Maximum robustness and performance, a utilitarian heritage and design cues that have proved stronger than time: these characteristics are at the root of the sustained success and popularity of the G-Class from Mercedes-Benz and the Big Pilot’s Watch from IWC Schaffhausen.
While echoing signature G-Class design features such as the headlights or the spare wheel cover, they are both made from extremely robust and resilient case materials. One features a case and crown of 18-carat Armor Gold®; the second is IWC’s first timepiece with a ceramic matrix composite (CMC) case.
The Big Pilot’s Watch from IWC Schaffhausen and the G-Class from Mercedes-Benz share a similar history and are deeply rooted in a utilitarian legacy. Both were initially developed to meet purely functional criteria – one to be easy to read and highly robust, the other to offer uncompromising offroad capabilities. Over the years, they have retained their utilitarian beginnings and evolved into modern design icons at the same time. After nearly 20 years of partnership with Mercedes-AMG, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer now celebrates these icons with two striking special editions of the Big Pilot’s Watch.
The Big Pilot’s Watch AMG G 63 (Ref. IW501201) boasts a case and crown made of 18-carat Armor Gold®, a black dial and a black rubber strap with microfibre inlay. The black and gold colour code is inspired by the exterior paintwork and interior finishing of the recently launched Mercedes-AMG G 63 “Grand Edition”. Armor Gold® is an innovative alloy that elevates the hardness values of gold to a whole new level and makes this comparatively soft, precious metal much more resistant to external influences. Thanks to an improved microstructure, this special alloy is significantly harder and more wear-resistant than conventional 5N gold. The combination of sand-blasted surfaces and polished edges lends this Big Pilot’s Watch a classy, contemporary character.
The Big Pilot’s Watch AMG G 63 (Ref. IW506201) is the first IWC timepiece to feature a ceramic matrix composite (CMC) case, engineered in close collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Unlike conventional carbon fibre-reinforced polymers, the fibres of this composite material are embedded in a matrix of ceramic rather than polymer. Therefore, CMC components are extremely damage-tolerant. Because they are also insensitive to thermal shocks, they are the material of choice for applications with extremely high requirements in terms of lightness, strength, and temperature resistance – from aerospace to the manufacturing of brake discs for sports and luxury cars.
A highly complex manufacturing process
The starting point for manufacturing a CMC watch case is a conventional carbon-fibre reinforced polymer. In a heat treatment called pyrolysis, lasting several days, the polymer matrix is converted to carbon, leaving behind a dense weave of fibres embedded in a porous carbon matrix. Subsequently, silicon crystals are placed on top of the component, and everything is heated in an oven. During this so-called siliconisation, silicon is pulled into the cavities and chemically reacts with the carbon, forming a new matrix made of silicon carbide ceramic.
After finishing with diamond tools, the CMC cases exhibit a matte black colour and a unique structure determined by the fibres, making each piece truly unique.
“The manufacturing process for this lightweight and strong material is extremely complex. To achieve perfect quality, we had to overcome countless challenges – from selecting the right raw materials for the fibres and the matrix to defining the exact parameters for the different steps of the process. With its first CMC watch case, IWC Replica again demonstrates its expertise in engineering advanced material solutions,” explains Lorenz Brunner, Department Manager Research and Innovation at IWC Schaffhausen.
Revisiting signature G-Class design cues
In addition to the Big Pilot’s characteristic power reserve display at 3 o’clock, both new editions feature a small second counter at 9 o’clock. The opposing subdials with external white rings imitate the typical headlights on the front side of the G-Class. The black dials are embossed with a relief-like technical structure inspired by the air intakes of Mercedes-AMG performance cars. Unlike the classic Big Pilot’s Watch, which has printed numerals and indices, these special editions feature appliques that have been PVD-coated in black and filled with luminous material.
High-end IWC manufactured movement inside
Both versions of the Big Pilot’s Cheap Replica Watches AMG G 63 are powered by the IWC-manufactured 52010 calibre, a highly robust and precise automatic movement. Parts of the winding system that are subject to particularly high stress are manufactured from virtually wear-free zirconium oxide ceramic. Developed by IWC’s former Technical Director Albert Pellaton during the 1940s, the ingenious self-winding mechanism uses even the smallest movements of the rotor in both directions to build up a power reserve of seven days in two barrels. The movements are visible through tinted sapphire glass back, which feature a Mercedes-Benz star and are reminiscent of the spare wheel cover on the backside of the G-Class.
The Big Pilot’s Watch AMG G 63 editions in 18-carat Armor Gold® and in CMC are available through IWC boutiques or online at IWC.com. In addition, the timepieces are eligible for registration under the My IWC care program, benefitting from a 6-year extension to the standard 2-year International Limited Warranty.