And now for something completely different. It’s quite rare that any new watch causes me to break step passing a jeweller’s window, but something that caught my eye a couple of years ago was an IWC big pilot. A beautiful, perfectly balanced dial and case design helping to disguise its huge 46mm diameter. The only minor snag was that it appeared to be priced at something close to three times the asking price of a new Rolex Submariner. That can’t be right, surely? So, rather than being downhearted, I set about trying to put something together that provides something of the presence of the IWC without the eye-watering price tag.
The only element on which I would not compromise was that I wanted a fully brushed case. After some rather exhaustive research, the only place I could find selling cases that looked like they might do the trick was a seller in Hong Kong who had some nice 46mm pilot cases in various finishes, one of which was fully brushed. He could also supply a Seagull version of the 6498 Unitas with sub-seconds at 6. Next, I needed a dial. Rather than using the same supplier, I opted for a German made dial complete with a set of blued hands. To finish it off, a black aviator strap from the UK. The dial and hands arrived first, then the strap, and bringing up the rear, the case and movement, supplied with an aluminium movement ring and case clamps.
It all came together relatively easily although I had to improvise a hand fitting tool for the hour hand because my hand press did not have a tip large enough to clear the minute wheel pinion. The second hand was a bit of a bugger to set too and there was the usual faffing about trimming the stem to the correct length but it was all completed in about an hour one weekday evening. Here it is: