Last but not least, of the four pilot watch ‘teasers’ that IWC has released ahead of the SIHH 2019, is this well-proportioned, vintage-inspired, bronze-cased, no-nonsense chronograph upgraded with a manufacture movement. All of that might sound like music to the ears of many collectors. At least, it does to us. Meet the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze ref. IW387902.
Earlier this year, IWC introduced the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph IW377724, a nice, slightly vintage-inspired piece bringing back some of the design elements found on the Mark II and the 1990s ref. 3706 – the simple Flieger Chronograph, without the rattrapante function. Basically, this watch was the modern iteration of the model that relaunched pilot’s watches at IWC. Today, IWC applies a similar concept to the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire… and more!
The new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire ref. IW387902 will be easily recognizable thanks to its distinctive bronze case. It isn’t the first time that IWC relies on this trendy material for a pilot’s watch. Bronze was used exclusively on the Big Pilot, which was a limited production piece – see here, the reference IW501005. For the SIHH 2019, IWC brings bronze to the masses, by using it as the case material for a more accessible chronograph watch with a non-limited production. The case has a matte finish and will gain patina over time. For safety reasons, the caseback is in titanium.
However, that’s not the only novelty concerning the case. Most importantly, this watch has a reduced diameter of 41mm – making it closer to the original Flieger Chronograph (at 39mm) and two millimetres smaller than the standard Pilot’s Watch Chronograph IW377709 (which is 43mm). For us at MONOCHROME, this is a wise decision. Not only will the watch look more compact on the wrist, but it also allows for a more balanced dial and its multiple indications.
Matching the bronze case, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire ref. IW387902 displays a highly original colour for the dial: olive green. The 3-6-9 indexes are small squares and the index at 12 o’clock is the iconic triangle – all of that inspired by the 1990s watches and the Mark XI. Being a member of the Spitfire collection, this watch relies on the signature propeller-shaped hands, in this case, plated in gold to match the bronze case. The day-date indication, which has always been part of the model, is still placed at 3 o’clock.
The other main evolution concerns the incorporation, for the first time in a “simple” Pilot’s chronograph, of a manufacture movement. The ref. IW387902 is equipped with a movement of the 69xxx family – introduced first on the 2016 Ingenieur and recently used on the Portugieser 150th Anniversary 3716. This automatic movement is based on an integrated/column-wheel architecture. The new chronograph calibre has been designed and developed from the ground-up together with ValFleurier (Richemont Group production facilities), as the new entry-level chronograph of the brand to slowly replace Valjoux ébauches (more details about the movement in this in-depth article.) Because of the anti-magnetic requirements (soft-iron cage), the movement isn’t visible here.
Finally, a brown calf leather strap with a bronze pin buckle complements the design. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire Bronze will be officially presented at the SIHH 2019 in January.
Availability to be confirmed. Price is EUR 6,990. More details at iwc.com.