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After introducing its 43mm Big Pilot’s Watch earlier in April, IWC now adds two Spitfire models to the collection. That initial debut introduced the new 43mm size to the Big Pilot’s collection, offering a smaller diameter option to those who want this collection’s military profile (and distinctive conical crown) to fit more snugly on moderate-sized wrists.

The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire features a bronze case and crown.

These two new models, one in a matte grey titanium case with a black dial and one with a very nice bronze case framing a military green dial, offer the Big Pilot’s design but do so with stricter military specs that require closed casebacks.

The Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire, with titanium case.

Both these new watches offer a titanium case back that IWC has engraved with an image of a Spitfire fighter plane, and both include a soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields.

The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire (Ref. IW329702) with the bronze case, gold-plated hands and bronze crown presents collectors with a real visual treat beyond its inherent military demeanor.

The watch’s stylish color combination sacrifices none of its technical chops. IWC says its bronze alloy is considerably harder than traditional bronze because it includes copper, aluminum and iron. And as any owner of a bronze watch will testify, bronze will develop a unique patina over time to create a distinctive look.

IWC has coated the watch’s hands and hour markers with a generous helping of luminescent material and has attached a green buffalo stitched leather strap. Price: $9,350.

IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Spitfire (Ref. IW329701) offers its own aesthetic attractions, primarily its historically inspired black ‘observation’ watch dial. This means the hour hands are not the focus for pilots who need to know minutes and seconds quickly. Thus, the minutes and seconds appear larger, printed in white on the outer ring, which make it easier for pilots to read the minutes and seconds.

IWC fits this model with brown calfskin leather strap with contrast stitching. Price: $8,950.

IWC powers both watches with its own 82100 Caliber movement that boasts the famed, hyper-efficient IWC Pellaton winding system and zirconium oxide wheels and pawls. Power reserve is sixty hours. Both watches also feature IWC’s own EasXchange system for quick, tool-free strap changes.

 

Alpina has updated a bygone mechanical caliber design to launch its Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture with a ‘bumper’ rotor that pings back and forth, rotating 330 degrees instead of the 360-degree modern standard for automatic movements.

The new Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture, with a movement utilizing a ‘bumper’ oscillating weight.

A version of this type of to-and-fro oscillating ‘bumper’ weight was used in many early automatic Swiss watches starting from the late 1920s into the 1960s and could be found installed into watches from Omega, Universal Genève, Jaeger-LeCoultre–and Alpina.

Alpina made this ‘bumper’ caliber in the 1950s.

The new Caliber AL-709 on this new Alpina watch, which is visible through the clear sapphire caseback, mimics the watchmaker’s own vintage ‘bumper’ movement from the 1950s.

According to Alpina, the two calibers share “the same geometry and the same inspiration.” However, while the vintage version rotates 120°, the new one rotates 330°. In addition, Alpina has replaced the springs used in the vintage designs with more efficient blades.

Alpina has placed its retro-bumper caliber into an existing 42mm steel cushion-shaped case from its Startimer Pilot Heritage collection.

The case nicely combines a circle in a square with rounded edges. A smartly satin-brushed and polished case middle further emphasizes the case’s dual geometry, which to my eye feels more inspired by watches from the 1970s than from those made in the 1950s.

A view of the AL-709 automatic movement, with a ‘bumper’ rotor.

Alpina has built its AL-709 caliber with an extended diameter that reaches to the edge of the round inner caseback, in part to underscore the watch’s Heritage message.

The dial also adds to the vintage look with its 1950s style cues, notably the three matching hands.  Alpina also wisely places the watch’s crown at 4 o’clock, which enhances the case’s cushion profile. The 42mm case size and the sporty red accents add a contemporary edge.

Alpina is limiting the new Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture to 188 pieces, each with a brown calfskin strap with off-white topstitching. Price: $2,850.

Specifications: Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Manufacture

(Ref. AL-709SR4SH6, Limited edition of 188)

Movement: Automatic AL-709 Manufacture caliber, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 alt/h.

Case: 42mm by 13.25mm brushed and polished stainless steel, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, see-through case back, water-resistant to 100 meters.

Dial: Silver color with vertical brushed finishing, black minutes and seconds graduation, silver color indexes and hands with red luminous treatment.

Bracelet: Brown calf leather strap with off-white stitching.

Price: $2,850.

 

By Nancy Olson

Breitling’s Ref. 765 AVI pilot’s watch, introduced in 1953 and known as the “Co-Pilot,” is the inspiration for the just-introduced Super AVI watch collection, which reinterprets four vintage aircraft celebrating aviation history.

