Two pilots are about to attempt an aviation record, and IWC has their backs.
With all the releases going around at SIHH, it’s easy to get lost in the news. But this one isn’t likely to get ignored.
Late last year, a couple of pilots—Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones—announced that they were going to make an attempt at a new world record: flying a Spitfire across 43,000 kilometers and 26 countries.
And what’s so special about that? Well, the Supermarine Spitfire is a vintage fighter plane that isn’t meant to be flown anywhere near that kind of distance (it’s got a range of 750 kilometers). The aircraft is recognized as an icon of the British War, where it was flown by the Royal Air Force as they took on the Luftwaffe.
Now, the ancient British plane is about to come out of retirement to circumnavigate the world for the first time. Because glory doesn’t get old: it just needs a new paint job.
Boultbee Brooks and Jones hunted the old plane down, found it in a museum, and restored every part of it, naming it the “Silver Spitfire.” They had the thing polished to a gleaming chrome finish, and decided to fly it around the world, calling the expedition “The Longest Flight.”
The two pilots are the founders of the Boultbee Academy, which is the only officially recognized aviation academy for Spitfires. Boultbee Brooks himself holds a record from 2004 for flying from the North to the South Pole in a helicopter. Because, of course.
As far as expeditions go, it’s more than a bit audacious, and IWC has created a watch to match the journey’s daring. Debuting at SIHH 2019, The Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” (Ref. IW395501) seems to be just as ambitious as the expedition itself.
The watch has a rotating disc with a 24-hour display, which is placed underneath the black dial. This lets the dial itself move closer to the glass, making it more legible. The bezel also has markings for major cities across the world, and you can rotate it to change time zones quickly. The entire watch is powered by the new in-house calibre 82760, made of hard-wearing ceramic and equipped with a power reserve of 60 hours.
In terms of looks, the watch pretty much aces that department, with the stainless steel case, black dial, and textile strap echoing the basic design of a Spitfire. Only 250 of these watches exist, and this particular model is part of a new collection called the Spitfire line.
IWC is no stranger to pilot watches, having produced technical aviation pieces since the 1930s and, in the 1940s, even supplied watches to the Luftwaffe (that’s the other side of the Battle of Britain). The Spitfire Edition Longest Flight might be the newest addition to that history, but just like the Spitfire itself, it’s likely that these will be popular long after the limited run is over.
See the rest of the Spitfire collection below:
Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire
Perpetual calendars automatically adjust the day and date without any assistance, unlike regular calendar watches. This thing will run without adjustment for more than 80 years. Meanwhile, you can just stare at the double moonphase display while you wait for 2100 to roll around.
Pilot’s Watch UTC Spitfire Edition “MJ271”
The UTC function allows you to set a second time zone easily, and once you cross the date line displayed on the dial, the date jumps automatically. Home time is displayed on the 24-hour window at the top half of the dial.
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire
Always cool to have, the chronograph function is especially useful on a pilot’s watch. Even at just 41mm, all functions are legible and the dial doesn’t feel too busy.
Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire
The no-frills model in the Spitfire line is still a good-looking watch. Clean lines and a date display window mean you can easily take it from the plane to the streets.