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IWC Schaffhausen - The Longest Flight

IWC Schaffhausen The Longest Flight

IWC climbs aboard for a round-the-world trip in a WW2 aircraft.

My first is a British fighter plane built between 1936 and 1948; my second is a pair of experienced pilots; my third is a Swiss luxury watch brand; my fourth is a 43,000 km journey around the world. What am I? My whole is the “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight” expedition, sponsored by IWC Schaffhausen, which takes to the skies this August.

Visitors to the SIHH 2019 will no doubt remember IWC’s booth, which was decked out like an aviation museum, with a Spitfire as the centrepiece surrounded by display cases filled with navigation instruments and aviation memorabilia. This is not the first time that IWC, a pilot’s watch specialist for 80 years, has produced a special edition focusing on the legendary British fighter plane. This year, however, its commitment extends further. The Schaffhausen-based watchmaker has partnered with the “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight” expedition. This aviation marathon is the brainchild of two British pilots, Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones, co-founders of the Boultbee Flight Academy, a Spitifire flying school based in Goodwood on the south coast of England. Their aim is to complete the first ever round-the-world flight in a Spitfire.

For Chinese New Year, Ulysse Nardin brings us champlevé enamel pigs on a blood-red dial.

IWC booth at the SIHH 2019 © WorldTempus / Michèle Brunner

Apart from the record itself, and the incredible achievement of completing such a long flight in a fighter plane with limited range, this unique feat is also intended to spotlight the need to preserve this historical symbol of freedom and peace. The two pilots hope to raise awareness of the Spitfire as a miracle of engineering, and remind the public of the essential role it played in restoring peace, with its intrepid pilots at the controls, as part of the Allied war effort. Another goal of these two Spitfire enthusiasts is to ensure the plane is not forgotten and relegated to the status of museum piece. They hope to discover new mechanics and engineers with the skills to maintain and restore the Spitfires still in existence, and ensure that the fire-breathing Rolls-Royce engine continues to roar, that its characteristic silhouette with its elliptical wings lives on, and that 21st-century pilots can continue to be inspired by the aircraft’s exceptional manoeuvrability.

For Chinese New Year, Ulysse Nardin brings us champlevé enamel pigs on a blood-red dial.

Christoph J. Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC, with pilots Steeve Brooks (right) and Matt Jones © IWC

Silver Spitfire

The plane chosen by Boultbee Brooks and Jones to make the Longest Flight was lying dormant in a museum when they found it. It was built in 1943 and had around fifty hours’ flight time. Fourteen experts worked on it for almost two years, cleaning it, repairing it, and, finally, hand-polishing it with the same care that a watchmaker takes over a fine timepiece. The aircraft, renamed the Silver Spitfire, has been stripped of its weapons and its camouflage paint, and now sports with a silvery mirror sheen worthy of haute horlogerie.

The Silver Spitfire will lift off from Goodwood in August 2019 and set off on a 43,000-kilometre expedition around the world, before returning to England in December (see the route map). Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones will take it in turns to pilot the plane. They plan to make around one hundred stopovers in over 30 countries. The aircraft needs to be serviced every 25 hours, which will require a major logistical effort.

For Chinese New Year, Ulysse Nardin brings us champlevé enamel pigs on a blood-red dial.

The Silver Spitfire © www.silverspitfire.com

Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight”

At the SIHH, IWC unveiled a series of five new Spitfire models – a perpetual calendar, Timezoner, UTC, chronograph and an automatic – that will be added to the Pilot’s Watch collection. They come with either a black dial in a steel case, or a khaki dial in a bronze case, a manufacture calibre, a dashboard design inspired by IWC’s historic Mark 11, and an engraving of a Spitfire on the caseback. 

The Longest Flight

Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” (ref. IW395501) © IWC

The Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” was specially designed to accompany Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones on their round-the-world voyage. The Timezoner function, which allows the wearer to quickly set a second time zone by simply turning the bezel until the reference city lines up at 12 o’clock, will certainly come in useful during their four-month trip. The 46 mm steel timepiece in a limited edition of 250 recalls the colour of the Silver Spitfire’s body, while the black dial and khaki fabric strap are reminiscent of its cockpit livery. The Timezoner Spitfire Edition has a depth rating of 60 metres and a sapphire crystal that can withstand depressurisation – two features we hope the crew never have the opportunity to test. It is driven by the new automatic manufacture calibre IWC 82760 with Pellaton winding system. It beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and has a power reserve of 60 hours.

Lecture 1 Comment(s)

7 February 2019
William Filber
Beautiful watch, what else must be said...pretty darn cool.

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With a clear emphasis on technology and development, IWC Schaffhausen has been manufacturing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. Its philosophy, based on a passion for watchmaking, aims to maintain a spirit of indefatigable initiative and impeccable craftsmanship.

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