Editor’s note: Like you, we are also excited for the new releases from various brands in 2022. Before we get to go hands-on with those, here’s our short preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire. For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
In April 2021, IWC released the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 as a smaller sized offering. Then in December last year, IWC Schaffhausen added two new references to their Pilot’s watch range: ref. IW329701 with black dial and titanium case on a brown calfskin strap featuring black hands, and and ref. IW329702 with a green dial nestled inside a bronze case on a green buffalo leather strap featuring gold-plated hands.
Just in case you are someone who is allergic to bronze, both the two new IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire models feature a titanium case back that is engraved with the iconic Spitfire airplane. The presence of bronze — bronze here is mixed with copper, aluminium and iron making it 50 per cent harder than standard bronze — this does mean that the watches will develop their unique patina over time, something that can tell the story of your own journey through life.
Big, bold and legible, these don’t necessarily disrupt the market, but build upon an existing winning formula. For anyone who likes bronze or titanium watches, the two new IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire watches form the genesis of a stellar “mil-spec” homage collection.
(P)Review – IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire
The “mil-spec” theme of these two new IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire models should be a major selling point.
With a 43mm diameter and 14.4mm thickness, these do feature a somewhat annoying 21mm lug interhorn spacing. But thankfully, the straps come with the brand’s EasX-CHANGE system. The greater than 52mm lug-to-lug spacing is worrying for those such as myself with slimmer wrists, but for anyone with 7” or larger wrists, these would be an excellent offering.
I do appreciate watches that are built for practical use, and it is comforting to note the presence of 100m water-resistance, the inclusion of a soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields, and the engineering element of the glass being secured against displacement caused by drops in air pressure. A pilot’s watch that’s both for desk flyers and real flyers.
Basic Movement Specs – IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire
Inside both the two new IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire models ticks the IWC-manufactured calibre 82100. The 30mm diameter movement is based on the IWC caliber 80110 and is fitted with the IWC Pellaton automatic winding system, which uses both directions of the rotor to wind the mainspring.
It features 22 jewels, beats at the standard frequency of 4Hz, and provides a welcome 60-hour power reserve.
For those who like to look at their watch booties, the sapphire crystal reveals a skeletonized rotor and a decently decorated movement decorated with circular graining and Geneva stripes.
That’s All Folks!
Personally, I can see a true armed forces and IWC Schaffhausen fan adding both of these to their collection; they may be part of the same collection and feature the same basic specifications, but it is the differing dial execution that really speaks here. On one hand you have exceptional real-estate and clean-cut high legibility with the green dialled IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire IW329702, and on the other hand, you get a more rugged looking field watch that evokes an imagery of the IWC timepieces used by different branches of the British military.
If I had to pick between the two though, I would go for the green dialled version; not only is it in sync with last year’s green trend, but IWC always makes a killer statement with their bronze cases and green dials; the new IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire IW329702 retailing for 14’000 AUD can be that pièce de résistance in someone’s watch collection.
To find out more about the two new IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire and other IWC Schaffhausen watches, please head to their website here. All images unless stated otherwise are courtesy ©IWC Schaffhausen. These are eligible for registration under the My IWC care program where you can benefit from a 6-year extension to the standard 2-year International Limited Warranty.