Hitting the Mk.
Like the IWC Automatic Spitfire? You’ll Love it With an In-House Movement
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Price: $4,350 (steel); $4,900 (bronze)
Movement: IWC manufacture calibre 32110
Case Diameter: 39mm
Case Thickness: 10.6-10.8mm
Case Material: Stainless steel or bronze with titanium back
Water Resistance: 6 Bar
Unique Features: 72-hour power reserve; in-house movement
Upshot: There are quite a few releases this year from IWC in time for SIHH 2019, many of which are tool watches, but perhaps the most accessible is the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire, priced at $4,350 in steel and $4,900 in bronze with a green dial. Taking numerous design cues from the “Mark” series of watches, the Automatic Spitfire upgrades the original pilot’s watch line with a brand-new in-house movement from the IWC 32000 calibre family.
Who It’s For: Those who like the aesthetics of the Mark line (currently at Mk. XVIII) but who perhaps want something a little different (red text on the dial; a yellow triangle at 12 o’clock; the option of a bronze case, etc.) should certainly check out these two offerings, as well as someone who cares about in-house calibers. Additionally, someone who’s looking to make his or her first purchase and would like a tough, everyday tool watch should check out the Automatic Spitfire — with 39mm cases, power reserves of 72 hours and glass secured against displacement by drops in air pressure, these are certainly two watches that can take a beating without any fuss.
First Impressions: Following in the footsteps of IWC’s original pilot’s watch line (the Mk. XI dates way back to 1948), the Spitfire Automatic features a perfectly sized case at 39mm (admittedly a step up from the original 36mm of the Mk. XI, but excellent proportions for a modern watch). One slight annoyance (of which there were very few) with the Mk. XVIII was that the use of the ETA 2824-2 meant that the date window was positioned slightly inward of the hour track, making for a certain degree of aesthetic awkwardness. As the Spitfire Automatic uses the new 32000 calibre and has been designed from the ground-up, the date window appears slightly better positioned and makes for a better dial in person.
Insight: Bronze cases paired with green dials seem to be somewhat of a popular trend over the past few months across several brands. The use of the material for the Spitfire Automatic makes for a handsome watch, especially given that the shade utilized is a dark olive color and appropriate to the military origins of IWC’s pilot’s watch line. The vintage-style lume and matching yellow triangle at 12 on the steel-cased version differentiate the watch somewhat from the Mk. XVIII and give it something of s vintage aesthetic, and the addition of a green textile strap on this model (the bronze version ships on a brown calf leather strap) furthers the mil-spec look. Of course, the main attraction may be the inclusion of the 32110 calibre movement from the 32000 family, giving these two models more value than their ETA-equipped cousins in the Mark line.