Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
graman

Review - IWC 3717 Spitfire Chronograph Laureus Edition

Recommended Posts

graman

Review - IWC 3717 Spitfire Chronograph Laureus Edition

 

So here it is...have been wearing it for some time, and promising to do a review.

 

Background

IWC have been famous for making pilots watches, particularly during WWII when they supplied both allied & axis powers with military timepieces (commencing from 1936 with the Mark IX)

 

Most pilots watches produced were not chronographs, and functioned simply using IWC Caliber 83 up until 1948 (Mark IX & X), Caliber 89 until 1984 (Mark XI) when it was discontinued until 1993 .

 

1993 saw the debut of the Mark XII using a JLC Caliber.

 

The Mark XV commenced from 1999, using an ETA 2892A2, and the Mark XVI from 2006 to now, using an in-house IWC caliber 30110 (my guess is it's a tweaked 2892)

 

iwc_mark_xii_.jpg

(Photo & history from IWC world - Thankyou)

 

During this period, several chronographs and special editions have been released from the "mother" line, however the Spitfire is the most prominent spinoff, and possibly the most popular.

Many argue if it was made aimed at the American market, or the English market - my research tends to point to the American market as the original target.

 

IWC have also had a long history of partnerships and associations - Laureus is one of them.

Laureus are a foundation / charity attempting to bring about social change through sporting excellence.

IWC have kept a line of Laureus limited edition watches going using the blue theme for some years -

First was the Portuguese chronograph (to my knowledge), the Spitfire Chronograph, and now the Portuguese 7 Day. - Always sporting a Blue leather strap (or a ss bracelet) and a blue dial, with an appropriately engraved case back.

 

Spitfire Chrono stock photo:

3717_012_l.jpg

 

As you can see, it is typically a 3717 Spitfire in every regard, with the now lumed riveted numerals and rhomboid hands, with particular detail to the chrono sweep being able to show the second advancing in sixths as opposed to the more simple, less cluttered 3717 Flieger chrono.

 

I have lusted after this watch for some time - back when it was a 39mm pixie with non-lumed riveted numerals and it's telltale guilloche....it's always been a lovely watch...I would cruise the Collins st Stores in Melbourne wishing I had the cash to shell out on one, only to have the line discontinued in 2006!

The monster 42mm came in, and it was lovely, but not black....Then...I discovered reps, and on came the Laureus! (Incidentally, a donation to a local sporting charity has been made since this watch was acquired to ease my guilty conscience, as a percentage from these originals goes to the laureus foundation)

 

Now...to Joshua's Laureus edition Spitfire!

 

IWC8.jpg

 

I love this watch!...it's heavy.....about the same as my 127, yet it fits comfortably on the wrist.

 

IWC7.jpg

 

You'll see a blue hue to the sapphire on this due to Josh's claimed double AR treatment - it is quite blue, however I'm not fussy enough to take it off to Chief for a new treatment....it's fine in natural light.

 

IWC6.jpg

 

Crown

The crown is solid & the Probus IWC insignia is well defined.

IWC4.jpg

The crown itself screws easily, and there is little chance of stripping the thread when the crown is out.

 

Dial

Dial colour seems to be accurate, although I haven't placed both gen & rep together.

The guilloche cut into the dial around the outside housing the numerals, and inside the seconds sub dial at 9:00 is clean, and gives the dial a warm finish and subtle definition.

Font alignment of IWC and "Shauffhausen" both seem clear, and are well printed & placed.

IWC5.jpg

 

There is a minor alignment issue with the "0" numeral at 10:00, where it is out by a fraction of a mm, however again, I'm not that anal.

 

The lume, although rep lume, is quite impressive.

I charge this when I go to bed, and have especially when travelling, woken 4 hours later, still able to tell the time (albeit dimly).

It is a little patchy in some parts, but performs well, and will not require re-luming until I know what the hell I am doing, and can do it myself.

Iwc05.jpg

 

Mechanism

Time change is easy to operate, and adjust smoothly, without being flimsy.

Date & day change well, and snap quite easily, of course ensuring with any A7750, that you adjust the time beforehand outside of the danger zone.

 

The chrono functions well, and snaps back to zero well. I have a repair to do on this watch after a family member caused it to slip by resetting when it was at 25 seconds, however that will happen of any 7750, including gens.

 

Accuracy is very good, although I have not officially measured it, however I find it gains about 2 minutes every 10 days, which I find within an acceptable range.

 

Bracelet

The bracelet is surprisingly well made, and very solid. No flimsy pins here, with a bar going directly through each link, which must be punched out.

IWC1.jpg

 

Wearing comfort is high, with no pinching or hair pulling, and the watch fits the wrist from the gently curving lugs, right through the bracelet to the folding clasp.

 

IWC2.jpg

The spring loaded clasp is solid & reliable, with an excellent level of quality in the engraving of the clasp buckle itself, and the concentric circles milled into the metal of the folding clasp.

 

Case Back

The caseback is engraved deeply (laser cut, I think, as the edges feel a little sharp under your finger but not on your wrist) with the Laureus sport for good logo, and a serial number (I do find 0003 to be a bit much..could choose a better number), however all seems accurate to gens I have handled.

IWC3.jpg

 

So there we have it.

This was my 40th birthday present from my family, and I could honestly not be happier with it.

