IWC has set standards in the design of pilot’s watches. This is due to the long tradition in supply of watches for air forces, which culminated during the Second World War. If you’re thinking about pilot’s watches it is very likely that you imagine an IWC watch: Big sword-shaped hands, large numerals and indices, a watch that can be easily read even when your hand is down on an airplane control stick.
The manufacturer from Schaffhausen, in the Swiss-German speaking part of Switzerland, has become the synonymous with the aesthetic of the often called “Flieger” (German word for “aviator”) watches during the 1940’s. IWC offers a wide range of models in their aviator collection: from the famous classic “Big Pilot”, to the military “Top Gun” and simple three-hander “Mark” series, as well as in varying diameters.
The Big Pilot is a rather huge watch for most people and the Top Gun feels somewhat more military/tactical, so a new line within the IWC Pilot’s collection must be created.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire
Back in 1948 IWC created the the Mark XI pilot’s watch for the RAF and established IWC’s famous pilot’s design language with it. In 2017 IWC introduced the direct homage to Mark XI, the “Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII”. Later in 2019 IWC introduced the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire 41mm Steel IW387901 as part of its pre-SIHH novelties.
The IWC Spitfire was named after the famous RAF Supermarine Spitfire, a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II.
The Spitfire creates a great balance in the IWC Flieger collection; It is a toolish pilot’s watch, but has a certain vintage flair of its predecessors and pays a tribute to to the brand’s history and and present of classic aviation style.
Seen in this Strap-Guide is reference IW387901 with a steel case and a black dial. The Spitfire Chronograph has a case diameter of 41mm, a thickness of 15.3mm, and its lug-to-lug is 51.5mm. Besides the screw-down crown it has bold vintage inspired chronograph non-screw-down-pushers, which provides water resistance to only 6 bar (60m/192ft).
A domed and anti-reflective sapphire crystal provides more vintage flair. Inside the watch ticks an IWC-made automatic chronograph 69380 Calibre with a Power Reserve of 46 hours.
The Spitfire Chronograph IW387901 is delivered on a green IWC textile strap, but the design and lug width of 20mm is so versatile that it looks good with almost any kind of watch strap you put on it. That’s why we have created the IWC Spitfire Pilot’s Chronograph Strap Guide to show you the best straps for your IWC Spitfire!
IWC Spitfire on Sailcloth strap
A Sailcloth Strap gives your IWC Spitfire a stealthy casual look, without loosing its luxury appeal. Our Sailcloth watch strap is made of extremely durable Cordura® Nylon fiber. It is a little thicker and has an inner layer of genuine black leather, to raise the comfort.
It has 8 adjustment holes for your perfect fit and the holes are protected with a stripe of sturdy leather to avoid fraying. The buckle is made from brushed 316L stainless steel and features a decent WB engraving.
Canvas strap for IWC Spitfire
The thin and light Canvas straps are a great option for a Pilots watch. It’s not only robust, light, comfortable and has the perfect thickness to fit between springbar and watch case. It also creates the perfect vintage “Military-Look” for your IWC Spitfire.
Our Canvas Straps are made of superior cotton and viscose and has 10 adjustment holes for the perfect fit, even for larger- or smaller wrists. (Example: With a 18 cm / 7 inch wrist, you close the strap in the 5. hole and the min. wrist size for this strap is 14,5 cm). The buckle is as well made from 316L stainless steel and has a brushed finish, which matches the brushed case of the IWC Spitfire perfectly.
NATO strap for IWC Pilot’s watches
The most popular type of strap that people opt for when they want to give their IWC Pilot a new look is the NATO strap. The NATO strap has been around for a long time and was originally issued for British soldiers. And as mentioned, James Bond first popularized NATO straps on the Rolex Submariner which has played an important role in making it the go-to strap option.
NATO straps for IWC watches offer many advantages; They are available in a large selection of colors and designs, making it easy to mix and match depending on your outfit and mood. And since WB Original straps are affordable, you can buy a bunch of different NATO straps and easily change between them. The comfort and durability makes it a great strap option for your IWC Chronograph. If you want to know more about the history of the NATO strap check out our blog post “All you need to know about NATO straps” here.
Two-Piece- and Single-Pass NATO strap as an alternative
The Two-Piece NATO strap is the latest creation by WATCHBANDIT Original. For those who aren’t a fan of the classic NATO band, but enjoy the comfort and style of the seatbelt-nylon-fabric, we designed a strap which matches exactly these expectations. It dries fast, keeps in shape and is very robust. In the end of this blog post we explain to you, why the two-piece NATO is the best strap choice for your IWC Spitfire Chronograph. The buckle made from 316L stainless steel and has the same brushed finish, as the Spitfire watch case.
Is the original IWC buckle compatible with WB Original straps?
Yes it is! Many of our 20mm straps like Sailcloth and leather straps taper down to 18mm at the buckle, which is the same size as the original buckle. It can easily be swapped with the original buckle, as it has a regular spring bar. Especially when you own a Bronze IWC Spitfire it makes sense to swap the buckle from WB stainless steel to IWC bronze buckle to match the watch.
How do I change the bracelet or strap on my IWC?
Changing the bracelet or strap on your IWC is fortunately rather simple.
If you have an older IWC watch with so-called drilled lugs (holes all the way through the lugs where the spring bars are attached), it is extremely easy to remove the strap. Simply push the spring bar with the tip of a spring bar tool from the outside and remove the bracelet to attach a new strap.
If you have a Submariner without lug holes, you need to use either the fork of the above mentioned spring bar tool or better a bracelet tweezer to change your strap. The spring bar tweezer is the safest way to dismantle the bracelet from your IWC Pilot’s watch without scratching it.
Our advice is to invest in a slightly more expensive spring bar tool and not opt for the most affordable one as there is a difference between the quality and the precision they offer. A more qualitative alternative will provide a better grip and prevent you from slipping.
Note of thanks
Photos were taken by our brand ambassador @watch.tommy – Thank you for the awesome pictures of our straps on your IWC Spitfire!
Please note: Any watches pictured in this blog post are for illustration purposes only and the watches are not included in our strap offers. Straps may vary slightly from those pictured.