A Classic, Updated

One of IWC’s Most Beloved Watches Gets a a WWII Inspired Update


January 13, 2019 Watches By
This week, the Palexpo facility in Geneva, Switzerland, will become the center of the watch world for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, a luxury watch show rivaled only by BaselWorld in relevance and prestige. We’ve got a team on the ground, there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.
Key Specs
Price: $8,950
Availability: TDB
Movement: IWC Cal. 82710
Winding: Automatic
Case Diameter: 41mm
Case Thickness: 14.2mm
Case Material: Bronze with titanium back
Water Resistance: 6 Bar
Unique Features: In-house movement with UTC time; limited edition of 271

Upshot: Expanding upon its Spitfire line in the Pilot’s Watches collection, IWC is releasing several new watches inspired by the legendary WWII British fighter aircraft. Excitingly, each of these pieces features an in-house IWC-manufactured calibre, and takes design cues from the Mk. II, first released in 1948. Two of the models, the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” and the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire, were covered by Gear Patrol back in December. Here, we’re going to be concentrating on a model that was just announced today, the Pilot’s Watch UTC Spitfire Edition MJ271.

Who It’s For: While IWC’s UTC models aren’t new (the first one was introduced back in 1998), the concept remains novel: a window built into the dial displaying a 24-hour wheel allows the user to be able to read both Coordinated Time Universal and local time simultaneously, which is perfect for pilots and frequent travelers. Here, we see the watch updated with a new in-house calibre and set in a bronze case with titanium case back and olive green dial. The red “Spitfire” text and yellow triangle help tie the watch into the Spitfire line.

While UTC is a timing protocol used particularly by pilots and for navigation purposes, in practice, anyone who’s looking for a dual-time watch or a watch to use especially for traveling will likely appreciate the UTC Spitfire Edition.

First Take: The UTC is just a dope watch, largely in any iteration. Dual-time watches provide some of the most useful complications outside of plain-ol’ time telling, especially for the frequent traveler. While the casual wearer may not care as much about the inclusion of an in-house IWC calibre (though he or she may certainly notice the corresponding hike in MSRP), the use of a bronze/titanium case and a green dial certainly gives this UTC iteration a unique look, which is likely going to be the main selling point for all but the most diehard IWC collectors.

Insight: One of the most notable aspects of IWC’s Pilot’s Watches collection is the heritage that the brand has to draw upon (think of the Mk. 11) and the way in which that heritage informs its modern designs. Though the casual user might not have a use for displaying UTC time, playing upon the idea of UTC is smart: the brand has a chance to attract the professional user who might actually rely upon the complication while, saying, piloting an aircraft, as well as the casual user who might only use the watch to display a second time zone (the UTC time is meant to be displayed using the hour hand, while the 24-hour window is actually meant to display home time, but these could conceivably be set as desired to display any two time zones). That the glass is “secured against displacement by drops in air pressure” and a soft inner case provides anti-magnetic properties seems further proof that IWC plans to continue producing professional, mechanical tool watches well into the digital age.

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