Watchuseek Blog

Monday, February 13, 2012

IWC Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Chronograph

No aircraft I have ever flown has given me such a strong sensation of sitting in the cockpit of a technological masterpiece as the Spitfire.” 
Air Marshal Cliff Spink

This stunning new watch from IWC has it all. Elegance, technological brilliance and a high performance drive inspired by the Spitfire, one of the legendary aircraft of World War II.

The Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is the first Pilot’s Watch launched by IWC Schaffhausen to feature a perpetual calendar, a digital date and month display, and an innovative stopwatch display. The IWC-manufactured 89800 calibre provides a suitable drive.

Inspired by cockpit instrumentation

The multiple displays and complications on the dial of the Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month are of course less than the 79 instruments found in the Spitfire’s cockpit, but they still represent an unusually large number for a pilot’s watch.

This is the first IWC Pilot’s Watch to feature a digital display showing the date and month in large numerals. It was inspired by the Spitfire's cockpit instrumentation which showed vital data, such as altitude, in figures. In the case of a mechanical watch it takes a sophisticated wheel train to translate the day and month into the digital format seen on the dial.

Quick-action switch provides power when needed

This latest version of the Spitfire chronograph watch features an additional small window at 6 o’clock which displays the 4-yearly leap year cycle digitally. In 2012 this will include a leap day on the 29th of February. Because of the three digital displays, up to five different discs may need to be advanced synchronously without having a noticeable influence on the watch’s accuracy.

The energy required to do this is generated by a quick action switch. Every night, when the date display moves forward, it taps a little of the energy, stores it and then discharges it precisely at the end of the month when the date and month discs advance, and at the end of the year when the leap year disc also needs to be advanced.

Perpetual calendar set until 2100

The perpetual calendar can be set using the crown and is pre-programmed until the year intervention until 2100.

The Spitfire Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month also has another special feature to the Pilot’s Watch. While stopped times up to 60 seconds are shown conventionally by the central chronograph hand, the hours and minutes recorded by the stopwatch can be read off on the totaliser at 12 o’clock.

Flyback function


The flyback function enables the chronograph to be reset to zero without having to be stopped first. This function has its origins in the aviation of the 1930s and 1940s when a pilot might have to fly certain curved radii by time or abandon a manoeuvre and start a new one immediately.

The designers integrated a double-pawl automatic winding mechanism into the IWC-manufactured 89800 calibre. The movement consists of 474 individual parts with a power reserve of 68 hours. The sapphire-glass back provides a glimpse to the inner workings complete with the rotor in the shape of a Spitfire silhouette.

The 46mm watch case is made from 18-carat red gold and the push buttons feature elaborate surface machining. The slate-coloured metallic dial contrasts with the warm gold of the case and the brown tone of the leather strap.

Hands, numerals and the gold-plated appliqu├ęs are coated with luminescent material allowing for excellent legibility by day or night.


Mechanical chronograph movement, stopwatch function with hours, minutes and seconds, hour and minute counters combined in a totaliser at 12 o’clock, flyback function, small hacking seconds, perpetual calendar, large double-digit displays for both the day and month, leap year display, screw-in crown, glass secured against displacement by drop in air pressure, see-through sapphire-glass back, rotor in the shape of a Spitfire

Calibre: 89800
Frequency: 28,800 A/h / 4 Hz
Jewels: 52
Power reserve: 68 hours
Winding: Automatic

Materials: case in 18-carat red gold, slate-coloured dial,
brown alligator leather strap, folding clasp in
18-carat red gold
Glass sapphire, convex, antireflective coating
on both sides
Water-resistant 6 bar
Diameter 46 mm
Case height 17.5 mm

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