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Speed & Precision Unite: Lewis Hamilton & IWC Schaffhausen

If you take a look back at IWC Schaffhausen’s original Big Pilot’s watches, you’ll appreciate a design reminiscent of classic pilot watches of the 1940s. Their style imparted a strong military aesthetic when worn on the wrist, often hand-finished on authentic brown leather calfskin straps and traditional buckles. Characterised by their large case shapes, which house an equally large movement equipped with a 7-day power reserve, IWC Big Pilot’s watches were met with resounding success and became an instant collectable amongst watch connoisseurs, uniting enthusiasts of both the aviation industry and IWC’s impeccably crafted luxury tool watches. The design of the IWC Big Pilot’s watch also appeals to a champion of the racetrack too. Lewis Hamilton, the 7-time World Drivers’ Championship title winner who currently competes in Formula 1 for Mercedes, has long been a fan of the desirable Pilot’s watch and its instantly recognisable conical shaped crown.


Lewis Hamilton’s competitive nature and the watchmaker’s tenacity seem to go together hand-in-hand.  The champion racing car driver has admitted to carrying at least 5 timepieces with him wherever he travels, acknowledging the importance of styling his outfit based on the colour of the wristwatch he picks out. In the past the Formula 1 racing champion has been spotted wearing the IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Edition ‘Lewis Hamilton’, the IWC Schaffhausen Pilot World Timer, the IWC Big Pilot and the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph.



When questioned before about his personal taste and interest in luxury watch brands, IWC Schaffhausen was like a knew jerk reaction. His immediate response required no contemplation and it’s not hard to see why. Hamilton described his dream watch to be a legible, tangible watch with weight and substance on the wrist. His appreciation for Tourbillon and Perpetual Calendars mixed with his favourite materials (black carbon and rose gold) would be his choice in design if he ever got the chance to create his own. Legibility and accuracy were, of course, no-brainers and luckily these are qualities that come as second nature to Schaffhausen-based watchmaker, IWC Schaffhausen,  who can also lay claim to several firsts in its 150-year heritage. IWC Schaffhausen put itself on the map with innovations like the Pellaton winding system and its in-house made soft-iron inner cage, developed to protect the movement from damaging levels of magnetism.


Since 2004, IWC Schaffhausen has been working directly with Mercedes-Benz AMG to capture the essence of the Petronas Formula 1 team that Lewis Hamilton competes for. The watchmaker launched the 45mm titanium-built IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Lewis Hamilton watch ref: 3796-02 in 2014 as a commemorative timepiece dedicated to the driver himself. It launched in the same year Hamilton won his first title with Mercedes-AMG. The quality of the case materials nod to the key values underpinned by Mercedes-Benz – mass and strength and boasted a design based on the image of a Formula 2 machine. The lustre of the carbon fibre dial gave the timepiece a unique three-dimensional effect while its three-link bracelet felt supple yet substantial on the wrist.



Lewis Hamilton currently holds the record for most career points, most pole positions, most points in a season and most grand slams in a season, as well as making history as the world’s youngest F1 champion of all time.  Over the last year, Lewis Hamilton has become recognised even more so for his stand against racial discrimination. Helping to break down racial barriers within his field of sporting expertise whilst wearing a blacked-out IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar watch.  He made a strong statement with the model secured proudly to his wrist in reference to the Black Lives Matter Movement. The all-black wristwatch from the Big Pilot’s watch collection featured a black dial surrounded by a black ceramic case and a matching black bracelet made from the brand’s patented Ceratanium compound. The movement, equipped with a seven-day power reserve also offered a day and date feature, a month window and year in four digits, not to mention a Perpetual Moonphase indicator for Northern and Southern hemispheres. Its stealthy black design was a stark contrast to the watch he collaborated with IWC to create just a year before – a watch that was infused with plenty of colour.


Back in 2019, Lewis Hamilton joined forces with the prestigious watchmaker to create a very personal Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar watch. The Bordeaux red colour of its sunray-brushed dial interacts beautifully with a matt black ceramic case made from Zirconium oxide. The cone-shaped crown and caseback of this IWC Big Pilot’s watch are crafted from 18ct rose gold and the striking tones of said dial match the watch’s Bordeaux red coloured textile strap. The Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar watch ref: IW503002 measures the typically large sized 46.5mm case diameter that the collection has become so renowned for and is limited to just 100 pieces worldwide. Considering his love for large, bold Perpetual Calendar watches, perhaps no other Formula 1 driver could pull off such a daring and dramatic timepiece. The luxurious 18ct rose gold and black ceramic complication watch is ideal for travelling from one destination to another thanks to its ergonomically developed leather band which fastens comfortably to the wrist. The precious metal elements of the watch exude a premium status while the black tones keep the watch looking both modern and sporty.



Built solidly from the ground up by one of the world’s most sophisticated Swiss luxury watch manufacturers, it seems an expertly engineered IWC watch couldn’t have more in common with the world-famous British racing driver if it tried. Both Formula 1 driver and watchmaker share the same commitment to precision, excellence and perseverance, making some of the past collaborations highly sought-after amongst fans of the motorsport and luxury watch industry alike.


You can check out our full range of IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilots watches and IWC Perpetual Calendar watches here.

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