Also available in: Deutsch
With the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire, the Swiss noble manufacturer has a purist Pilots watch collection on the market since 2003, which offers everything a Pilots heart desires with a recently revised design, a new in-house manufacture caliber and other features. Horando.de provided me with the luxury watch for an in-depth review!
For this watch review of the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire, I have again collaborated with Horando. The online portal is the place to go in German-speaking countries if you want to buy luxury watches quickly and safely. At Horando you can find watches from Audemars Piguet, Breitling, Omega, Hublot, Rolex, Panerai, Tag Heuer, Tudor and IWC. Horando is also an official concessionaire and authorized dealer of the brands Alpina, Frederique Constant Geneve and U-BOAT Italo Fontana.
All watches are originals. Manufacturer’s warranties, certificates and original packaging are therefore always included, if available. Internationally, the delivery is made by insured value shipping. If you appreciate the personal contact, you can also take your watch from the pick-up lounge in Bamberg. If you want to sell your watch, Horando will buy it and certify it.
All important links to the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire and the online store can be found at the end of this article.
Pilots watches – a core competence of IWC
IWC and Pilots watches – two terms that are inextricably linked. Founded in 1868 and based in Schaffhausen, the International Watch Company was already producing high-quality pilot watches in the luxury segment in the early 20th century. At the latest since the takeover by the luxury goods group Richemont (A. Lange & Söhne, Panerai) and the resulting revival, the pilot watches belong to the core of the model range. The demand for the highest quality and performance has not changed in the last 153 years, even if the pilots who wear the watches are different today. You regularly see the exclusive timepieces on the wrist of Lewis Hamilton. His Formula 1 team Mercedes AMG is sponsored by IWC.
Minimalism and functionality are the hallmarks of the Automatic Spitfire aviator line, which includes some of IWC Schaffhausen’s most popular models. Named after the legendary propeller plane Spitfire, which was built around the same time as IWC’s Mark 11, the purist design of the Automatic Spitfire models was inspired by the navigation watch.
Since their introduction in 2003, IWC has repeatedly given its Pilots Watch collection thorough revisions in order to set new standards, particularly in terms of technology. The current generation features the new manufacture caliber 32110 for the first time. It is also worth taking a closer look at the watch. The model with the reference number IW326803 is now in my watch review!
The IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire in Hands On
If I had to describe THE typical Pilots watch, it would look like the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire. With a functional, easy-to-read dial, large Arabic numerals, a robust case and, of course, on the brown leather strap. These are main features of the compact Swiss Pilot that first catch the eye.
Compact is also the appropriate keyword. The pilot watch measures just 39 millimeters, which is almost small by today’s standards. However, you should not forget that such dimensions were anything but unusual in the past. In this respect, the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire is quite detailed. 10.8 millimeters in height is sporty!
On my wrist, the Pilots watch cuts a fine figure and knows how to please with harmonious proportions. A black dial combined with a brown strap made of calfskin – it really doesn’t get much more classic than that. Therefore, the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire can practically not fall out of fashion. The combination with the reference number IW326803 is stylish in every situation, no matter what the occasion.
Nevertheless, if this variant is too boring for you, I can recommend the other references of the collection. IWC offers several color and material combinations. According to IWC, my IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire is color-inspired by the cockpit of the Spitfire. Although Pilots watches were exclusively men’s watches due to their original field of use, the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire passes for unisex in my opinion. This is mainly thanks to the pleasantly compact case diameter.
The case – well made
Externally, stainless steel dominates the appearance of the Automatic Spitfire. The surfaces of the durable and resistant metal are exclusively matte and underscore the robust and functional look of the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire. Curved, the round case shape blends into the lugs. When it comes to workmanship, IWC Schaffhausen can’t be faulted for anything, but also for absolutely nothing. The case finish is impeccable. This is how a Swiss watch that counts itself among the luxury segment must look.
The beveled stainless steel bezel sits on top of the case, which has no reading function. As befits a luxury watch, IWC equips its Automatic Spitfire with a watch crystal made of high-quality sapphire. Sapphire crystal has several decisive advantages. Firstly, it is highly scratch-resistant and therefore durable. In addition, it protects the timepiece from high pressure or pressure drop – an indispensable feature in the cockpit. This also applies to the perfect legibility, which IWC achieves through anti-reflective coating on both sides.
The IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire is water-resistant to a depth of 60 meters. A respectable value, considering that the Automatic Spitfire’s stomping ground is not the coral reef, but the airspace.
The Pilots watch also scores points with its six-fold screw-down case back, which is adorned with the iconic outlines of the Spitfire propeller aircraft that gives the watch its name and exudes special charm. Finally, something a little different from the viewing windows! The engraving makes an excellent impression.
IWC’s new manufacture caliber in detail
How does a luxury watch differ from a premium watch? How does it stand out? A pure marketing strategy? No – 5000 euros can be found, among other things, in the case. Because while a premium watch uses a (usually very good) movement from a supplier, IWC relies on custom-made and in-house manufacture calibers. They are up to the high demands of timepieces.
Since the last update of the Spitfire collection, IWC has been the first to equip the series with the new 32000 caliber family. The robust and reliable automatic movements are particularly durable thanks to a large number of wear-resistant silicon components. The IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire uses the caliber 32110, which has a power reserve of 72 hours (i.e. a full three days), making it so enduring that if you wear the watch on your wrist as a daily rocker, you’ll hardly ever need to rewind it. I had this pleasant experience during my testing days. At 28800 vibrations per hour, the movement contains 21 jewels. To keep the caliber 32110 from getting out of sync in everyday life, it is embedded in a soft iron inner case, which protects it from magnetic field radiation.
Winding the movement via the crown was very easy for me, because of the fluted sides. You have to keep in mind, that even pilots had to be able to set watch and stop times with thick gloves.
Dial and bracelet
You quickly find your way around the structured dial. No extravagant design elements, no subdials, just the bare essentials. Easy-to-read white Arabic numerals are printed on the black background. An exception is “12 o’clock”. Here, you’ll find a triangle with two dots. In the past, it was mainly used to give pilots a quick orientation.
In the dark, the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire inspires with terrific luminosity values. The minute and second hands, as well as the 12 o’clock marker, are coated with luminous material and guarantee excellent legibility even in poor lighting conditions. At 3 o’clock, a date window has been embedded. There is also a stop function for the second hand.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the bracelet. The IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire with the reference IW326803 comes with a brown calfskin strap, which couldn’t complete the aviator look any better. The leather is excellently crafted and pleasant to the skin – you practically can’t get more comfortable than that. This is luxury as well.
My conclusion about the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire
With the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire, the traditional manufacturer based in Schaffhausen has not reinvented the wheel. But why should it? Does a watch always have to come up with groundbreaking revolutions to be really good? The answer is ‘no’, as IWC proves with its Pilots line. Visually, the Big Pilots Watch Automatic Spitfire is a timepiece that pleases with its reduced and classic design. Less is more here. And lovers of Pilots watches should get their money’s worth.
On the other hand, the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire presents the best craftsmanship on the inside. The manufacture caliber 32110 is one of the watches’ strengths and impresses with its impressive values. Overall, this makes the IWC Big Pilot´s Watch Automatic Spitfire one of the most perfect Pilots watches I have ever tested.
IWC makes the total package pay well and calls a recommended retail price of 5,050 euros. In the Horando store, you save 10% and can buy the watch for 4,750 euros. The new watch comes with box and papers and has the international manufacturer warranty. All important links can be found below.
My final thanks go to Horando for the great cooperation!