the Big Pilot ref. IW5002. In an effort to discover what exactly makes it so special, we’ve gotten hands-on with the latest iteration of model with the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Reference IW5010-01 — getting the timepiece on-wrist, putting it through its paces, and unpacking how this aviation-style item achieved its iconic status. 

Unpacking An Icon

When first removing the cheap fake IWC Big Pilot’s Watches from its box, the first thing that jumps out at you is it size — a fact that’s frankly unsurprising considering the watch’s monicker — as its case clocks in at 46.2mm across and sports a 57-mm lug-to-lug. Also jumping out at its observer is the watch’s bold numerals, hour markers, and a beefy hand-set, which collectively make for a super legible dial that can easily and immidiately be read upon just a quick glance. In a tool watch-esque fashion, the Big Pilot’s Watch also sports a purposeful and utilitarian aesthetic that still maintains an air of elegance and minimalism. Despite this utilitarian and purpose-built nature, the Big Pilot’s Watch boasts a level of craftsmanship, build quality, and overall fit and finish that’s indicative of a genuine Swiss-made luxury timepiece with a five-figure MSRP. Every millimeter of the watch has been painstakingly considered, with every hour marker and numeral being perfectly applied and every surface of the case being meticulously finished. 

Oversized By Design

Water resistant down to 200 feet, the top UK replica IWC Big Pilot’s Watches’ case consists of a 46.2mm item crafted from stainless steel. Measuring 15.6mm thick, the case features a simple design that’s been complemented via an all-brushed finish and an onion-style screw-down crown with a contrasting mirror-polished finish. Using a chamfered design, the case is able to afford immense durability while still allowing the crystal and its underlying dial to run nearly from case edge to case edge. The bottom of the case has been capped off with a screw-down stainless steel case back decorated in an engraved image of the Junkers JU-52 — also known as the “Iron Annie.”

Legibility To The Extreme

The latest iteration of the Big Pilot’s Watch features a dial that’s highly-reminiscent of IWC’s early Fliegers, albeit with a few contemporary tweaks. Fortified beneath a dual-AR-coated convex Sapphire crystal, the dial features a dauphine-style hand-set and painted indices at each hour that are each separated by five minute markers — all of which are done in white, juxtaposing the black dial base. Above the center of the dial is a classic IWC Schaffhausen logo while below it is the word “Automatic.” The words “Swiss Made” are also separated by the high quality copy watches‘ 6 o’clock hour marker. Bold white numerals occupy the space at every hour, save for 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, and 6 o’clock. In the place of these numbers is a dotted high-noon triangle, a power reserve gauge with a matching dauphine-style hand, and a date window. 

Best-In-Class Internals

Keeping the entire thing ticking is IWC’s own in-house-developed and manufactured Calibre 52010 movement. Comprised of 252 components in total, this in-house automatic movement massively benefits from the use of Albert Pellaton’s automatic winding system which has been upgraded through the use of new ceramic components. In addition to sporting 31 jewels and a 4hz beat rate, this movement also boasts a best-in-class power reserve of 168 hours (or 7 full days) — a meter for which is found on the dial at 3 o’clock. What’s more, the 52010 is also fortified against displacement brought on by a drop in air pressure, plus features a soft-iron inner case that helps to protect the movement from magnetic fields — the latter of which is a trait carried over from the original Swiss movements replica IWC Big Pilot’s Watches which needed to stand-up to the strong electro-magnetic fields created by WW2 era aircraft engines. With that said, the timepiece’s protection from magnetic fields continues to be a practical and worthwhile amenity, as magnetic fields are practically omnipresent today, being emitted by everything from kitchen appliances to radio transmitters to modern smartphones. 

Dual-Rivet Icon

From its tool watch-esque case to its super-legible dial, IWC’s Big Pilot’s fake watches for men maintains an unmistakably spartan overall aesthetic and theme, and this motif is carried over to the timepiece’s strap. Measuring 22mm, the strap is a robust item that’s cut from black calfskin leather and fitted with twin rivets positioned above and below the lugs — a subtle design element but also one that, when combined with the Big Pilot’s Watch’s oversized case, makes for an instantly-recognizable watch, even when viewed from across the room. As a high-end five-figure watch, it also probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that the strap has been outfitted with custom IWC-branded stainless buckle hardware matching the main case.

Reaching A Conclusion

The original WW2 era IWC Pilot’s Watch was a clear example of form following function. Though no longer used for or aimed at flying, the AAA replica watches still embodies the original elements that aviation necessitated that lead to the original watch’s design. Both the super bold numerals and markers on the dial and the massive oversized 55mm case made the original 1940 model insanely easy to read even during the extreme vibrations and conditions that came with piloting a WW2 era aircraft or fighter. And while the latest iteration of this iconic aviation timepiece is some 10mm smaller than the original, it nonetheless still embodies these initial design traits — along with much of the spirit and feel of the Big Pilot’s Watch Calibre 52 T.S.C. from 1940. Sure, it doesn’t offer the best bang-for-your-buck, though that’s clearly not what IWC set out to achieve when bringing this watch to market.

Not only does it do a phenomenal job of keeping one foot firmly planted in the past, with an authentic design that largely mimics the ‘40s era original, but it also manages to usher in a few modern — and decidedly top-shelf features, capabilities, and amenities in the form of a cutting-edge in-house-made automatic movement, a massive power reserve, and the use of a contemporary dual AR-coated convex sapphire. Despite these additions, the thing can still instantly be recognized as IWC’s Big Pilot’s super clone watches online site — resulting in a legendary retro-inspired pilot’s watch design that’s been co-opted into a modern luxury timepiece that’s as iconic as it is instantly-identifiable. 

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