Breitling Super AVI Collection (from left to right: Super AVI P51- Mustang in stainless-steel & in 18 k red gold, Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair, Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk & Super AVI de Havilland Mosquito).

The honored legendary planes are the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, the Vought F4U Corsair, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the de Havilland Mosquito.

And each new watch is unique in its own way.

The Breitling Super AVI P-51 Mustang—named for the eponymous fighter/bomber that was a relative latecomer to the Pacific Theater—comes in two variations: with a stainless steel case with a black dial and brown leather strap, and a red-gold version with an anthracite dial and a black leather strap. The latter is exclusive to Breitling boutiques or online at Breitling.com.

The Breitling Super AVI P-51 Mustang, here in stainless-steel.

The Breitling Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair has a blue dial, tone-on-tone counters and a black leather strap, and it is designed in honor of the naval aircraft, which was the first single-engine fighter to crack the 400 mph mark.

The new Breitling Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair.

The Breitling Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk is set with a military-green dial, white contrasting chronograph counters, and red accents. Its coloration is a nod to its namesake’s famous shark-mouth nose art.

The Breitling Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk.

Finally, the Breitling Super AVI Mosquito has a black ceramic bezel—the only one among the new collection with this distinction—and a black dial with white counters. Its red and orange details allude to the markings on the plane, nicknamed the “Wooden Wonder.”

The new Breitling Super AVI Mosquito.

These new Breitling pilot’s watches, introduced just a few weeks ago in Dallas, feature 46mm cases with bi-directional ratcheted bezels and oversized crowns. The red-tipped GMT hands, in collusion with the 24-hour markings on the inner bezels, track a second time zone. The large Arabic numerals on the dials and bezels and Super Luminova-accented numerals, indexes, and hands provide optimal legibility.

Caseback view of the Breitling Super AVI Mosquito, displaying Caliber B04.

Inside, the self-winding COSC-certified Caliber B04 drives the hours, minutes, seconds, date, and second time zone. This column-wheel chronograph movement with vertical clutch offers an impressive seventy hours of power reserve.

The leather watchstraps are lined in Breitling yellow and the case backs of the watches are decorated with renderings of the respective planes.

Prices: $23,650 (red gold Mustang), $10,100 (steel Mustang), $10,250 (steel Mosquito), $10,100 (steel Corsair) and $10,100 (steel Curtiss Warhawk).

The two Breitling Super AVI P-51 Mustang models.

 

Alpina’s Startimer pilot collection and its Seastrong diver series boast an impressive (and nicely priced) selection of contemporary and vintage-styled adventure watches. This week, the Geneva-based watchmaker adds one more watch to the vintage column of each collection, which Alpina dubs its Heritage series.

The new Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic.

First up, the new Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic is the fifth watch in this best-selling series combining 1960s-style dials with modern calibers and cases.

Appropriately water-resistant to 300 meters, the 42mm watch features a rotating inner flange (adjusted using the crown at 2 o’clock) to time dives and brightly luminescent hands to allow full visibility in the dark.

Unlike previous examples in this collection with two-color dials, this latest model offers a uniform black lacquered sunray-brushed dial. In addition, the new model offers no date display, which technically is not required for a successful dive.

Inside Alpina places a Sellita-based AL-520 movement, protected on top with a sapphire crystal. Both crowns are screwed-in to ensure water resistance, and the caseback is engraved with Alpina’s historical logo.

Already a strong value, the watch is even more interesting with Alpina’s package, which includes two attractive straps, one in brown calfskin leather and the other in beige topstitched rubber. Price: $1,695.

New Startimer Dial

Alpina’s second Heritage addition, the new Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic, is inspired by Alpina designs from the 1920s and 1930s. This new variation adds a new dial color to the existing black model we showed you last year.

The Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic, showing new blue dial.

The new watch maintains the Pilot Heritage Automatic specs: a 44 mm steel case framing a matte dial (now blue) that displays luminescent beige hour, minute and 24-hour markers that nicely replicate a typical shade used on early pilot watches.

As we noted on the 2020 model, Alpina adds to the watch’s vintage styling by placing the original triangular Alpina logo on the dial. This logo, which differs from the logo Alpina places on its contemporary pilot models, serves a practical purpose by separating the 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock markers.

And finally, Alpina underscores the watch’s vintage vibe by outfitting the Pilot Heritage Automatic with a hunter-style caseback that flips open with the flick of a finger. Through the clear caseback the wearer can view the watch’s Sellita-based AL-525 automatic movement.

