IWC revamped, retouched and reinvigorated their Portuguese line of watches this year with some excellent new watches. However the watch which caught my eye in particular is this one.
This watch is focused on pilots (no surprise there), let’s see how. First off there’s the name, Spitfire, the name of perhaps the most famous plane of the second world war. This all depends on which perspective you take, some will say the Boeing B-29 Superfortress was because of the raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in particular. Others will argue for the Avro Lancaster which was used in the renowned Dam Busters and their bouncing bomb raids in Germany. Whichever plane you dream of soaring through the skies in, the reputation of the Supermarine Spitfire is second to none.
IWC decided to immortalise it in this pilot watch. Let’s take a closer look. At first glance you’ll notice it’s got the pushers of a chronograph to it, because it indeed has a chronograph built-in. A very useful feature for those who enjoy flying high at their desk and for those who really do fly. The indicators for the chronograph function are found in the 12 O’clock sub-dial.
The other aeroplane focused feature is the two large number indicators on the dial. You may recognise the design as it’s using the same format as the Outsize Date found on timepieces by A.Lange & Söhne. The windows on the left hand side display the date with the window on the left changing daily and the one on the right changing every 10 days, there’s also a clear date tag below it so you shouldn’t be able to confuse it easily with the other side. The right side has the month indicator on it and works in exactly the same way except for the fact the numbers change less often. These windows form part of the perpetual calendar that’s been built into this watch, with the leap year indicator nestled in on the running seconds sub-dial which is found at 6 O’clock.
My favourite addition to this piece is the automatic rotor on the other side. It’s using the profile of the Spitfire itself as decoration. The movement is the IWC calibre 89801 which is an in-house made column wheel vertical clutch movement. It’s made of 474 different parts and has a power reserve of 68 hours.
Pricing is bound to be high considering the heavy hitting movement inside the watch itself and the design touches on the outside. For the steel version of the watch the price is 32,000 Swiss Francs. If you want the watch in rose gold (which is available), expect it to jump up to 52,000 Swiss Francs.
This watch features gorgeous hands and a lustrous dial with clever pilot focused features as well as little design touches and a packing movement. I wasn’t much of a fan of IWC timepieces, but I certainly am now.
Mechanical chronograph movement – Stopwatch function with hours, minutes and seconds – Hour and minute counters combined in a totalizer at 12 o’clock – Flyback function – Small hacking seconds – Perpetual calendar – Large double-digit displays for both the date and month – Leap year display – Screw-in crown – Glass secured against displacement by drops in air pressure – See-through sapphire-glass back – Rotor in the shape of a Spitfire
IWC-manufactured calibre 89801
Frequency 28,800 A/h / 4 Hz
Power reserve 68 h
Materials case in stainless steel, slate-coloured dial, brown alligator leather strap, folding clasp in stainless steel
Glass sapphire, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
Water-resistant 6 bar
Diameter 46 mm
Case height 17.5 mm
HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN – CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
A keen bass guitar player, Harlan enjoys all the perks modern watchmaking technologies the industry has to offer. Although you might catch him sampling Omegas or the Rolex, Harlan loves all things haute horology, with his three favourite brands being A.Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. He hopes to study timekeeping more in depth someday and will never be able to thank his father enough for introducing him to the industry. Read his articles here.