When it comes to luxury watches, the inconvenient truth is that most of the population will never be able to afford one. That is especially true when it comes to brands like IWC, who’s cheapest products often still break the bank. An exciting development that came out of SIHH 2019, a major watch convention, is that this brand is coming out with one of their most accessible options yet. It is the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire, also known as the IWC Spitfire. Below, I assess this watch and answer a couple of frequently asked questions about IWC.
In 1868, a skilled craftsman named Florentine Ariosto Jones decided he was going to start his own timepiece manufacturing business. He called it the International Watch Company, which was later shortened to IWC. Despite some initial resistance from local government, Jones soon opened his factory, and his little watch brand started churning out products.
World War II nearly ended IWC, but also led to its massive growth. The first reason why is that its home city of Schaffhausen was bombed during the war. One of those bombs actually directly hit the factory, but luckily, never exploded. What did explode was IWC’s sales, as wristwatches became incredibly popular after the war had ended.
Like so many other brands, IWC suffered massively in the quartz crises of the 1970s and 80s. Though they never went out of business, changes needed to be made. The company ended up selling a majority stake to an investment group, which was then later bought by the luxury giant Richemont. These days, IWC is stable and back to being focused on what they love most: Creating fantastic watches for their customers.
History of the IWC Spitfire
The exact IWC Spitfire watch I have in front of me today is quite new, but the roots of this collection go back to 1948. At that time, IWC was supplying pilot watches to the British Air Force. Due to that nature of the job, the timepieces needed to be tough, legible, and resistant to air pressure. IWC delivered on these goals and gave the Air Force a slew of fantastic products.
Like so many other tool watches, the IWC Spitfire isn’t just for pilots. Instead, consumers around the world have developed a love for the style and heritage that they bring to the table. These watches look great, perform exceptionally, and are some of the most popular products on the market.
Watch companies often make one of two mistakes when they create their products. They either design a gaudy watch with too much to look at, or they make their pieces dull and boring. IWC masterfully walks the line between these two traps, and the Spitfire is a glowing example of that.
The result is a watch with an extremely legible dial, a tastefully placed date window, and a charming color scheme. My favorite aspect is the latter. It has a black dial, white dial elements, a hint of tan, and even a bit of red. All of that combines to make a watch that is very aesthetically pleasing.
Materials & General Craftsmanship
The standard Spitfire model has a stainless steel case and sapphire crystal, both with an exceptional level of quality. You also get to choose between a few straps, the most notable of them being textile and calfskin. The last option you’ll have is getting a bronze case. While I have the stainless steel option in front of me, the bronze version is undeniably charming. Ultimately, no matter which materials you choose for your IWC Spitfire, you will be getting a high level of quality.
The IWC Spitfire comes with one of their best movements, the 32110 Calibre. It is accurate, automatic, and manufactured in-house. The thing I like best about it, though, is its 72-hour power reserve. That’s a lot more than you usually get at this price point and is a factor that will make owning the product much more convenient.
Two Frequently Asked Questions
I often get the following questions when it comes to IWC watches:
1: Where can I find IWC watches for sale? – While you can buy their products in a variety of places online, I recommend using a website that guarantees authenticity and has an excellent reputation.
2: How much are IWC watches? – That will depend on the level of quality you want out of your watch. Some of them, like the Spitfire, cost less than $5,000. Others will be more like $15,000.
IWC Spitfire Overall Impression
The IWC Spitfire is truly the best of both worlds. It has a classic pilot watch aesthetic, is manufactured by one of the best brands in the world, and costs under $5,000 to purchase. For me, buying one of these timepieces is a slam dunk, and I recommend it for any collector out there who’s interested.