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.
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.
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.
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.
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