Now, IWC is a brand I’ve always admired from afar, but haven’t had substantial personal experience with until last month. The timing worked out well, and I happened to be in the UK at the time of the Goodwood 76th Members’ Meet — an event I’d been dying to attend.
Luckily for me, IWC Schaffhausen is the Official Timing Partner of the Goodwood Members’ Meeting and was kind enough to invite me along. Of course, I couldn’t attend such an event without some form of chronograph — and naturally an IWC. I ended up choosing the IWC Spitfire Chronograph on bracelet for my travels.
The meet – Goodwood 76th Members’ Meeting
As I arrived at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in Chichester, filled with excitement, I was hit by an icy chill. I was seriously underprepared for the unusually cold March day and was feeling the sort of cold I’d never felt before. Lucky for me, IWC had a strong presence at the meet and hosted guests within their multi-level trackside marquee. It was there I sought refuge from the snow, drank copious cups of coffee, and mingled with other guests.
One particular guest, who I bumped into as I was leaving the gents, had taken to using the corridor as an impromptu changeroom. As we exchanged pleasantries, he took note of my accent and after hearing I was from Melbourne, shared how he’d be there next week for work. Not thinking much of it (I’d flown into London the day before, and the jetlag was strong), we continued to have a great chat about Goodwood, and around 10 minutes later his handler appeared to let him know it was time to race. I quickly realised he was changing into a racing suit (although hidden by several layers) and that I was, in fact, chatting with a retired F1 driver — the legendary David Coulthard.
Now, at an event like the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, you can expect to see some pretty hectic cars — and, in my case, watches. Chronographs were certainly popular on the day, and I spotted a few nice IWC pieces on some familiar faces. I can’t say I was surprised to see an international automotive journalist, Ted Gushue (in an IWC Mark XVIII), behind the lens throughout the day, grabbing a coffee with vintage expert Paul David Maudsley (wearing his IWC Mark XI). Having previously interviewed both of these gentlemen, the world was beginning to feel like a very small place.
The watch – IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire
My time with the IWC Spitfire Chronograph extended beyond the weekend of Goodwood, and I wore it for most of my travels. It was great to spend a solid amount of time with this piece and put it through its paces in a number of different environments and situations.
First up — my only reservation with the piece — the size. At 43mm, it’s on the larger side, and at the top of my personal comfort zone. Although not a deal-breaker, it certainly was substantial and made its presence known. Its weight was felt, and at times I was tempted to (but totally didn’t) put it on a NATO strap, as I felt that removing the bracelet would alleviate some of the heft.
About that bracelet — I found it was very comfortable and featured a nifty adjustable clasp, to the tune of around 5mm. When you’re constantly travelling between different climates, and dealing with varying air pressure, this is a very welcome feature. Another classy touch on the bracelet is the combination of brushed and polished links.
Something I really loved, which garnered a lot of attention, was the slate-coloured metallic dial. Inspired by the grey fuselage of the Spitfire aircraft, it’s been executed beautifully. And while the pilot is typically a more dressed-down style of watch, this sunburst dial worked well in more formal occasions too. What makes it extra special is the fact that this brushed metallic grey finish isn’t seen on any other IWC watches.
In terms of timekeeping and functionality, the chronograph worked well, and I found the 44-hour power reserve adequate. The 79320 Calibre, which powers the Spitfire Chronograph, also kept good time and proved to be reliable — not skipping a beat for the entirety of my trip.
Cars and watches; they’re are a natural fit, and no where is that more true than at Goodwood.