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IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze

IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze Watch Releases

As more brands announce their SIHH 2019 releases, IWC has given us a taste of its novelties this week, including the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire in bronze. Within IWC’s popular and wide-ranging Pilot’s Watch collection, this is among a number of models dedicated to the Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter aircraft called the Spitfire used around and during World War II. Taking their Spitfire Chronograph design, IWC has re-imagined it with a patina-ready bronze case, an earthy green dial to match the tone, and a couple other notable updates.

IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze Watch Releases

For those familiar with the Chronograph Spitfire that IWC currently makes, you will note some substantive differences besides the bronze case and green dial color. First, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze measures in at 41mm wide with a case thickness of 15.3mm, which is a significant reduction in terms of wearability from 43mm wide (and insignificant addition of 0.1mm in thickness). Another big difference is that the new models are powered by the IWC in-house 69380 automatic chronograph movement, which beats at 28,800bph, with 33 jewels, and has a power reserve of 46 hours – this is as opposed to previous models that used an ETA-based movement (“IWC 79320”). IWC has also equipped the watch, as one would expect, with a sapphire crystal, and a just-in-case water-resistance of 60 meters. To ensure no wrist discoloration from the bronze, the caseback is titanium.

IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze Watch Releases

The bronze case material seems to just be a fun bonus. If you’ve never owned a watch in bronze before, it’s a really fascinating case material in that it doesn’t rust, and instead, oxidizes. During the oxidation process, the bronze takes on a totally different look from its fresh-out-of-the-box shininess, and begins to have dark grey and green coloration as an oxidation layer forms. No piece of bronze is going to oxidize in the same manner, which means that every bronze-cased watch over time looks quite different from any other.

IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze Watch Releases

Bronze has increased in popularity in the last few years, with many brands releasing bronzed-cased watches, like Oris with their bronze Pointer Date that also has a green dial, for example. I’ve been a fan of the trend, as I really like the aesthetic of well-worn bronze and enjoy the process of watching the material oxidize. To go along with the bronze aesthetic, IWC has chosen a green dial for this Spitfire Chronograph, which I think looks fantastic. To round out the earthy design, IWC equipped the watch with gold plated hands, and a brown leather strap.

IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze Watch Releases

I like IWC’s pilot watches quite a bit – as I write this, I have my Mark XVIII on wrist – and I’m also a fan of bronze watches on top of that. I think IWC did did nicely with the green dial and gold-plated hands, and all together this is an attractive design. It should wear comfortably as well, judging by the 41mm case dimension. All in all, it checks a lot of boxes for my tastes, personally. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze is just one of the watches IWC has shown off ahead of SIHH, and we’re looking forward to seeing them all hands-on at the upcoming show. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze will be available for a price of 6,800 CHF. Learn more at iwc.com

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  • Ulysses31

    I think it looks beautiful, but it’s bronze, which for some people, including me, is a controversial choice. I like the subtle gold tone and the finish, but I wonder how well it’ll age. Still, it makes for an interesting contrast, having the rough outer case next to that neat, immaculate dial.

    • NaJo

      Mybmate had a bronze tudor; in just six months of daily weat it went to dark blackish bronze with several original goldish bronze spots! He sold it in a month loosing a grand. Its like you have to keep cleaning every mo th with a solution or else it can change drastically. If u dont then when servicing they take out movt and dip the case in a soln to bring back the glory.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    The bronze for me is a controversial choice. I simply don’t like it.

  • NaJo

    #metoo ! But I will be expensive and also dont go on my looks since i can change drastically if used daily in sweaty or moist conditions. I could even go dark with bright spots looking like a multicoloured mumbo jumbo if you dont clean me regularly. Fun apart, i would prefer a oris big crown pointer or even tudor BB.

  • ProJ

    Modern IWC Pilot chrono that actually comes in a wearable size? How the times change!

  • Basically, yes. The base architecture is 7750, but upgraded with column wheel and bi-directional pawl winding. IWC does produce the movement themselves though; it is not supplied by ETA or Sellita. So although yes I would call it “in-house”, it is still based on a 7750 and still comes with the 6-9-12 dial layout and it is still a rather thick movement. I suspect it would also come with the trade-off of only being serviceable by IWC.

  • Rupert Muller

    Basically, no. Although your are correct that IWC is not very transparent with their communication, the calibers in the 69XXX group are complete in-house developments. They are not based on Sellita or ETA movements and were developed from scratch.
    And while the visual layout is identical to the 7750, the subdials are different as the running second is placed at 6 and not at 9 o’clock.

  • ObjectOriented?

    Did the RAF even use IWC watches?

    • HarryJ41

      Yes. IWC Mark XI was the standard RAF Issue IWC.

  • IWC movements are so confusing. I’ve spent ages trying to work out exactly what these movements are. Information is about them is suspiciously thin. The clues about the movements heritage is all in the dimensions; at 30mm across and 7.9mm thick, it is exactly the same as a 7750. Likewise, it still has a horizontal clutch rather than a more modern vertical clutch (as used in the B01 and 9300 for example). I find Richmont brands in general are very misinformative about their movements. It isnt only IWC, but Panerai and Montblanc also try and make it sound like they have more sophisticated movements than they really do. JLC and Lange are about the only Richmont brands I actually trust.

    Yes, the 79000 series is essentially a 7750 with minor updates to bring it to IWC’s specs.

    You are correct, patents on the 7750 have long since expired (likewise for the 2824 and 2892). You could indeed use standard 7750 blueprints and call it inhouse, just as long as you do all of the manufacturing yourself. The Nomos Alpha calibre for example is a Peseux 7001, but updated with a 3/4 plate bridge design. Since they make every component themselves they can call it inhouse.

  • spiceballs

    Yes (Russell N) rust is metal oxidation.

  • What fresh hell is this?

    Oof!

    Now… blue dial and/or matching calendar wheels please.

  • al-nitak

    Parnis makes a decent version of these “Startimers” (am I right?), stainless steel (silver or PVD-coated), sapphire glass, Miyota quartz (we’re in the twenty-first century), at about 70 Euros. One of my three grail watches!

  • Mike Potts

    Now that’s beautiful!

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