Alpina is limiting the Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic with blue calfskin leather strap to 288 pieces. The watchmaker will continue its support of the National Park Foundation by donating $100 for every watch purchased through its U.S. website.

Specifications: Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage Automatic

(Limited edition of 288 pieces.)

Movement: Sellita-based automatic AL-525 with 38-hour power reserve.

Case: 44mm by 11.55mm brushed and polished 3-part case, sapphire crystal, hunter caseback (at left). 
Water-resistant to 30 meters.

Dial: Blue with beige minutes and seconds graduation outward, beige 24 hours graduation inward, applied silver color Arabic numbers with beige luminous treatment. Date window at 3 o’clock,
silver color hour and minute hands with beige luminous treatment, silver color second hand with red triangle.

Bracelet: Blue calf leather.

Price: $1,295.

 

Specifications: Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 Heritage Automatic

Movement: Sellita-based automatic AL-520 with 38-hour power reserve.

Case: 42mm by 12.3mm polished 2-part, sapphire crystal, engraved back, water-resistant to 300m, screw-in crown.

Dial: Black with sunray finishing, yellow gold color minutes and seconds graduation, applied yellow gold-plated indexes, black outer ring with yellow gold color, minutes and seconds graduation yellow gold-plated, hour, minute and second hands with white luminous treatment.

Bracelet: Brown calf leather, additional black rubber strap.

Price: $1,695

 

 

 

The Glashütte-based maker of acclaimed pilot watches spreads its wings with new models that update its vintage-inspired Grand Flieger and M2 collections.

The town of Glashütte is renowned for its history
as the center of German watchmaking. While that history was interrupted for decades between and following two world wars, when the village’s deep horological knowledge base dispersed to points West – or to extinction – Glashütte has again become the focus of the region’s watchmaking activity.

After being founded in Glashütte in 1927, Tutima re-joined the former East German town in 2011, fully sixty-five years after it was forced to move away. During those years away, Tutima intensely developed a focus on pilot’s watches, starting with the now-famed 1941 pilot’s chronographs known for their fluted steel case, large crown, red reference marker and, most critically, their flyback function, an unusual feature at the time.

Tutima returned to Glashütte in 2011 after 65 years away. The company was founded here in 1927.

It was that wartime aviation design that propelled Tutima to fame among aviators and, eventually, pilot watch enthusiasts. Tutima’s Grand Flieger collection today directly references that 1941 design.

Much later, in 1985, Tutima received a contract from the German army to build a new military watch with particularly stringent specifications for accuracy, shock resistance, pressure resistance and legibility. Answering that request, Tutima developed the Military Chronograph 798, known as the NATO Chronograph, which in its modern guise within the current Tutima M2 collection remains standard equipment for German military pilots.

This original Tutima 1941 pilot watch inspires the current Grand Flieger collection.

GRAND FLIEGER AIRPORT

Today, Tutima references the milestone pilot watch from 1941 within its Grand Flieger collection. The line now includes three-hand models as well as more traditional chronographs. The Tutima Grand Flieger Classic, for example, sports its vintage look with military inspired styling, including the historical fluted bezel. Tutima has modernized the pilot watches to perform according to current, more stringent, technical standards. These models at 43mm in diameter are larger than the original Flieger deigns from the 1940s, and their updated automatic movements are now fully visible through the transparent caseback.

The Tutima Grand Flieger Airport Chronograph.

Within its Grand Flieger collection, the Tutima Grand Flieger Airport is a dressier option that maintains the line’s overall aviation feel, but with a smooth rotating bezel with 60-minute markers rather than a fluted bezel. The crown remains of the screw-in variety, and all timepieces in the Grand Flieger line are water-resistant to 200 meters.

Just a few months ago, Tutima expanded the Grand Flieger Airport collection with a new chronograph and a new three-handed model, both sporting an eye-catching new ceramic bezel. Tutima has now added a contemporary touch to the collection by incorporating an ultra-hard scratch-resistant ceramic bezel that is colored to match the dial.

The Tutima Grand Flieger Airport with ceramic bezel in Classic Blue with grey Cordura strap.

To launch the newer look, Tutima offers a dégradé ‘military’ green dial and a classic blue hue, both color-coordinated with the dial and strap. 
While black dials are traditional for pilot watch purists, these newer Grand Flieger Airport debuts offer a contemporary option for pilot watch enthusiasts.

