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Brian M. Afuang
January 15, 2019    |    

Flying High

New Spitfire models in IWC Pilot Watches collection all powered by in-house engines

THAT IWC Schaffhausen parked a 1943 Spitfire on its exhibition booth at the 2019 Salon de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva is only fitting; the watchmaker is the main sponsor in an expedition called “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight.” This project, set to literally take off later this year, involves a circumnavigation flight around the world, covering a distance of around 43,000 kilometers and a visit to some 30 countries along the way.

Plus, the presence of a genuine, fully restored Spitfire suitably highlights IWC’s introduction of a new line of Spitfire models belonging in its iconic Pilot’s Watches collection. All the new Spitfire pieces are powered by in-house calibres.

“The Pilot’s Watch Spitfire demonstrates our engineering expertise as we have integrated high-quality IWC-manufactured calibres into all Spitfire models,” says Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, during the watchmaker’s presentation in Geneva.

The 69380 in-house calibre powers two Spitfire chronographs while two from the 82000 calibre family also see duty in pilot’s watches for the first time. Both the 82000 movements have been enhanced with complications — the new cal. 82760 gets the patented Timezoner mechanism while the cal. 82710 adds a UTC function.

The top-spec perpetual calendar Spitfire is powered by the in-house cal. 52615 that boasts of a Pellaton winding mechanism with ceramic components, as well as two barrels. For their part, two Spitfire automatic models for the first time are given the in-house cal. 32110.

Seven pieces comprise the new Spitfire range, two of which are chronographs and another two are automatics.

Leading the fleet is the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire (Ref. IW503601), which is limited to 250 pieces. The watch wears a 46.2-millimeter bronze case with an olive green dial, gold-plated hands and a brown calf leather strap. Its cal. 52615, which has a power reserve of seven days, is displayed inside a sapphire crystal caseback. Its perpetual calendar identifies different month lengths and leap years automatically and will work until 2100 without needing any correction.

Next is the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” (Ref. IW395501), which adds the patented Timezoner mechanism to the self-winding cal. 82760 (it has a 60-hour power reserve). This model, limited to 250 watches honoring the “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight” project, has a 46-millimeter steel case, black dial, rhodium-plated hands and a green textile strap. The watch can be set to a different time zone by simply rotating the bezel, with the hour hand, 24-hour display and the date adjusting simultaneously.

A 41-millimeter bronze case with a titanium caseback, an olive green dial, gold-plated hands and brown calf leather strap mark out the Pilot’s Watch UTC Spitfire Edition “MJ271” (Ref. IW327101). This model, limited to 271 pieces, integrates the Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, function into the in-house, self-winding cal. 82710 (which has a 60-hour power reserve). Turning the watch’s crown from the central position moves the hour hand forward or backward in hourly increments. When the dial crosses the International Date Line, the date display changes automatically as well.

Two Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire (Ref. IW387901 and Ref. IW387902) models are available, both with 41-millimeter steel cases, black dials, rhodium-plated hands and green textile straps. Their stopped hours and minutes are displayed on two subdials at 9 o’clock and 12 o’clock. Their cases are lined by a soft-iron inner cage that protects the cal. 69380 — which has 46-hour power reserve — against magnetic fields.

Bringing up the rear are the two Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire (Ref. IW326801 and IW326802). The IW326801 has a 39-millimeter steel case, black dial, rhodium-plated hands and a green textile strap while the IW326802 is defined by a bronze case of the same size, olive green dial, gold-plated hands and brown calf leather strap. Protecting the watches’ cal. 32110 (which has a 72-hour power reserve) against magnetic fields are cases with soft-iron inner cages.

“Just like the Spitfire, our watch collection of the same name also perfectly combines form and function. The design is inspired by the puristic instrument design of the iconic Mark 11 navigation watch,” Grainger-Herr says.

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