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IWC Pilots Chronograph Spitfire IW387901 & IW387902 Review

It’s an interesting time on the market for vintage steel watches, not to mention the demand for new stainless steel watches from premium manufacturers like IWC Schaffhausen. Desirability has reached an all-time high over the last few years, so it makes perfect sense that IWC’s Pilot’s Chronograph Spitfire model is as high in demand now as it was when it debuted in 2019. So too is the bronze iteration with an enrapturing patina that promises to age with time, growing in character on the wrist, no doubt.


There are a couple of interesting attributes to note about these two models (the ref: IW387901 in steel and the ref: IW387902 in bronze). Firstly, the siblings were the first to house an in-house movement from the Maison’s 69000 Calibre family. Let’s think about that for a second… The 69000 series is used in IWC’s high-performance chronograph watches and is equipped with a column-wheel mechanism – the preferred choice for any true watch connoisseur. The appeal of the column-wheel mechanism lies in its exquisite hand finishes and the complexity of its design, which promises better precision and more accurate functionality compared to the cam-lever type. Secondly, both models are also smaller than IWC chronographs of the past. These timepieces measure a 41mm diameter. The designs are tough and tool-like but with a vintage flair that is sure to appeal to collectors of 1940’s style pilot’s watches.


Both the bronze and steel versions of the Chronograph Spitfire watch leave quite an impression on us. The bronze variation presents the time on a rich olive-green dial, whereas the steel version exudes more of a classic feel on the wrist. Speaking of the case, it’s also water-resistant to 60 meters and features a screw-in crown that protects the internals of the watch from water damage.


Back to the dial of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire and what becomes instantly apparent is how cleverly laid out the dial is. The chronograph counters located at 12, 6 and 9 o’clock provide 30-minutes, small seconds and 12-hour functions respectively. Measuring elapsed time is quite a novelty concerning the bronze IW501002 watch since the pushers crafted in this unusual material provide both a tactile and visual experience for the wearer. Of course, the central hour and minute hands are treated with luminescence, aiding legibility at times when it’s needed the most. Whether you choose the black dial (steel option) or green dial (bronze option), the day and date features located at 3 o’clock are easy to reference underneath a lens crafted from anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass.


Inside the case is the Calibre 69380 which draws on the manufacturer’s indigenous expertise in Haute Horology. It ticks away behind a transparent caseback at 28,800 beats per hour. You can utilize the movement’s generous 46-hour power reserve by switching to another favourite from your collection, returning to the watch a couple of days later to find it hasn’t missed a beat. Surrounding this meticulous heart is the company’s proprietary soft-iron inner case for providing optimum protection against magnetic fields.


If choosing between the dial colours has you stumped, the strap options should help you decide. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire reference: IW501001 boasts a stunning textile green strap, while the reference: IW501002 is completed on a traditional brown leather strap with off-white contrast stitching down the sides. Both bronze and steel pin buckles are engraved with the iconic IWC lettering ad finished in the material that matches their respective case.


You can check out further details on both the steel and bronze IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire models here. 

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