Hi, my name is Lodewijk, and since I was 16 years old I have been suffering from the #WatchNerd virus. Last year I finished my degree at the Vakschool Schoonhoven- a school for goldsmiths and watchmakers, located in a town called Schoonhoven 'the Silver City of the Netherlands'. Once I finished my degree, I started working at Ace & Spyer Jewelers, which was just the medicine I needed to help cure the #WatchNerd virus.
Ace & Spyer carries some of the most famous watch brands such as TAG Heuer, Omega and Breitling. One brand that I wasn't as familiar with but still admired before I started at Ace was IWC (International Watch Company). The Pilot's watches were some of my favorites as soon as I laid eyes on the brand, which includes some of the most iconic models from IWC such as the Mark XVIII, Pilot Chronograph and the Big Pilot. Once I learned more about the brand and the movement. I instantly knew right then and there that my next watch would be an IWC Pilot's watch.
The difficult question was, which model? I always had a thing for chronographs, even though I rarely use it. I just love the aesthetics and composition of a dial with a chronograph. I first looked at the Pilot's watch with a chronograph. IWC has a couple of models such as the Spitfire Chronograph and 'Le Petit Prince'. When I saw the 'Le Petite Prince' edition, I loved the blue sunburst dial and the engraving of the little prince on the caseback.
Working at Ace, I get to see new watches coming in every week, so that didn't make my decision any easier. A couple days a week I work with David Ben Joseph, the founder and owner of Ace Jewelers Group. One of David's favorite watches is the Big Pilot from IWC which he wears almost every day. I told him I was trying to decide what my next watch would be. He said if I like IWC, consider the Big Pilot. The first time IWC ever produced the Big Pilot was in 1940, and it is one of their most iconic watches. I tried on David's watch and I fell in love.
I loved the way the case has a brushed, matte finish. The crown on the watch is oversized so pilots can operate the watch without having to take off their gloves. The watch has central hacking seconds, which is essential in aviation, a seven day power reserve subdial located at 3 o'clock and the date at 6 o'clock. The heart of the Big Pilot 'Le Petit Prince' is the calibre 51111. This manufacture movement from IWC features a Pellaton automatic winding. The calibre 51111 is IWC's largest manufacture movement which consists of 311 components.
At this point, I knew I needed to have the Big Pilot. I saved up and lived on bread and water. Maybe the job at Ace didn't cure the #WatchNerd virus after all, haha. While I knew which model I wanted, I still couldn't get the blue dial from the Le Petit Prince out of my head. At that point, I knew which watch was for me- the IWC Big Pilot 'Le Petit Prince', ref. IW500916. We didn't have the watch in stock, so patience was key. Finally at the end of February, when I least expected it, the watch arrived in the boutique. I was busy working and my colleague said to me, "I think your watch arrived!" Like everyone else who suffers from the #WatchNerd virus, this moment is better than Sinterklaas and Christmas on the same day. I opened the package and there it was, the Big Pilot 'Le Petit Prince' edition fitted on a brown leather Santoni strap. It was love at first sight, and it still is to this day.