Hans Zimmer's Watch Is as Big and Powerful as His 'Dune' Score

Sure, we can wax poetic about Timothée Chalamet’s various Cartiers all day. (And we do.)

But someone else (and his watch) caught our eye recently at the Dune: Part Two premiere in London this past week. Storied German composer Hans Zimmer upped the horological ante with a complicated timepiece from IWC: a Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire in bronze. Launched in 2019, this heavy-hitting QP combines the Schaffhausen-based brand’s Big Pilot silhouette with a quantieme perpetuel complication, which mechanically accounts for the different lengths of months throughout the year and requires very little adjustment.

The winner of two Oscars and four Grammys, Zimmer is one of the most widely lauded film composers in contemporary cinema, having scored The Lion King, Gladiator, and much of Christopher Nolan’s cinematic oeuvre. A willing adopter of emerging technologies, Zimmer is famed for incorporating electronic elements into his scores and has earned a reputation as a cutting-edge thinker.

In 2022, Zimmer partnered with IWC on a suite of tracks inspired by the maison’s colored ceramic Top Gun Pilot’s Watch collection, debuting them at a concert in Geneva during that year’s Watches & Wonders trade show. For someone like Zimmer, a great appreciator of intricate machinery, the links between horology and electronic composition are surely myriad. (In fact, you can hear Zimmer speak about it in this GQ-arranged interview.) So while he isn’t a brand ambassador per se, the partnership established with IWC a couple years back has brought Zimmer into the horological fold—hence the perpetual calendar spotted on his wrist.

Zimmer sporting another IWC Big Pilot’s Watch—the Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Ceratanium—during a performance in Dubai last year.

Suzanne Teresa

The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire was the pièce de resistance from the upgraded Spitfire collection that debuted in 2019: While simple time-and-date models and chronographs in stainless steel were certainly part of the lineup, the bronze-cased watches with green dials were the real show-stoppers. Slotting into the later category, the Perpetual Calendar is housed in a positively enormous 46.2mm bronze case—meaning it was a bold choice for Zimmer to strap one on with a suit jacket—and features a mesmerizing array of functions on its dial: Powered by the in-house Calibre 52615 movement, it displays the time, day, date, month, year, power reserve, and the moon phases for both hemispheres.

Essentially a small mechanical computer, the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire has the shape and aesthetics of a timepiece from the 1940s the onion crown, large Arabic numerals, and sword hands are pure B-Ühren military watch fare—with the analog tech of a Prophet 5 synthesizer. The only question that remains? Why Zimmer neglected to rock the Top Gun “Mojave Desert” version, whose sand-colored case looks like something fished from the deserts of Arrakis. A missed opportunity—but there’s always the next premiere.

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