With a history lesson up our collective sleeve, I can confidently say that just like Navy compatriots Panerai, perfect replica IWC pilot watches are meant to be oversized and as such it is completely appropriate to wear them that way in our modern world regardless of wrist size. I went to test this hypothesis at my local best copy IWC boutique.
Though there are a few lines in the Pilot collection, I focused on the Mark XX, cheap fake IWC Pilot’s Chronograph and Big Pilot series’. Of course, the 36mm Pilot is a shoe-in for small wrists!
The luxury replica IWC Mark XX released at the end of 2022 skipped number XIX to significantly upgrade its specs. When compared to its predecessor the Mark XVIII, the in-house movement is tricked up with a whopping 120 hours of power reserve and the 40mm case now has a decent 100m of water resistance, all without astronomical price increases. Though already relatively thin for a tool copy watch at 10.8mm, for us petite types, the most important change is a reduction in the lug length, bringing this beauty down to a much more approachable 49.2mm lug-to-lug. This seemingly small but important change rings true in the wear, with the lugs graciously curving down to create a comfortable fit that though big, doesn’t overpower my 5 ½ inch wrist.
Where the Mark series is perhaps seen as more approachable overall, the chronographs are known for being both thick and large in wear, two features that are intimidating for small wrists. After all, 43mm has been the prevailing case size in modern references. Thankfully, in 2019, best 1:1 replica IWC released the chronograph in 41mm with a 50mm lug-to-lug and since then have gradually expanded the number of dial and material options with these dimensions. Though smaller than the usual chronographs in the Pilot collection, the specs are still daunting, so I was surprised by how well the steel version I tried fitted. Though long, the lugs curve down nicely to hug the wrist and the positioning of the strap inboard of the lugs allows the strap to be pulled directly down. My only criticism was that the 14.5mm thick case sat perhaps a little precariously on my wrist, though I must say the striking stylings of the Mercedes AMG Petronas version might just make me forget all my misgivings. In all seriousness though, I imagine a lighter AAA quality copy IWC proprietary ceretanium option would limit if not completely solve this issue. At present, only the 41 Top Gun comes in ceretanium but I am hoping that Swiss made fake IWC expand their successful Lake Tahoe, Mojave and Woodland colour schemes to include the 41mm segment.
That brings us to the biggest of them all; the IWC Big Pilot replica for men, so named for its oversized crown. First released in 2002 in 46mm this watch is an homage to the behemoths of old so is meant to be oversized on the wrist. In 2021, however, Swiss movement fake IWC downsized the case to 43mm for a more ergonomic wearing experience. I sense a recurring theme here and I’d like to think that perhaps IWC caved in to the lobbying of us smaller wristwatch wearers. Nonetheless, even at 43mm it remains a sizable slab for someone like me and with a lug-to-lug of 53mm is not for the faint of heart. On my wrist it does wear very large and top-heavy, so I’d suggest this is probably for someone with a wrist that’s over 6 inches. But if you’re eager, despite it’s unfortunate 21mm lug width, this copy watch is a strap monster and would wear incredibly well on a NATO. The racing green version I tried was, after all, spectacular.