I must admit that I have a long history with pilot’s watches from IWC. From Top Gun Ceramic Double Chrono which is now somewhere in Africa in a mission, bought from me by my all time best friend, to a much more classy IWC Saint Exupery Power Reserve. I regret some decisions about selling some of them. But I know that it’s not a perfect world and I can’t keep them all. What I realized in all these years is that I must have a pilot watch from IWC in my collection all the time.
At this particular moment when I’m writing this review I must admit that I found the best match for me. This is the IWC Pilot’s Spitfire Chronograph 41 mm powered by the in-house calibre 69380. What do I like about it? Hard to say, but I’ll try to figure it out.
First is the case, Stainless Steel SS 316, not 316l, which is the low carbon content and therefore easier to damage. The water resistance rating is 60 meters. A correct value for a pilot watch and more than enough for swimming or water sports. The Size of 41 mm is perfect for my hand, although not very big. The polished and brushed surfaces on the case create a nice make-up on it.
Second is the movement, I can’t feel the wobble like in Valjoux 7750 base movements. The chronograph action is smoother because of the column wheel architecture. The seconds sub-dial is at 6 o’clock not at 9. It incorporates an impressive number of 231 components, 33 jewels and running at 28800 vph.
The crystal, like all the modern IWCs, is domed sapphire with a perfect anti reflective coating on both sides. The dial is very nice, with small dials for chronograph and seconds a little recessed, creating a nice 3D texture. It has also a day/date “complication”. The watch surprises me with the way that it catches the light and is visible even in very low light. All this without involving the old radium look like luminova applied on the 12, 3, 6, 9 marks, hour and minutes hands. I was not very happy with the fake patina, but after wearing it for a while I must admit that the small colour difference on dial elements it’s not bad at all.
I have a comfy feeling that, like all IWC’s pilot watches, there is a soft iron case inside the watch protecting the movement from almost all magnetic fields that could damage the movement, because in these times you can have a strong magnetic field anywhere. From laptop closing mechanisms to cell phone cases equipped with rare earths neodymium magnets.
The strap has 20mm at lugs and comes to 18 mm at buckle. It’s a nice strap overall but nothing special to mention about.
In conclusion, this IWC Spitfire has the expected build quality, a perfect size for a regular wrist, a classic dial and an outstanding and updated movement. Cheers!
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