The 2019 collection by IWC includes the Spitfire Automatic, which presents some significant differences with respect to its predecessor, the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII (still in production). The most important feature is that it has an in-house movement, Calibre 32110, instead of the ETA 2892-A2. This has been achieved with only a small increase in price, from €4,600 to €4,960 for the basic steel model. Calibre 32110 runs at 4 Hertz and has IWC’s characteristic pawl-winding system that operates in both directions of the oscillating weight’s travel. It provides a power reserve of 72 hours.
Better date positioning
In comparison with the Mark XVIII, on which the date was positioned a little further towards centre, the new Automatic Spitfire has a date window nicely positioned at the 3 o’clock position. The presence of a date window meets the demands of the contemporary market – of course there will always be customers who prefer a pilot’s watch without a date window as per the original.
Pilot’s watch heritage
The new Spitfire Automatic is a descendant of IWC’s historic reference 431 dating to 1940, and the Mark 11 introduced in 1948. Another difference of the new watch regards the distribution of the luminescent paint, which looks to be just on the hands, the hour markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, and the reference triangle at 12 o’clock. It is in an “old radium” colour which adds vintage character.
Steel case, canvas strap
The new Automatic Spitfire has a matt dial, and a steel case with differentiated satin and gloss finish. It creates a military feel, reinforced by the canvas strap. The case is 39 mm in diameter and 10.8 mm thick, with a solid caseback featuring an engraving of the Spitfire. It has a better-than-average water resistance of 6 bar, 60 metres. A soft iron inner case provides resistance to magnetic fields.
Price of the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire
The Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire IW326801 costs €4,960. This makes it almost entry-level for IWC, though much more expensive with respect to the other German brands making classic pilot’s watches. A version in bronze is also available, IW326802, at €5,600. More information from the IWC website.