Monday, November 21, 2016

IWC – BIG PILOT's Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”

IWC SchaffhausenBIG PILOT's Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” Gold 46 mm Unique Piece NEW


Geneva, 15 November 2016, Sotheby’s auctioned an exclusive, unique timepiece by IWC Schaffhausen. The Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” with a unique blue movement went under the hammer for CHF 48,750. The proceed will go to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, a globally active organization that campaigns to support children and young people living in difficult conditions.

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The Big Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Ref. IW502704) is the first and so far the only watch in the history of IWC with a blue movement. The manufacturing process required to make it has taken around 1.5 years to develop and refine. To give the IWC-manufactured 52850 calibre its striking blue colour, the plates and bridges have been coated with various metal oxides. The major challenge of this process was keeping the thickness of the coating consistent and achieving a completely even tone using the chemical vapour depositiontechnique (CVD). When combined with the blue screws and red gemstones, the blue movement creates the perfect backdrop for the 18-carat red gold rotor: it depicts the little prince from the story with the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry standing on a planet staring out at the starry night sky.


“Not only is the blue movement an extraordinary eyecatcher, but it also underscores the long-standing tradition of engineering here at IWC Schaffhausen. I am therefore particularly delighted that we have been able to use it to contribute to the impressive proceeds from the auction, so the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation can now get started on other important projects,” says Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. The foundation was established in 2008 by the descendants of the French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Active throughout the world, it campaigns primarily for the promotion of training and education courses for disadvantaged children and adolescents. Today’s auction was the fourth auction that IWC Schaffhausen has held for the foundation in cooperation with Sotheby’s Geneva. The plan for the proceeds from this year’s auction is to use the funds to translate Saint-Exupéry’s book “The Little Prince”, including the illustrations, into Braille with illustrations in relief so the complete work will be accessible for the first time to children with visual impairments.

In support of the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation,
Sotheby’s and IWC Schaffhausen are proud to present:


To be auctioned during the Sotheby’s sale of Important Watches, Geneva, 15 November 2016

A unique special-edition timepiece combining poetry and technology
Echoing the extraordinary life of celebrated author and aviator
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Geneva, 10 November 2016 – On the occasion of our autumn sale of Important Watches, Sotheby’s Geneva will once again come together with the prestigious watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen to present a completely unique, special-edition timepiece created by the Swiss manufacturer.
On 15 November, collectors will be able to discover the IWC Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” (Reference IW502704, Lot 175). This unique piece in red gold features a stunning blue movement, the first ever to have been created by IWC. The proceeds from the sale will benefit the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, the charitable organization dedicated to supporting disadvantaged young people and children all over the world through local initiatives.
Looking ahead to the sale, Pedro Reiser, Department Manager for the Watch Division at Sotheby’s in Geneva commented: “It is an honour for us to nurture this continuing partnership with IWC Schaffhausen, and to present this unique special-edition watch. This year, once again, the celebrated watchmaker has shown its passion for innovation, developing an exceptional timepiece with a superb blue movement. We feel that this impressive technical endeavour is sure to enchant collectors, and we look forward to renewing our support for the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation.

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For the world-famous poet and author of “The Little Prince”, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, poetry and technology, writing and flying were two sides of the same coin. Now, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” brings these two worlds together. The front side of the watch features a midnight blue dial with annual calendar and red gold luminous hands. The reverse side of the watch reveals an outstanding blue movement – the first ever developed by the manufacturer. The dial shows the little prince gazing in amazement at the sky. He stands on a tiny planet, which in its entirety forms the rotor and revolves around its axis. Due to the highly complex techniques required to ensure an even blue finish on the movement, followed by the delicate process of assembling the pieces, the movement took IWC nearly 2 years to develop.

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The sumptuous blue of the movement creates the impression of depth within the watch, echoing the extraordinary adventures of the little prince.


In addition to its spectacular blue movement, the sleek exterior of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” hides numerous other features that illustrate the exceptional quality of IWC’s technical workmanship. These include an annual calendar, which shows the month, date and day of the week in three separate windows. Its highly complex mechanism takes into account the differing lengths of different months, with the exception of February; once a year, it requires a simple manual correction using the crown.

This superb piece in 18-carat red gold also includes a 7-day power reserve and a transparent sapphire-glass back.


Handed down through generations, the wonderful tale of the little prince has so far been translated into 290 languages and dialects. The Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation aims to reach new heights in the coming years by producing a version of the book in braille, adapting both the text and pictures.

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The proceeds from the sale of the watch will go towards supporting the launch of the foundation in the United States and to collaborate with local NGOs and associations. The organization will help visually impaired children to discover the little prince’s magical world and its enchanting illustrations, via specially conceived educational workshops.

There will be an official launch of the programme in 2017, combined with an event in New York.


Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the foundation was created by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s family to promote the great French writer’s humanist philosophy. Liaising closely with companies that share its values and aims, the foundation works primarily to help disadvantaged young people all over the world by encouraging and financing local initiatives designed to provide education and training across a broad spectrum of areas. By instilling a sense of purpose into young people and teaching them to live together as part of their communities, to find fulfilment in work and to access culture through reading and writing, it helps them to become responsible citizens.

Technical Specifications

Model: BIG PILOT’s Watch Annual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince”- Unique piece watches

Ref: IW502704 Case in 18-carat red gold case
Midnight blue dial, dark brown calfskin strap by Santoni, 18-carat red gold folding clasp

Unique piece
Midnight blue dial – Blue mechanical movement – Power reserve display
Annual calendar with displays for the month, date and day of the week
Small hacking seconds – Breguet spring
Rotor in 18-carat red gold shows the little prince standing on his planet
Screw-in crown – Glass secured against displacement by drops in air pressure
See-through sapphire-glass back 
    IWC-manufactured calibre: 52850 (blue)
    Frequency: 28,800 A/h | 4 Hz
    Jewels: 36
    Power reserve: 7 days (168 h)
    Winding system: Pellaton automatic
    Materials: 18-carat red gold case, midnight blue dial
    Red gold hands and appliqués coated with Super-LumiNova®, gold-plated star display.
    Glass: Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
    Water-resistant: 6 bar
    Diameter: 46 mm
    Height: 15.5 mm
Dark brown matte calfskin strap by Santoni, 18-carat red gold folding clasp

Notes to editors:
This watch is being sold for charity and therefore has not been given an auction estimate.
The current suggested retail price is CHF 35,000.

* IWC Schaffhausen is not the owner of the Super-LumiNova® trademark.

Further Information
Clemens von Walzel
Department Manager Public Relations
Tel. +41 (0)52 235 79 29
Press releases 2016
 IWC Schaffhausen
Uwe Liebminger
Department Manager Public Relations
Mobile  +41 (0)79 957 72 52
---------------------------------------------- - IWC Watches

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