A legend for the benefit of Laureus
The Watch Quote™ - December 14th, 2005
From December 14 to 21, 2005, one of the most coveted collectors’ items from the House of IWC will be up for auction. The Big Pilot’s Watch, produced in 1940, is a rarity seldom found any more at auction, for the simple reason that IWC made just 1000 of them and only a small number of them still exist today. The pre-Christmas auction on the website of Swiss watch manufacturers IWC has established itself as a tradition and draws dozens of watch lovers and collectors to their computer screens every year. It is also a company tradition that the proceeds of the sale should go to a charity or cultural organization. This year’s beneficiary is the Laureus Foundation, which is active worldwide using sport as a means of helping disadvantaged children.
Hitting the big time
IWC Pilot’s Watches and the history of aviation are inseparably intertwined. The company had started using its expertise to develop precision timepieces suitable for use in the cockpits of the world’s first aircraft as early as the 1930s. The accuracy of these watches had to be unaffected by vibrations, extreme fluctuations of temperature, excess pressure, varying light conditions and mag- netic fields. In 1940, IWC produced The Big Pilot’s Watch, a model whose dimensions have since remained unsurpassed. Weighing in at 183 g, with a case diameter of 55 mm, it is not only the largest wristwatch ever built by IWC but was also one of the most accurate of its day. It is powered by a 6-mm-thick, specially modified 52 T – 19’’’ S.C. (Seconde au Centre) pocket watch movement, numbered 1014091.
The watch’s overall thickness of 17.5 mm leaves plenty of room for a mechanism packed with choice watchmaking features: a swan’s neck regulator for precision adjustment, club-tooth lever escapement, gold-plated bridge, plate and movement ring, bi-metallic balance with weights and adjustment screws, Breguet spring, 18,000 beats per hour and 16 jewels made of synthetic ruby as well as a stop spring. A second inner cover provides additional protection against dust. The stainless steel case has a sand-blasted matt finish to eliminate reflections and is numbered 1033491. The number FL 23883 identifies the watch as airfare equipment. The indices on the matt black dial are luminescent for maximum legibility. One of the watch’s most striking features is the large crown, which can be operated even by a gloved hand, and the extra-long leather strap, which permitted the watch to be worn over a flying suit.
Going once, going twice...
In the course of time, this 65-year-old vintage timepiece has established itself as an extremely rare collector’s item and continuously increased in value. As to be expected, the reserve price of 25,000 US dollars for this extraordinary Pilot’s Watch is unusually high. The auction opens on IWC’s website (www.iwc.ch) at 18.00. CET on December 14, 2005, at the latest. Bids may be made in increments of between 100 and 400 dollars. The hammer comes down finally on December 21, 2005, between 14.00 and 17.00. CET. IWC Schaffhausen will be presenting the entire proceeds of the auction to the Laureus Foundation. Details of the auction proceedings can be found on the IWC website from December 1, 2005.
Laureus: sport as an instrument of peace
“Sport has the power to change the world” was the way Nelson Mandela once summarized the driving force behind Laureus. The Laureus Foundation, set up in 1999 by Swiss luxury goods group Richemont International and Daimler Chrysler, has developed into an extremely multifaceted organization. IWC has been a proud partner of Laureus since 2005 and spares no effort to assist the Foundation in the achievement of its goals. Laureus combines sport and charity aid through three central pillars: the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is at the hart of the organization’s humanitarian mission. About 40 projects all over the world are working to provide disadvantaged children with social improvement, solidarity and improved prospects for the future through the strength of sport. The Foundation’s second pillar is the Laureus World Sports Academy. This consists of 40 sporting legends, who act as ambassadors for the projects and, at the same time, function as the jury and prize-givers for the annual Laureus World Sports Awards. These “Sports Oscars”, as the Laureus World Sports Awards are also called, are the organization’s third pillar.