“Tutima, a brand with a strong historic background creating true pilots’ watches, is a purist in regard to the design of these watches. Our goal is to deliver some of the most beautiful yet highly legible dials in this segment of the market,” explains Tutima USA President Gustavo Calzadilla. “The use of green and blue dials in the new Grand Flieger Airport Chronograph and Automatic models challenged us to introduce color options that are fun and contemporary but still respect the legibility needs and aesthetics traditions of a true pilot’s watch.”

The Tutima Grand Flieger Airport, with day-date automatic movement.

The strap’s design extends those options. It’s made from grey Cordura textile and secured by a stainless steel deployant clasp. Both models, cased in 43mm steel, are also 
available with a steel bracelet.

Inside each three-hand watch Tutima fits its reliable ETA-based automatic Caliber 330, with a gold seal on its rotor. Within the Tutima Grand Flieger Airport chronograph, the ETA-Valjoux-based Caliber 310 powers the counters
 (12 elapsed hours, 60 elapsed seconds and 30 elapsed minutes) plus the day/date display. The chronograph’s hour display is particularly easy to read with red numerals circling the subdial. Prices: Chronograph: $3,900 (on a strap) and $4,300 (on steel bracelet). Three-hand: $2,500 (on strap) and $2,900 (on steel bracelet.)

M2 COASTLINE

As the heir to the NATO Chronograph favored by German military pilots since its debut in 1984, the Tutima M2 collection emphasizes strong legibility, reliability, enhanced water resistance, pressure-resistance for use to 15,000 meters above sea level, and shock resistance rated to protect its movement from acceleration up to 7G in all directions.

The Tutima NATO Military Chronograph, circa 1984, is the inspiration for the current Tutima M2 collection.

The M2 Coastline Chronograph, the newest watch within Tutima’s M2 collection, echoes the curved case of the famed 1980s NATO models. Its large push buttons are integrated into the rounded case, which Tutima pressure tests to 200 meters of water resistance. In line with the entire M2 collection, the M2 Coastline Chronograph case is made of satin- brushed, ultra-light titanium with a screwed back, which is decorated with a wind rose. The titanium push buttons are additionally black PVD coated and finished with a non-slip surface.

The Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph.

“The Tutima M2 is the new generation of our original NATO Chronograph, and is considered the most rugged, utilitarian professional chronograph in the market,” adds Calzadilla. “The new M2 Coastline Chronograph introduces a new alternative within this collection, a smaller case diameter with a new movement at a price point not available before in the M2 lineup. All without sacrificing the Tutima’s high-quality standards.”

Inside this newest member of the M2 family Tutima places the ETA-based automatic Tutima Caliber 310 with 48-hour power reserve, date display, hour-, minute- and small seconds hand. The chronograph tallies up to sixty elapsed seconds, thirty elapsed minutes and twelve elapsed hours.

The Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph with blue dial and rubber/leather strap with titanium folding clasp.

The M2 Coastal Chronograph is available with titanium bracelet or, optionally with a strap of leather, rubber/leather or rubber/Cordura.

Tutima also makes a three-hand, day-date version of the M2 Coastal Chronograph.

The Tutima M2 Coastline, with blue dial and steel bracelet.

Like the chronograph, this watch also measures 43mm in diameter and is cased in brushed titanium. Inside Tutima places automatic caliber T330, an ETA-based automatic movement upgraded by Tutima.

Because the bracelet version is also fitted with the same handsome titanium linked bracelet, the all-titanium option for this watch wears lighter than the chronograph, but offers a similar easy-to-read dial and clear link to its historical predecessors. As Tutima professes: “Nothing detracts from this watch’s operational readiness. Protruding parts have been deliberately avoided – another time-honored trait of the high- performance M2 line.”

Prices for the Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph collection start at $3,300 for the blue-dialed model with a leather strap. The three-hand Tutima M2 Coastline with day-date indicator is priced at $1,950 for the titanium-bracelet model and $1,850 for the leather-strapped editions.

Tutima designs and produces several of its own calibers in house.

Calzadilla notes that since its origins in 1927, Tutima’s philosophy has been to produce high quality timepieces of great value.

Inside Tutima headquarters in Glashütte.

“While in recent years the brand has embarked on manufacturing in-house movements, we have kept our promise and commitment to always providing options with a strong value driven proposition. With timepieces starting at $1,600 today, newcomers to the brand can access a beautiful timepiece with German engineering from a company with tradition, expertise and an outstanding track record for designing and manufacturing trusted professional watches.”

This article also appears in the Winter 2021 issue of About Time.