The List




The List


IWC Pilot's Watch - Spitfire Chronograph


There are many luxury watches available today that have some connection with flight. The Rolex GMT Master, for example, will forever be associated with Pan-Am and the glamour of being a commercial pilot in the 1950s, when much of the populace had not been near a plane, let alone travelled to far flung continents on one. But it is IWC that can, arguably, lay claim to possessing one of the longest associations with flight, having supplied watches to military pilots since before the Second World War.


Which brings us to the IWC Pilots’ Watch Spitfire Chronograph, which has earned its place on The List by combining the timeless style of the company’s traditional Pilots’ Watch with an automatic chronograph movement, whilst retaining the simplicity and clean lines for which the company is famous.

The Spitfire Chronograph, named after the renowned fighter plane, uses a familiar Valjoux 7750 movement, which features 24 jewels and a 44 hour power reserve, and is modified in-house by IWC. Water resistance is to 60 metres and there is also a soft iron inner case to provide protection against magnetism.

Choice is limited to type of strap: steel or brown crocodile leather. In our opinion, the latter is the one to go for, as it enables the Spitfire Chronograph to perform the dual role of sports and dress watch; something that IWC’s competitors have struggled to achieve (nil points to Breitling and Rolex, then.)

It is a fairly wide watch at 42mm, but not overly deep, and does not swamp a narrower wrist like some aerospace-influenced timepieces. With the leather strap, it is also, fairly light, although there is a feeling of solidity to it (albeit not so much that you would wish to wear it when competing in more boisterous sports.)

Like most IWCs it is stylish in an understated and simple way and is certainly not the type of watch generally purchased by those who view their timepieces as little more than external indicators of bank balances. IWC, fortunately, does not have the same brand presence in the minds of the nouveau riches as certain watch manufacturers.

One of the cleverest things about the Spitfire Chronograph is its ability to successfully tread the line between vintage and modern, without ever appearing like a pastiche of past glories. It is functional yet elegant and speaks volumes about its wearer to those who appreciate fine timepieces. That it does not feel out of place in either formal or informal environments is merely the icing on a very desirable cake.