Reviewing the IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire

IWC Pilot

IWC has introduced a new squadron of Spitfires in its Pilot’s Watches collection debuting in 2019. For the first time, the Pilot’s replica Watch Automatic Spitfire features a self-winding movement from the new 32000 series manufacture movement in its case. We tested one of the first available pieces from the WatchTime archives, with original photos by Olaf Köster.
The name “Spitfire” first appeared at the turn of the millennium as a limited series of 1,000 fake Rolex watches, and in 2003, IWC began producing a series of pilot’s watches named after the legendary aircraft. With its pale dial, it was considered a “more elegant Mark”, but it was somehow overshadowed by the 14th incarnation of the classic pilot’s watch, which was named the Mark XV. A decade later, the old Spitfire – now a large pilot’s watch with a perpetual calendar and a dark dial – approached the classic Mark but disappeared inconspicuously under the wearer’s shirt cuff as an elegant three-hand watch with a pale dial. After the almost indistinguishable Mark XVIII of 2016 and the large pilot’s watch Spitfire of the same year, the symbiosis of the two seems almost logical, while the Mark quietly departs. The Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII can still be found in IWC’s digital catalog, but only as of the “Le Petit Prince” version.
The 79320 movements (based on the ETA Valjoux 7750) are now ticking inside Le Petit Prince for $5,250. The new Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire is equipped with the newly manufactured caliber 32110. IWC is offering two versions: the one we tested with a stainless steel case, black dial, and green fabric strap for $4,350, and another version with a bronze case, green dial, and dark brown calfskin strap for $4,900. These are not only the basic models of the Spitfire collection but also embody entry-level timepieces that lead to the world of IWC manufacture
In short, the watchmakers at Schaffhausen have put a modern movement fit for everyday use into a timeless replica Rolex watch, while making unobtrusive changes. As if the Spitfire had never existed in its original format, this new offering ably continues Mark’s legacy. It’s a pretty cool movie, and it certainly has something to do with the carefully restored Spitfire’s round-the-world flight from London in early August 2019, which IWC is supporting. The aircraft, built in 1943, flew more than 43,000 kilometers (26,719 miles) in a few months, visiting some 30 countries on the way. The green textile strap lined with leather seems to refer to the adventure of this round-the-world flight. The strap is inspired by the color code of vintage fighter planes and keeps the watch close to the wearer’s wrist – reliable, stylish, and maverick.