Combining two stand-out trends in watchmaking this year – bronze case and green dial – the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire is part of the new generation Spitfire line first seen in 2002 as part of IWC’s “flieger” collection, which includes the Big Pilot, Top Gun and various Mark series. The Spitfire pieces celebrate the brand’s historic links to the world of aviation and its first pilot’s watches, which date back to 1936, the year the iconic Spitfire took to the skies for the first time.
Due to the technical requirements, pilot’s watches were designed to be bold, robust tools for navigation and flight timing. The timeless design of these essential instruments is echoed in the new lineup, which also celebrates IWC’s association with the Royal Air Force from 1948 and pays tribute to the outstanding engineering expertise of the designers of the legendary British fighter plane.
There are five models, with two designs presented in bronze, each inspired by the purity of the instruments of the Spitfire. The chronograph design references the aesthetic of the earlier Mark II navigation watch and is the first member of their pilot’s collection to feature a chronograph movement from the 69000 series. The rugged IWC 69380 calibre automatic, with its classic column wheel design, is housed in an “understated” 41mm bronze case – smaller than IWC’s other pilot’s watches – which will develop a unique patina over time. It is also available in steel with a black dial.
The watch features among the Foundation of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève pre-selected watches in the “Petite Aiguille” category – for an exceptional watch with a retail price between CHF4 000 and 10 000 (about R59 000 and R148 000) – which includes the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Silver. IWC also has its Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition “Le Petit Prince” in the “Chronometry” category. The winners in each of the 14 categories will be announced in early November.
This is a 12-hour chronograph, with central seconds, and displays stopped hours and minutes in two subdials at 9 o’clock and noon. The movement also allows for a day and date display and has a power reserve of 46 hours. To complement the bronze and olive green dial, the watch comes on a brown calfskin strap. A soft-iron inner case shields the movement from magnetic fields.
• IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire costs around R105 500. Local enquiries through RLG Africa (011) 317-2600.