Black Carbon

Front Back

Black Carbon

IW506101 IW5061-01
Case Material
Original Release
Limited edition
LE 100
Individually Numbered on the caseback 'xx/100'
Dial color
Diameter 46.5 mm
Height 14.8 mm
Original Strap
Black calfskin strap
The first Big Pilot's Watch in a carbon composite case.
Titanium crown and back

from Jiaxian Su (SXH): "More unusually, the Big Pilot Black Carbon has a “fish” crown – the oversized, onion-shaped winding crown has a stylised fish logo on its top. Despite being a seemingly trivial detail, the “fish” crown is dear to IWC enthusiasts, being a memorable element from IWC’s 20th century history – one many collectors regard as a golden age.

From the 1950s until the mid-2000s, most water-resistant IWC watches featured a “fish” crown. The very first generation of the Big Pilot, the ref. 5002 introduced in 2002, featured a “fish” crown. Not long after, the “fish” crown was dispensed with in favour of a crown featuring the IWC “Probus Scafusia” emblem. This happened sometime in 2006, first with a “transitional” ref. 5002 that was equipped with the new cal. 51110 and “Probus Scafusia” crown, and soon after with the all-new ref. 5004 with both new movement and crown.

As a result, the “fish” crown also takes pride of place on the case back, which bears large “fish” crown emblem cast in relief.

It has to be noted that IWC itself has absolutely nothing to say officially about the creation and launch of the Big Pilot Black Carbon. But the backstory is well known amongst those who were involved, and some of it has already been detailed on social media.

The genesis of the watch was formed at an IWC “design workshop” that took place in October 2018. It was attended by many of the city’s leading IWC collectors – including a gentleman who is reputedly the biggest collector of Big Pilot’s Watches in the world – who got the ball rolling for limited edition exclusively for Hong Kong.

Over the course of the following year, the group of enthusiasts refined the idea, which was eventually given the go-ahead by IWC. But as that was happening, protests and civil unrest engulfed Hong Kong, followed by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in early 2020. Launching a luxury wristwatch dedicated to a city that undergoing near-constant turmoil became untenable, so the Hong Kong aspect of the edition was shelved and the 100-piece run was renamed.

Despite the name change from the "Hong Kong Edition", the origins of the limited edition were not forgotten and live on in a small number of watches. Fourteen watches were reserved for the participants of the design workshop that gave birth to the idea. Delivered in a commemorative box with a NATO-style strap only for the 14, these watches are identical to the standard versions save for one special detail: the “10” on the date wheel is in bright red, a reference to the 10th anniversary of the IWC flagship boutique in Hong Kong that opened in 2009.