The IWC Big Pilot Watch is one of IWC’s most popular timepieces. The iconic watch, however, is not cheap, costing tens of thousands of dollars.
If you would like to own a watch that has a similar design, there are more affordable brands available—this article will let you in on some models similar to IWC’s Big Pilot, but easier on the wallet.
Before we begin, let’s discuss some of the most important specifications of the IWC Big Pilot Watch. One of the brand’s most popular timepieces, this model has been around since the late 1930s and was reissued in 2016, with updates.
The Big Pilot’s watch today has the IWC-manufactured 52110-caliber movement with a Pellaton automatic winding system. It has a power reserve of up to a week, and there is also a display on 3 o’clock that shows the remaining time until the movement stops. This 46.2mm piece has a conical crown and an iron case that protects the watch from magnetic fields. There are different cases available (stainless steel and bronze) and customers can also choose between a black and brown calfskin strap.
IWC’s line of Pilot’s watches is one of the brand’s biggest collections, having different categories: Classic, Spitfire, Top Gun, Le Petit Prince, and Antoine de Saint Exupery. See the entire collection here.
You can also check our IWC watch reviews, where we talk about the brand’s history and main collections.
According to Bob’s Watches website, where you can purchase IWC watches, An IWC Big Pilot watch costs around $12,900 and a Big Pilot’s watch with a Perpetual Calendar costs around $28,200.
IWC Big Pilot Alternatives
Timex Weekender™ Chrono Oversize – Budget Pick
The Timex Weekender has many different versions. There are 38mm models, collaborations (like Peanuts), and pilot watch styles such as the Weekender 2-Piece leather strap watch.
This 40mm stainless steel model with a genuine leather strap is one of the most affordable options with excellent quality that you can consider. This quartz watch has an Arabic numeral display and 24-hour military time, a leather strap, and Timex’s famous Indiglo Light-Up dial. The water resistance is 30m.
The Weekender line also has a chronograph version called the Weekender Chrono Oversize, which has the same 40mm large dial and Arabic numeral markers. To learn more about Timex and its other models, you can check out this comprehensive article that we wrote about the brand.
Hamilton Khaki Field King Automatic H64455133
This Hamilton timepiece is a robust 40mm watch that has protectors specially designed to ensure the crown’s safety. This is a stainless steel automatic model with a sapphire crystal, stainless steel strap with a folding clasp, and water resistance to 50m. The movement is caliber H-40, which has a power reserve of up to 80 hours.
Other similar (and less expensive models) include this version with a leather strap or this 38mm Auto version.
This model has received a lot of excellent reviews on websites like Amazon, with may customers admiring its size and slim case, as well as the impressive movement. One of the things that some have pointed out, however, is the watch may be better off with a screw-down crown; and the lume could use a little more brightness.
You can read more about Hamilton here.
Zenith Men’s El Primero
This is a limited-edition 45mm model with Arabic numerals that are made of SuperLuminova. The movement is an Elite 679 automatic with a power reserve of up to 50 hours. The case is 180-carat rose gold, and the strap has warm tones that add to the vintage aesthetic: brown alligator leather with a protective rubber lining. This rugged pilot’s watch by Swiss watchmaker Zenith is the brand’s tribute to their partnership with Cohiba, a cigar brand manufacturer.
Explore other pilot’s watch models on Zenith’s website. You can also read more about the brand on our Zenith Watch Review article here.
Sinn is a German brand that has been making watches since 1961. This brand was founded by a flight instructor and a former World War II pilot, who built a company that focused on making cockpit clocks, and pilot watches. Needless to say, it’s a reliable brand if you’re after an excellent pilot watch.
Those looking for something robust but simple should check out the Sinn 856, a 40mm bead-blasted stainless steel watch with a matte black dial with a combination of Arabic numerals and indices, both of which are coated with luminescent colors.
Packed with unique features like magnetic field protection, pressure resistance of 20 bar, and a scratch-resistant case, this watch is both functional and attractive. These were inspired by Sinn’s cockpit navigation clocks, which provide accurate time and outstanding readability.
Read more about the brand in our Sinn Watch Brand Reviews.
Oris Big Crown Propilot Big Day Date
Swiss watchmaker Oris has been making aviation watches since 1938, with watches being used by fighter pilots. One of the watches that were inspired by the classic models is the Oris Big Crown Propilot Big Day Date watch, a 44mm model with a stainless steel case and a leather strap with a steel folding clasp.
This model is powered by the Oris 752 automatic movement, with a power reserve of up to 38 hours. At 3 o’clock are separated legible day and date windows. The grey sial also has hands and Arabic numeral markers powered by SuperLuminova.
Oris has been making watches for over a century. If you’d like to read more about the brand’s story and watch models, you can check out our Oris Watch Review article here.
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic
Alpina is a Swiss watchmaker founded in 1883. The brand’s goal was to specialize watches built for the outdoors, having features like waterproof and anti-shock qualities. One of its most popular collections is the Startimer, which is composed of big pilot watches.
The Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic watch features the AL-Automatic movement, with durable titanium stainless steel case and bracelet. The 44mm case has a convex sapphire crystal and bold markers with a date window at 3 o’clock.
If this model is a bit too expensive, you can also check out this Startimer Pilot Automatic model which is a 42mm model with a quartz movement.
The Startimer Pilot Automatic line has received many excellent reviews by experts and customers. This one by A Blog To Watch, for instance, highlights the line’s reliable movement, reasonable size, and the utilitarian design.
You can also learn more about Alpina in this feature that we wrote about the brand.
Stowa Flieger Classic 40
We talked about this brand in our German Watch Brands article. Stowa has been around since 1927, and continue to produce high-quality watches today.
One of the most popular Stowa collections is the Flieger, which is a line of large 40mm pilot’s watches. The Stowa Flieger Classic 40 is not cheap, but its excellent quality makes up for the hefty price tag. What’s unique about this brand is it allows customers to have the dial configured: automatic or hand-wound movement, logo or no logo, with or without a date window.
The Flieger Classic 40 also has a SuperLuminova feature, a Swiss movement, and sleek temperature-blued steel hands. The stainless steel case also has a sapphire crystal on both sides.
One of the main characteristics of a pilot watch is a big dial.
The Archimede Pilot 45 watch, as the name suggests, has a 45mm case—closer to IWC compared to the first two watches featured. If you’re looking for something bigger and legible, this is a good model to consider.
The watch, which has hand-wound movement ETA 6498, has bold Arabic numeral markers and luminous hands with a small second feature at 6 o’clock. It also has a durable and attractive ICKLER case, made of finely-brushed steel.
Learn more about Archimede watches here.
Wempe Zeitmeister Aviator Watch Automatic
This is German watchmaker Wempe’s take on the pilot’s watch. The Zeitmeister Aviator Watch Automatic model is a 38mm stainless steel with a self-winding movement (caliber ETA 2892-A2) with a power reserve of 42 hours. There are a second hand and a date display at 3 o’clock.
According to Wempe, the chronometer has also been officially tested according to the German DIN 8319 standard.
Junkers Professor 9.00.01.02
This watch by independent German brand Junkers is another 40mm watch is a handsome and elegant timepiece that doesn’t come with a hefty price tag like IWC’s. Running on automatic movement (Citizen/Miyota 821A), this has a power reserve of 40 hours.
The Junkers Professor 9.00.01.02 has a silver stainless steel case, a black leather band, and a crystal case back. There is a date window at 3 o’clock that shows three dates at a time, which gives the watch a unique look, as most watches only have one on display.
If you’d like to learn more about Junkers, you can check out this article that we published on the site.