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Lewis Hamilton spotted wearing a new IWC at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton spotted wearing a new IWC at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix

Alvin Uy

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class has a rich motoring history and off-road prowess thanks to its maximum robustness and performance. It has a utilitarian heritage and design cues that have proved much stronger over time. With these characteristics, IWC finds the root of the sustained success and popularity similar to the brand’s Big Pilot’s Watch. As the luxury German carmaker’s technical and brand partner, IWC Schaffhausen has launched two special Big Pilot’s Watch editions to celebrate these modern design icons.

With over two decades of partnership with Mercedes-AMG, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer introduced the Big Pilot’s Watch AMG G 63 (Ref. IW501201) with a case and crown made of 18-carat Armor Gold, a black dial and a black rubber strap with microfiber inlay and the second watch made of a newly-developed ceramic matrix composite (CMC) case. The black and gold color code is inspired by the exterior paintwork and interior finishing of the recently launched Mercedes-AMG G 63 “Grand Edition”.

Seven-time Formula One world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton was spotted at the recently concluded Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit wearing this very exclusive timepiece. Hamilton finished third at last weekend’s race and is the brand’s ambassador as well.

IWC uses Armor Gold which is an innovative alloy that has enhanced the hardness values of gold to make it more resistant to mechanical damage. Making the relatively soft metal into a stronger one thanks to an improved microstructure, making it significantly harder and more wear-resistant than conventional 5N gold. IWC employs the combination of sand-blasted surfaces and polished edges that lends this Big Pilot’s Watch into a more contemporary and elegant character.

This model is also IWC’s first one to use a ceramic matrix composite (CMC) case. The CMC case was engineered in close collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). And unlike conventional carbon fiber-reinforced polymers, the fibers of this composite material are embedded in a matrix of ceramic material rather than polymer. Therefore, CMC components are extremely damage-tolerant and more insensitive to thermal shocks, making them an excellent material of choice for applications with extremely high requirements in terms of lightness, strength, and temperature resistance from aerospace to the manufacturing of brake discs for sports and luxury cars.

“The manufacturing process for this lightweight and strong material is extremely complex. To achieve perfect quality, we had to overcome countless challenges – from selecting the right raw materials for the fibers and the matrix to defining the exact parameters for the different steps of the process. With its first CMC watch case, IWC again demonstrates its expertise in engineering advanced material solutions,” explains Lorenz Brunner, Department Manager Research and Innovation at IWC Schaffhausen.

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A closer look at the two opposing sub dials of the watch shows that its two external white rings imitate the typical headlights on the front side of the G-Class. The black dials are embossed with a relief-like technical structure inspired by the air intakes of Mercedes-AMG performance cars. Unlike the classic Big Pilot’s Watch, which has printed numerals and indices, these special editions feature appliques that have been PVD-coated in black and filled with luminous material giving the dial a much more premium look.

Both versions of the Big Pilot’s Watch AMG G 63 used the IWC-manufactured calibre, a proven and highly robust and precise automatic movement. The parts of the winding system that are subject to particularly high stress are designed and manufactured from virtually wear-free zirconium oxide ceramic. Developed by IWC’s former Technical Director Albert Pellaton during the 1940s, this ingenious self-winding mechanism uses even the smallest movements of the rotor in both directions to build up a power reserve of seven days in two barrels. These very exquisite movements are visible through tinted sapphire glass back, which also features a Mercedes-Benz star and are reminiscent of the spare wheel cover on the backside of the G-Class.