The next time you’re careening around a Formula 1 course, or in a jet plane doing loop-the-loops in the sky (or simply dreaming about it), don’t forget to bring along the new Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL from IWC Schaffhausen.
Equipped with a patented shock absorber system called the SPRIN-g PROTECT, the result of eight years of development, the watch is designed to withstand accelerations in excess of 30,000 g, a claim proven through a series of impact tests at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. (A cantilever spring made of Bulk Metallic Glass cushions the movement, which can move independently of the case and, therefore, come to a gentler stop.)
“If a pilot accidentally hits his watch against a hard surface in the cockpit, for example, accelerations are in the range of 300 to 1000 g,” Dr. Lorenz Brunner, IWC’s department manager of research and innovation, explained in a statement. “Our shock absorber system protects the movement so efficiently that it has survived accelerations in excess of 30,000 g in impact tests.”
Part of IWC’s refreshed pilot’s watch collection, the timepiece is the first product to emerge from the watchmaker’s new IWC Experimental engineering division, where the brand researches cutting-edge materials and other applications designed to make its timepieces more robust—such as the use of Bulk Metallic Glass, a type of solid non-crystalline material with greater elasticity than conventional metals.
The in-house caliber 32115 that powers the automatic watch (to the tune of 120 hours of power reserve) is fashioned from a lightweight and highly rigid high-tech aluminum alloy, while the 44 mm case is made of Ceratanium, a proprietary titanium alloy that is lightweight, durable and scratch-resistant.
Production of the Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL will be limited to 10 pieces a year, all of which will be available — for $83,600 — exclusively through IWC boutiques or the brand’s concierge service.