Reviewing of IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire

IWC has introduced a new Spitfire Squadron to its Pilot’s Watch collection that debuts in 2019. The self-winding movement from the new 32000 Series Manufacture movement appears for the first time in the case of the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire fighter. We tested one of the first available features from the WatchTime archives and had original photos taken by Olaf K√∂ster.
“Have I seen this copy watch somewhere before?” That’s what you might have thought when you first saw the classic pilot’s watch Automatic Spitfire. And you wouldn’t be wrong, as it was inspired by the legendary Mark 11 of 1948.
In the late 1940s, IWC responded to an invitation from the British government by developing a unique wristwatch for Royal Air Force pilots. Production started in 1948 and the first timepieces were developed in November 1949. The model remained in airborne service until 1981. It encased IWC’s equally popular hand-wound Caliber 89, which has a soft inner case to keep it against the adverse influences of magnetic fields. The boldly designed dial is clearly legible by day and by night. The Mark XII with automatic movement and date followed, but connoisseurs had to wait until 1994 before it finally debuted.
The name “Spitfire” first appeared at the turn of the millennium with a series of replica watches limited to 1,000 pieces, and in 2003, IWC began making 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 somewhat overshadowed by the 14th incarnation of the classic pilot’s watch named the Mark XV. A decade later, the old Spitfire – now a large pilot’s watch with perpetual calendar and dark dial – approaches the classic Mark but disappears inconspicuously under the wearer’s shirt cuff as an elegant three-hand watch with a pale dial.
After the Mark XVIII of 2016 and the Spitfire, the big pilot’s watch was virtually indistinguishable, the symbiosis between the two seemed almost logical, and the Mark quietly left. The Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII can still be found in IWC’s digital catalog, but only as a “Le Petit Prince” version.