A very fine, large and impressive black ceramic and titanium wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand IWC Schaffhausen, founded in 1868. Reference launched in 2019. Black hi-tech matt ceramic case, diameter 46.5mm, 15.5mm thick, titanium caseback with sapphire window, titanium winding crown. Dark blue sunburst and “sunken” dial with white luminous Arabic numerals, indexes and hands, all four sub-dials with fine circular grooves. Caliber 52615, marked with the Probus Scafusia quality seal, with Pellaton self-winding system, skeletonized rotor with Probus Scafusia solid gold medallion, power reserve up to 168 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, small seconds hand at 9 o’clock, power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock, perpetual calendar with indicators of the date at 3 o’clock, day of the week at 9 o’clock, month at 6 o’clock and 4-digit year between 7 and 8 o’clock, ‘double moon’ moonphase indicator for the Northern and Southern hemispheres at 12 o’clock. Black textured leather strap, titanium IWC Schaffhausen double folding clasp. 

Lot essay 

The perpetual calendar, a traditional watchmaking complication, is typically offered in classic style watches. IWC Schaffhausen sets itself apart from most other Swiss watch brands in that it regularly offers perpetual calendars in its vintage military-styled Big Pilot’s collection. Only three years had passed from the launch of the first Portuguese Perpetual Calendar, reference Ref. IW5021, when in 2006, based on the self-winding caliber 51612 (a slightly modified version of the Cal. 51611 previously seen in the Portuguese Perpetual Calendar), IWC released the special limited-edition Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar. This was Ref. 502605 in a 46mm platinum case, produced for Singapore jeweller Sincere Fine Watch Ltd (25 pieces). This release was closely followed by the limited-edition Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar Ref. 502606 in titanium for Cellini boutique in New York (50 pieces). In 2007, a unique stainless-steel Ref. 502602 was offered for the Only Watch charity auction. Since then, a variety of Big Pilot’s perpetual calendars have seen the light, as both limited edition and regular-production models. At the moment there are no less than 42 special and limited editions. 

Among the many designs, the present reference stands out for its unusual and very impressive and imposing combination of a large matte black ceramic case and a blue sunburst metal dial with high-contrast white luminescent markings.

In 2007, Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar watches moved to the upgraded caliber 51614 (‘double-moon’). In 2013, Ref. 5028xx models with a ‘single-moon’ indicator based on caliber 51613 were added to the models with the original double-moon design, following the appearance of the Portuguese Perpetual Calendar Ref. IW5023xx with the same ‘single-moon’ moonphase launched in 2010. Since 2012, ‘double-moon’ models have been given the new references IW5029xx. 

In 2016, a new-generation modernized caliber 52610 was developed for ‘single-moon’ models, the new versions designated as references IW5038xx. Finally, since 2019, the ‘double-moon’ Big Pilot’s perpetual calendars have been equipped with the redesigned caliber 52615, and have received the new references IW5030xx and IW5036xx, including the present reference IW503001, which happens to be the first model with the last-generation in-house movement.

The Rodeo Drive Ref. IW503001 was introduced at SIHH in 2019. The black 46.5mm ceramic case is reminiscent of the ‘Top Gun’ models, and the blue dial resembles that of the ‘Little Prince’ limited editions. The Rodeo Drive is one of the few Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar unlimited models, the first after the Big Pilot’s ‘Top Gun’ Perpetual Calendar IW502902 of 2012. Among the many designs, the present reference stands out for its unusual and very impressive and imposing combination of a large matte black ceramic case and a blue sunburst metal dial with high-contrast white luminescent markings. It should be noted that IWC still retains the original dial structure of Ref. 502605, launched in 2006, down to the smallest details. Of course, this does not apply to the colour scheme, where the brand offers many options. Therefore, Big Pilot’s perpetual calendars seem to be a very interesting collectible, complemented by the fact that this watch certainly retains and perfectly copes with the role of a luxury daily-wearer. 

Reasons to bid 

The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition Rodeo Drive Ref. IW503001 would appear to be a fine purchase for the collector looking for a complicated mechanical watch from a world-famous watch brand, one of the market leaders in calendar wristwatches. IWC Schaffhausen calendar wristwatches, whose history began in 1985, are an excellent collectible. The present lot represents the current page in the development of the brand’s perpetual calendars, where Kurt Klaus’ innovative and popular perpetual calendar design is complemented by a modern self-winding Pellaton caliber, another striking historical technical achievement by IWC. At the same time the large and impressive black ceramic case and sunburst blue dial of Ref. IW503001, its self-winding 7-day power reserve Pellaton caliber and Kurt Klaus’ practical and easy to use perpetual calendar complication perfectly match modern tastes, making the present watch an almost perfect daily wearer.