Pilot watches are an interesting category, as they straddle the line between casual and dress watches in a way that not many others can. International Watch Company (IWC) does pilot watches better than almost anyone, but the IWC Big Pilot series can feel intimidating for people without massive wrists. The brand recently downsized the watch from 46 to 43mm, and the result is dramatic.
The 43mm Big Pilot Automatic is wearable on a variety of wrist sizes, and brings all of the historic and funky styling touches that made the originals so desirable. There’s no date window, but the oversized crown, highly legible hour markers, and gorgeous leather strap remain.
With the latest generation of Big Pilot, IWC opened the casebook with a nice display window to show off the decorated movement, and water resistance measures a decent 100m (10 Bar). The large crown makes it quick and extremely easy to adjust the time on the fly, and the dial is extremely easy to read in almost all conditions.
It’s true that most of us aren’t pilots and may never end up in control of a plane, but the IWC Big Pilot is a watch that almost anyone can wear with two feet planted firmly on the ground. The style is flexible and the smaller size makes it wearable for a much larger group of people. If you want the larger size, there are several available, some with date windows and other complications. No matter which you choose, however, there’s no wrong path.