New under the sky, Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL, with Ceratanium® case (44 mm), screw-in crown, glass secured against displacement by drops in air pressure, black dial, SPRIN-g PROTECT® shock absorber system, self-winding IWC manufacture calibre 32115, black rubber strap with leather inlay. Limited production 10 pieces per year.
IWC unveils Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL, 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. In impact tests conducted at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, a protected movement has survived accelerations in excess of 30,000 g.
A perfect form and an advanced material
The key to this performance lies in the spring’s perfect form and the material used to make it. The spring has been designed to evenly spread the stress across its length and width. Solving this challenge required advanced simulation tools and a painstaking design process. A second decisive factor is the choice of Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG) as a material. A sophisticated manufacturing process gives BMG an amorphous microstructure, with the result that it is significantly more elastic than conventional metals. An ultralightweight titanium casing ring further reduces the mass that the shock absorber must hold. Another innovation is a unique crown system with a winding stem that allows the movement to displace independently of the case. Reducing the mass to be protected by the spring is critical for the system’s overall performance. The IWC manufactured 32115 calibre used for this watch is a custom-made lightweight construction. Components like the base plate are made from a high-tech aluminium alloy used in the aerospace sector, which is light and highly rigid. The bidirectional pawl winding system builds up a power reserve of 120 hours.
The XPL in the name of the watch stands for “experimental” and refers to the IWC Experimental engineering division. The powerful case geometry takes the iconic shape of the Big Pilot’s design to a completely new level by adding a futuristic surface treatment and details throughout the entire watch exterior. The case is made of Ceratanium®, an IWC-developed material based on a proprietary titanium alloy. It is as light and robust as titanium but at the same time similarly hard and scratch resistant as ceramic. The components are milled from bars and fired at high temperatures in a kiln. During this process, the surface assumes the characteristics of ceramics and gets its unique matte black finish. The stealthy black design is complemented with a black dial, a technical anti-reflective coating on the front glass, and a black rubber strap with leather inlay. Due to the complexity of the manufacturing process, the annual production of the Big Pilot‘s Watch Shock Absorber XPL will be limited to 10 pieces per year.
Price: USD 83,600