On August 5 of last year, pilots Matt Jones and Steve Boultbee Brooks took off from Goodwood Aerodrome in the United Kingdom on a 27,000-mile journey around the entire globe in a Vickers Supermarine Spitfire, a 76-year-old airframe specially modified for the journey. The Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” marked the beginning of the record-breaking flight, and now there’s a watch to mark the end of the journey. Meet the Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Spitfire Edition “Mission Accomplished.”
The duo returned to Goodwood Aerodrome on December 5, completing the four-month trip to over 20 countries. The mission was a success. There were various weather-related challenges over the course of the journey, but nothing the team couldn’t overcome. During a 50-hour maintenance check at Japan’s Hanamaki airport, it was reported that G-IRTY, as the plane was called (a reference to its serial number), had passed with flying colors. The plane remained safe for the remainder of the trip. The Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Spitfire Edition “Mission Accomplished” memorializes the trip with a caseback engraving featuring a silhouette of the Spitfire. A power-reserve indicator is also visible through a porthole in the titanium caseback, and 500 examples of this celebratory watch have been produced. The platform has been utilized as a way to pay tribute to IWC’s own heritage in the form of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Edition “150 Years.”
As a nod to the idea that the Spitfire encapsulates British resilience and a steadfast, unbreakable spirit, the Silver Spitfire was polished to a mirror-like finish, but during their original production, many Spitfires wore a livery that included elements in Dark Green and Dark Earth as designated by the Ministry of Aircraft Production. The dial of this watch is done in a similar tone, and like a number of models in the non-limited Spitfire line, the case is rendered in a bronze that will patina over time. Spiritually and visually, it slots in perfectly next to the other watches in the Spitfire line.
Inside, the hand-wound IWC Caliber 59235 powers the watch for up to eight days. And there’s a sizable date display window at 12 o’clock that lets you count down the days until you’ll need to wind it up again, but of course, there’s the aforementioned power-reserve indicator visible through the caseback.
Some variations of the Spitfire airframe featured a pressurized cabin, like the MK VII Spitfire that entered service in 1942, as it was designed as a high-altitude fighter platform and operated where the air is thin. Theoretically, the crystal of a watch could become unseated should the bubble canopy of the Spitfire break at high altitude where the air pressure is very low. The pressure differential between the environment inside of the watch and the depressurized cockpit could pop the crystal out from the gaskets. In the days of acrylic crystals, this was a common occurrence. This new watch is impervious to rapid changes in pressure, however. IWC has engineered and employed gaskets and case geometry to insure the crystal stays securely in place in the event the watch experiences rapid changes in pressure. Granted, if this were to happen, the pilot would have bigger problems to worry about!
In conjunction with the launch of the watch, you can find pilot Matt Jones participating in IWC’s new TIME WELL SHARED initiative. The program aims to raise spirits amidst the global health crisis by showcasing media from IWC’s brand ambassadors, employees, and partners. There’s an option to donate to the cause, with the proceeds going to the Save the Children foundation. As part of the effort, you can find Jones recounting the trials and tribulations of The Longest Flight in this video.
Model: The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Spitfire Edition “Mission Accomplished”
Reference Number: IW510506
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Spitfire Green
Indexes: Printed Arabic numerals
Water Resistance: 60m
Strap/Bracelet: Leather Flieger-style strap
Caliber: In-House Caliber 59235
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, power-reserve indicator
Power Reserve: 8 days (192 hours)
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
Additional Details: Movement is protected from magnetic fields by a soft-iron inner case
Pricing & Availability
Price: CHF 17,100
Availability: Online and boutiques.
Limited Edition: Yes, 500 pieces.
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