Review: The IWC Big Pilot’s 43 Is A Striking Luxury Watch In Glorious Green

This $9,000 stunner was an appropriately bold timekeeping companion during a recent Lamborghini road trip.

IWC Big Pilot’s 43; Ghurka #204 card wallet, Benchmade Tengu knife, shot with Leica Q3 (Stinson Carter)

Ever since I first saw the IWC Top Gun on Jeremy Clarkson’s wrist in a Grand Tour special, I’ve admired the luxury Swiss watchmaker’s pilot watches from the digital distance of Instagram ogling and press releases.

Lamborghini Urus Performante, Ghurka Concourse no. 291 (Stinson Carter)

But there’s nothing like actually wearing one, so when I had the chance to do so, I chose to take IWC’s new Racing-Green Big Pilot’s watch on a trip to the Napa Valley. And, in the spirit of the Clarkson, I wore it while touring wine country in a new Lamborghini Urus Performante

Leica Q3, Native Son Aviators (Stinson Carter)

The first thing you notice when you remove the watch from the fine leather IWC case and put it on, is that it has a huge presence on the wrist. It’s 43mm wide and 13.6mm thick, but when you factor in the large conical screw-down crown, the actual wrist real estate it takes up seems greater than its 43mm. At first, I even wondered if the dial would dig into my wrist, but that turned out to not be an issue.

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Ghurka no. 291 Concourse and Single Wine Carrier at Milliken Creek Inn, shot on Leica Q3 (Stinson Carter)

The green rubber strap with steel rivets is easy to adjust and fastens with a clasp similar to what a steel bracelet would have. The quick-change system lets you remove it with two button pushes. As easy as it is to remove, it still felt secure holding $9,000 to my arm. 

I haven’t seen a picture that truly captures the green dial of this watch in person. In certain light it is actually quite dark, and then in bright sunlight it is extremely bright, with a sunburst texture that gives it movement beyond that of the hands. If the shade of green were any brighter it might be too much, but the tone is just on the right side of looking bold but still classic. In short, your ten-years-from-now self will still appreciate your color choice.  

Lamborghini Urus Performante at Seven Apart Winery, shot on Leica Q3 (Stinson Carter)

The rhodium-plated hands glow brightly in the dark, and because the simple layout includes only the hour, minute, and second hands and lumed numerals and indices, it’s very easy to read day or night. The steel case has a convex sapphire crystal and a see-through sapphire caseback through which you can admire the IWC movement, which features a 60-hour power reserve and ceramic components that the brand says are virtually “wear free.”

After traveling with it in luxe conditions and then wearing in my normal life after I got home, I can say that it’s the kind of watch that feels great when you’ve got a Lamborghini key fob in your hand—and just as good when you don’t. It’s also a watch that gets noticed, but mainly for its looks. Only people who are “into” watches recognize it as an IWC from a distance. 

IWC Racing Green Dial at Roy Estate (Stinson Carter)

In other words, it’s a watch that announces boldly and in bright green, “If you know, you know.” $8,950 at IWC.com

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