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IWC Launch Duo of New Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfires in Titanium and Bronze

IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43 Spitfire

Earlier this year IWC introduced us to the new downsized Big Pilot sporting a 43mm case. Arguably their most significant release of the year, as it suddenly brought one of their most desired watches into the realms of accessibility and, crucially, wearability. Although it wasn’t universally loved by purists. Now though the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 has been given the mil-spec treatment with a pair of new Spitfire editions in titanium and bronze that riff on retro observation watches.

IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43 Spitfire Ref. IW329701

The first of the pair, Ref. IW329701, sticks closest to the traditional Big Pilot aesthetic, maintaining the high contrast matte black dial and stark white numerals. IWC have separated the minutes and seconds onto a circumferential scale with the hours on an internal scale, it’s a retro layout that makes it easier for pilots to spot the minutes at a glance while using visual navigation. The internal hours are in a slightly softer shade of grey that makes it easy to differentiate between the two.

IWC Big Pilots Watch 43 Spitfire

As for the titular 43mm case and the iconic fluted crown, they’ve been rendered in lightweight and robust titanium. The use of high-end materials makes sense since the watch has been designed with an RAF theme in mind – IWC built the Mark 11 for the RAF in 1948 – and the titanium plays into that mil-spec fantasy, albeit not a material you associate with vintage style pieces. The solid caseback is also titanium and bears the engraving of, any guesses? A Spitfire.

IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43 Spitfire ref. IW329702

Second up we’ve got the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire Ref. IW329702, in military green with a bronze case and matching green buffalo leather strap. Here, we’re back to the classic single track hour, minute and seconds scale for a less busy appearance à la field watch. Plus, the hands are gold-plated, tying them in with the bronze and green colour scheme perfectly.

And of course, the bronze case will patina beautifully over time giving you that retro-vintage vibe – the specific bronze alloy used contains aluminium and iron making it 50% harder than standard bronze so it’s nice and durable too. However, like its sibling, the caseback is made from titanium and features a Spitfire

IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43 Spitfire ref. IW329701
IWC Big Pilot's Watch 43 Spitfire ref. IW329702

Unless you’re a Big Pilot purist, and there are many people who are, the new Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfires are absolutely charming and stylish watches. I love them and there’s more to love inside because they both house the IWC 82100 automatic calibre with Pellaton winding and a 60-hour power reserve.

Price-wise the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfires are slightly less accessible than the base Big Pilot’s Watch 43, the black dial version costing £7,700 and the green £8,000. Although both are still dramatically less than the traditional 46.2mm models.

Price & Specs:

Model: IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire
Reference: IW329701 (titanium case, black dial), IW329702 (bronze case, green dial)
Case/Dial: 43mm diameter x 14.4mm height, titanium or bronze case, black or green dial
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre 82100, automatic, 22 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 60h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Brown calfskin or green buffalo leather
Price/availability: £7,700 (titanium case, black dial) and £8,000 (bronze case, green dial)

More details at IWC.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.