One of the very first watches that I reviewed for Worn & Injure was the Archimede Pilot Chronograph Trikompax, a big, burly pilot’s watch made from German steel. In that review I commented on how the pilot’s watch is such a no-nonsense and simple tool view idea, that it’s almost absurd to spend significant money on a enjoy in this genre that lands in the luxury segment. From the review:
This is a style of see that is so straightforward, I’ve always found it difficult to justify paying IWC prices for a design that is shared by so many small brands who happen to do it rather effectively. If you just want the look there are many, alternatives at almost any price point.
You will know what? I the stand by position that. At least to an extent. If what you’re after is a proper tool, there are a great number of watches made by the likes of Archimede, Hamilton, Laco and others that do a great job of getting into which shearling bomber jacket with Ray-Bans kind of aesthetic. The things i realize now after spending quite a bit of time wearing the new IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire is that this isn’t really a tool observe. I mean, it is in the sense that will it’s built like a tank and seems conceived to do a very specific job, but you may be asking yourself what it really is is a statement look at, more similar to the Rolex Submariner or Cartier Tank in its overarching philosophy than the Archimede I reviewed all those months, and watches, ago. What surprised me about the BP 43 wasn’t its quality, though. I knew it would be a well made, nice thing. The thing that continues to surprise me is just how much I liked the brashness of it. Because, when it comes down to it, I’m not really a very brash guy.
By now you’re probably well aware of what the IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire actually is: it’s a (slightly) smaller version of the iconic (yes, it really is an icon at this point, please excuse the cliche) Big Preliminary. That check out, which has adorned the hands of many notable celebrities, as well as was championed by one in particular who has apparently joined the Grateful Dead and just released a good album associated with 80s inspired synth rock (what? ), typically comes in at 46mm. If you haven’t worn a full size Big Initial, let me tell you, perpendicularly, it’s clownishly big. It was a product of a very particular time, one that makes you wonder whether it was big timepieces that gave birth in order to hypermasculinity throughout the hobby’s culture, or the other way around. Regardless, restraint was never part of the style process.
The new IWC Large Pilot 43 Spitfire takes the radical step regarding downsizing the Biggest Pilot by three millimeters. You can imagine the actual pitch to be able to IWC instruments when this watch was taking shape: the Big Start - just not as big. One wonders what kind of crisis this might have caused at IWC. Their signature sit back and watch, with its defining characteristic in the name from the silly point, would right now barely measure larger than the Speedmaster Professional, which nobody really thinks is that large at all. It is now known, though, in which in 2021, in this period of time when smaller sized watches are slowly but surely coming back into favor, a 43mm pilot’s watch can still be a fairly upon object, with or without “big” within the name, and with or without all the baggage that comes with the main Pilot’s history.
To be perfectly clear, this is still a large watch. Not just in terms of measurements, but in the overall presence and place within the IWC eco-system of pilot’s watches. Let me take a minute to review the particular pilot’s view landscape in IWC, which as ever is broad, varied, and sometimes even a bit confusing. At the top of the range, you have the Big Pilot’s line, that consists of no fewer than eight models, including the BP 43 seen in this article, several basic variants in the OG Huge Pilot with its date display and power reserve indicator, plus a selection of perpetual calendars, tourbillons, and a completely wild Major Pilot meant to survive any impact possible.
Then there are the Pilot’s Watch Wathe, recently reintroduced and examined here through Blake Buettner. These wrist watches are a sibling to the Pilot’s Watch “Mark” series, currently on technology XVIII. But it doesn’t take a look at the Pilot’s Watch line - IWC also has the Top Gun, Spitfire, Le Petit Prince, and also Antoine de Saint Exupéry ranges, which usually all essentially mimic typically the “Classic” line of pilot’s designer watches to a certain extent, however with their own hook (the Succinct Prince wristwatches have blue dials, the very best Guns make use of ceramic, and so forth). The notable exception is the Spitfire collection, which has its own distinct look and feel, and is very much an antique inspired pilot’s watch, frequently with tan lume and more modest proportions.
The point, if that hasn’t already been made, and if your eyes haven’t glazed over, is that IWC really makes a lot of pilot’s watches. Strangely, though, even with all those references within a lot of unique collections, there was a real gap in size options prior to the introduction on the Big Flier 43. For a time only (or time and date) watch inside the larger IWC pilot collection, you basically go straight from the modest 41mm Mark XVIII to the aforementioned clown sized 46mm Big Aviator.
The IWC Big Pilot 43 Spitfire fills this gap, and because it’s a Significant Pilot, it’s also something of a flagship for the brand, and has some fun bells and whistles from the movement of which set this apart from some other pilot’s different watches in the selection (more on the movement soon). This, I think, is one of those products where there’s a certain genius inside simplicity at the end. Ever wanted a Big Preliminary but didn’t want to feel like you were wearing Flava Flav’s necklace on your wrist? Now you’ve got it, and it is still mostly worthy of often the “Big” during the title.
This watch fully worked on me personally. I enjoyed every minute involving my period with it, except for the very last one, when the separation anxiety began to get started. I’m today back to putting on and enjoying my own pieces, but they have no the bombastic appeal of the Pilot 43. As I wind up this evaluation of the enjoy, I’m not entirely sure if honestly, that is a good or even bad factor.
Part of any kind of watch evaluation, whether it may be intentional or not, involves asking yourself if you could live with this particular watch in your own collection, and exactly that would look like. The prospect connected with owning along with living with a watch that you may have spent real cash on is obviously inherently different from sampling a wrist watch that requires absolutely no investment whatsoever, so the best you can ever do is really a thought experiment. Here’s exactly what I’ve come up with, after quite a bit of thought: for me personally, I don’t know that the BP 43 would ever find a place in my watch box, because I don’t know that the experience of owning that forever might beat the hot flash with lightning that is the short sample period, where you can wear it exuberantly for a short while and then this back.
The actual IWC Massive Pilot 43 Spitfire, on a bracelet, using all the other straps that you really want because the quick change aspect is really quite cool, creeps pretty close to $10, 000 (although retail price within the watch along with just the leather strap sits at $8, 400, on the bracelet is considered $9, 350). Now, this is a big number. It’s nearly a five digit quantity. But it is very not a amount that’s crazy. It’s a range that, with some planning, saving, consolidating, zero-interest credit card promotions, and luck (we really need BTC to break out soon, here) many enthusiasts could afford if they really wanted the idea. For me although, a 5 figure see is a observe I’d have to be pretty sure Would want to wear every day, until I’m extremely old, u don’t realize that the Big Initial 43 is the fact that watch. For a few weeks a fresh lot of fun to wear some thing that’s bold and flashy - but for years? Day in and day out? As I said at the top, I’m not really that guy.
Of course , this really is, as I said, any thought test. No look at has to be used day in and day out. Maybe it would be enjoyable to be fancy for a few weeks at a time and then put it away for a, oh I don’t know, a Grand Seiko under 40mm? And maybe you are that man who wants anything that’s a little loud in addition to aggressive, but also undeniably well crafted plus held together by a coherent design proven over the course of decades. If here is you, and even you’ve got the arm for it, the massive Pilot 43 is more than worth a look. And if it’s certainly not you, that certainly is ok too. I hear IWC makes their pilot’s watch in a few different flavors.