March 6, 2012
by Ariel Adams
One of the most talked about watches from IWC for 2012 is the long-named Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month watch. Trust me, it is easy to mess that name up when trying to remember it. Especially because it also has a chronograph and does not include that part of the watch in the title. This sexy looking 18k red gold watch is an expensive and luxurious pilot watch from the brand that many wanted to be offered in steel and thus more affordable. Maybe next year… but this is still one nice looking Big Pilot style timepiece.
As I mentioned before here when debuting all of IWC’s new for 2012 pilot watches, the new collection is rather large. As a potential consumer I would be a bit overwhelmed given all the seemingly good choices. In this article, I discussed the new IWC Top Gun watches hands-on. The Spitfire collection gets a lot of attention as IWC upgrades its look making it a more high-end piece. In this article I will discuss the 46mm wide Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month and the 43mm wide Spitfire Chronograph timepieces.
Neither of these watches contain new movements, but they do both contain IWC in-house made movements. Borrowed from an existing Da Vinci model from a few years ago, the Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month watch contains a super slick movement called the IWC caliber 89800 automatic. You can see the neat looking plane-style automatic rotor through the caseback. With 68 hours of power reserve, the movement has a 12 hour chronograph and perpetual calendar indicator. The month and date are shown digitally on large indicators (big date, big month). There is a leap year indicator placed inside of the lower subsidiary seconds dial. The upper subdial contains two hands and is used for measuring both the elapsed chronograph minutes and hours.
For me, the best part of the Spitfire watches are the beautiful applied hour indicators and hands. The indicators are applied and filled with very white lume for excellent clarity and legibility. Against the metallic dial it makes for a superb look that is hard to complain about. Even with all its functions, the large 46mm wide Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is clean looking and easy to read. You won’t be blamed for falling in love with this watch.
More reasonable for most people are the Spitfire Chronograph watches. These come in both steel and 18k red gold models and are 43mm wide. According to IWC that is one millimeter up from the previous size of the watch. While Big Pilot watches from the brand this year are coming in at 46mm and 48mm wide, it is nice to have a great looking 43mm wide model in the collection. Having said that, I did mention to IWC that it would be fantastic to have a 46 or 48mm wide version of the traditional Big Pilot watch with this metallic slate dial and applied hour indicators.
On the wrist, these watches aren’t small, but it is funny to go from one of the Big Pilot Top Gun pieces to a 43mm wide watch. I would easily wear one of these Spitfire Chronographs on a daily basis given their handsome looks. IWC opted for a bi-compax chronograph that measures 60 minutes. It does have that open date window I am not a huge fan of, but it doesn’t bother me as much here as it does in other watches. The movement is in-house made and is the existing caliber 89365 automatic with 68 hours of power reserve. Over the dials are sapphire crystals and the case is water resistant to 60 meters.
A glorious addition to the Spitfire Chronograph watch collection for 2012 is the new metal bracelet. Boy does it kick ass in terms of features and quality. It is a rather simple design on the outside, but does frame the look of the watch well. Solid in its construction, the deployment has a nicely made micro-adjust system and solid milled and decorated clasp. If you opt for the steel version of the IWC Spitfire Chronograph, I highly recommend you get the bracelet as well as the alligator strap. Why both? Well you don’t need them but here is my thinking: The IWC pilot watch look has always looked sweet with a black or brown alligator strap – and you don’t want to miss out on that look. At the same time, this bracelet is nice enough to want to wear at least half the time.
Fit and finish on the watches is high and you’ll more than likely appreciate the little details. With great “anytime wear” looks and in-house made movements, watches like this are going to help keep IWC near the top of the luxury watch heap for 2012. Look for the new IWC Spitfire and other new for 2012 pilot watches soon.