Hands-On: MR PORTER Elevates An IWC Classic With Limited Edition Big Pilot’s Watch

Photos: HICONSUMPTION

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Since its inception in 2011, MR PORTER has slowly garnered a well-deserved reputation as a world-class curator for men’s clothing and fashion accessories. And while thus far MR PORTER’s unparalleled eye for men’s style curation has enabled it to amass an impressive and ever-expanding collection of hand-selected wardrobe staples and style pieces, the company has now opted to begin applying this same skillset to the creation of its own novel offerings — the latest of which sees the UK-based retailer join forces with 154-year-old luxury Swiss watch brand the International Watch Company to deliver a limited run of IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited-Edition Watches

At A Glance

IWC Big Pilot's 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Specs 1

Ref. No: IW329703
Case Size: 43mm
Case Thickness: 13.6mm
Case Material: Bronze
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement Type: Automatic
Power Reserve: 60 Hours
Movement: Calibre 82100
Lume: Super-LumiNova
Crystal: Sapphire
Strap: Alcantara

Getting Hands-On

First Impressions Of The Big Pilot's 43 MR PORTER Edition 1

Upon unsnapping and opening the black leather case that this limited edition watch is sold in, you’re greeted by the timepiece’s stunning bronze case and black dial looking up at you — details that jump out at you even more when viewed against the camel-colored suede roll that the watch comes wrapped around inside the gift/travel box. Marking the first in a series of new forthcoming collaborations from MR PORTER and IWC, the Big Pilot’s 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited-Edition sports an elegant yet understated aesthetic that reveals more and more of its unique details the longer you spend visually taking it in. Drawing an obvious influence from vintage designs, this limited edition reference is still readily identifiable as being a member of the IWC Big Pilot’s watch family, as well, however, those more familiar with the timepiece will no doubt recognize its myriad of model-exclusive features — an area we’ll be further unpacking below. 

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

Resized Bronze Housing

The Big Pilot's 43 MR PORTER Edition 1's Case

The IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited-Edition Watch is constructed around a 13.6mm-thick case that’s crafted from bronze and features an oversized knurled bronze crown that handles both time-keeping adjustment duties along with manual winding. And while the Big Pilot’s watch is typically offered in larger 44mm, 44.5mm, and 46.2mm sizes, this limited edition-spec boasts a slightly smaller 43mm width — a small tweak that actually makes the timepiece markedly more conducive to everyday use. Contrasting the bronze case with a titanium construction with a bare finish, the back of the watch is capped off with a non-transparent case back that features International Watch Co. and MR PORTER EDITION 1 branding engraved into the top-shelf material. 

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

A Black & Gold Face

The Big Pilot's 43 MR PORTER Edition 1's Dial

Sitting beneath a sapphire glass crystal is the Big Pilot’s 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited-Edition’s black dial. The face of the watch features a gold-plated hand-set with Super-LumiNova lume-coated minute and hour hands that rotate around a set of vintage-inspired numerals. The 12 o’clock numeral has also been replaced with IWC’s signature triangular index — a two-dot and triangle symbol that was designed to help pilots instantly identify the position of a watch’s hands on the dial after only a quick glance. Beneath the triangular index is an IWC Schaffhausen logo. There’s also the word “AUTOMATIC” above the 6 o’clock position while just below it read the words “Swiss Made.” As a nod to this watch being the “Edition 1,” MR PORTER has also opted to bestow the dial’s “1” numeral with Super-LumiNova — a detail that goes unnoticed, only to jump out at its wearer when viewed in the dark. Super-LumiNova also adorns the dial’s hour and minute hands, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock markers, and 12 o’clock triangular index. 

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

Alcantara Excellence

The Big Pilot's 43 MR PORTER Edition 1's Strap

On top of its uniquely-engraved titanium case back, 43mm-sized bronze case, and black dial and gold-plated hands, another element that’s reserved exclusively for the IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited-Edition Watch is its strap. Crafted from top-shelf Alcantara — a material more commonly found in supercar interiors than on watch straps — the band has been decorated via two pairs of bronze rivets just above and below the case’s lugs, matching the watch’s bronze housing and providing even more visual contrast. Sporting bronze, IWC-branded hardware — another model-exclusive touch on this limited edition timepiece — the watch’s strap is secured via a folding clasp-fastening setup that’s been outfitted with an EasX-CHANGE system that allows for precise adjustments, and makes it effortless to put the watch on or take it off — another immensely desirable quality to have on an everyday use watch. 

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

The Calibre 82100

The Big Pilot's 43 MR PORTER Edition 1's Movement

Inside the case of the Big Pilot’s 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited-Edition Watch is Calibre 82100 movement — a Swiss-made automatic motor that was developed in-house by the International Watch Company. Ticking at 28,800Vph, the movement boasts 22 jewels and an impressive 60-hour power reserve. While it may not be the most innovative automatic movement, the 82100 is nonetheless a high-end and thoroughly dependable workhorse that’s sure to provide years if not decades of accurate timekeeping. 

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

Conclusion

Final Thoughts On The Big Pilot's 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited Edition Watch

Managing to elevate what’s already an objectively fantastic aviation-inspired timepiece, the IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited-Edition makes it abundantly clear that MR PORTER subscribes to the belief that the devil is in the details, as this bronze-cased timepiece features an incredibly calculated design, and one in which every millimeter of the watch has clearly been meticulously and painstakingly considered. With its 43mm bronze case, gold-plated hands juxtaposing its black dial, bronze rivet-equipped black Alcantara strap, and suite of other accompanying reference-exclusive details, MR PORTER has managed to put an even more upscale and fashion-forward spin on what was already one of our favorite minimalist watches. And, in addition to its unique design, this watch is made all the most special by the fact that IWC will only be producing a total of 500 units worldwide. 

Backed by a generous 8-year warranty, the IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s 43 MR PORTER Edition 1 Limited-Edition Automatic 43mm Bronze and Alcantara Watch (Ref. No. IW329703) is available now, with pricing set at $10,900.