Some watches are as impressive as their name is long. This is for sure the case with the Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Spitfire by IWC. Powered by manufacture caliber 89801, this watch elevates the technical complexity of perpetual calendars to an even higher level by making the date and the month digital instead of the usual hand.
The impact of this is enormous. In most mechanical watches, energy is in short supply. Moving a small hand on a sub-dial takes significantly less energy than moving the date and month wheels on this IWC. Especially February wrecks havoc with its 28 days, when it is not a leap year. This means that within a very short period of time the digital date has to forward from 28 to 1, while at the same time also the month has to be advanced. This asks for clever engineering, and a real power-house of a movement, which IWC’s 89000-calibre series fortunately is.
The digital date and month complication work in our opinion especially well with the brand’s more robust and technical models such as the Ingenieur and the Pilot’s watches. Of course, the day and date function can be handy when you fill out the customs slip before arrival, but other than that they usually don’t represent vital information for a pilot when in-flight. However, the great thing about the digital date and month is that they don’t interfere with the readability of all the other functions that can be critical for a pilot.
To do this, they have ample space in the 46mm case of the Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month, but this would be worthless if the movement pulls all the complications too much the center of the dial. Because IWC’s 89000-calibre has been designed to fit in larger watches, like the Portugieser, this is not a problem. IWC further enhances legibility by integrating the chronograph hour and minute hand in a single counter. Next, to saving space and creating a cleaner dial, this also had the added advantage that the elapsed time can be read at a mere glance, on a single subdial, instead of the usual two.
All these features combined, and the well-designed way IWC presents them, make the Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Spitfire from both a technical, as well as an aesthetical point of view a complete watch. This is even more so when you also take into account that the convex sapphire crystal is fitted in such a way that it is protected against displacement by a sudden drop in air pressure. Also, let’s not forget the calfskin strap which is made by Santoni, as an extra style element. When you take all this into account, the price of $31.900,- is quite fair and will put one of the most innovative perpetual calendars around your wrist, not to mention a very well designed pilot’s watch.