It's barely been off my wrist in 5 months, and rarely gets to wind down, as when it is forsaken, it's because I'm in a workshop, or one of my Pams is getting some special occasion wrist time.

 

Iwc02.jpg

 

IWC 3717 Spitfire - Laureus - Highly recommended

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KBH

Great job Graman. Very informative post and I learned a lot about a watch that I had never looked at before. I can see why you like it so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graman

Hey KBH...thanks mate....Yep...have a bit of a love for Pilots watches....followed by divers watches...

 

Loving it...just wish I could take better pics....

 

Need a tripod & a light box... :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trailboss99

Great review Graman!

Don't forget to enter the contest mate.

 

 

Col.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graman

Hey Col..thanks...I will on this one....

 

Just for the hell of it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JustinCase

Review - IWC 3717 Spitfire Chronograph Laureus Edition

 

So here it is...have been wearing it for some time, and promising to do a review.

 

*************************

 

Hey Graman,

 

Very detailed review: Congratulations and many thanks! It takes an enormous amount of time to put together something like this and I am appreciative of your tremendous efforts.

 

I have a few comments, not nit-picking mind you, but just additional info to enhance the perspective.

 

1. History. You're right on. IWC is extremely well regarded in the watch-world for their "pilot" watches. Before the recent craze for gargantuan watches--some of these massive watches are wearing the man rather than the other way around--IWC made smaller pilot watches, some recent examples being the Mark XII (tiny compared to the Mark XVI), the Fliegerchronograph and the Doppelchronograph, this latter being the beginning of the boat anchors, Oops!, I meant big Pilot watches. The reason for their relatively heavy weight is the soft-iron core inside the case to protect the movement from electro-magnetic effects. The best IWC watch in this regard is the old IWC Ingenieur (without the date cyclops) and to somewhat lesser extent the newer Ingenieurs. I am sure the Replicas, though heavy enough, do not have such soft-iron core protection. Nowadays, pilots worry more--or do they?--about electromagnetic effects of computers on airplane's instruments.

 

2. IWC Partnerships. You're right again. The most successful partnership to date is in my humble opinion with Porsche Design. The PD/IWC méca-quartz Titanium Chronograph is arguably the most harmonious marriage of form and function in a watch. This watch was designed from the ground up to deliver great performance with style. Compact (tiny by current standard), thin, elegant, ultra-light but durable and ergonomic, the IWC PD was the ultimate dressy sports chrono. The IWC titanium bracelet has few peers at any price. True to its innovative spirit, the IWC PD uses the Jaeger-LeCoultre méca-quartz movement that combines quartz precision with a mechanical chrono module. Few watches blend technology, tradition, and performance with such style. About 10 years ago, Porsche Design made the crucial error to end this very successful partnership and bought Eterna to make their own watches. They produced mostly junk since then. IWC's apparently successful partnership with Laureus proves once again that IWC is the creative force behind these partnerships.

 

3. "Re-luming. " Tritium paint on watches is a mixture of phosphor and tritium, a naturally radio-active material. As it decays, tritium emits beta radiation that excites the electrons in the phosphor making them emit photons, or light, as they return to their ground state: the phosphor GLOWS. The tritium paint relies on tritium radioactivity to make the phosphor glow in the dark and, contrary to the urban horological myth, needs no charging from the sun this can be done. Tritium, has a half life of 12.3 years so, as long as you have enough tritium in your paint, the watch will glow in the dark for years without any need of charging. If your watch stops glowing after some time in the dark, it means that the glow came from the sun light exciting the phosphor atoms, not from the tritium, i.e., most of the tritium in your watch is GONE! If you want to give it a fresh coat of tritium paint, make sure that the paint hasn't been sitting around in the shop or supplier's shelf for years. The 12.3 years of half-life starts from the second the tritium is born (i.e. freshly produced), not from the time the paint is applied to your watch.

 

4. The Valjoux 7750. I never had your bad experience with all the Swiss Valjoux movements in my genuine IWC or even my lowly Oris watches. Regardless of the chrono-hand positions, I could always push the hand back to starting position. Perhaps you have to be a little more gentle with the push-button or perhaps the stock Swiss Valjoux movements or their Asian counterparts are not as reliable as the IWC-modified Valjoux. IWC starts with the base Swiss ETA/Valjoux movement (the raw ébauche) and make several modifications and part replacements to improve the performance and reliability of the watch.* Therein lies the biggest difference between a Replica and a Genuine watch. In buying a replica, you get a Mercedes with a Ford engine --if you're lucky--or a Trabant engine--if you have lousy luck. You get 100% of the design/style, 50-75% of the outside finish/look but well below 50% of what's inside--the watch engine. All and all not bad for less than 10% of the price. There is of course that nagging guilt, but that's another topic altogether.

 

5. Performance. We cannot expect a Replica watch to be adjusted to several positions at the factory like the real IWC. Even if they did, the Asian or stock Swiss movement may or may not be capable of higher performance. However, I found most of my Replicas to perform adequately, if not brilliantly. You may want to try resting you watch at night in one of the several possible positions: face up, face down, left or right side, up or down. You will find that some of these positions will bring you accuracy to within a narrower range.

 

6. Bracelet. LOL. I hope that the real IWC bracelet on the Spitfire Laureus does not use those "pins," even if they are "not flimsy" as you said. If you get a chance, please check the real IWC bracelet on this watch. I hope they use the same design as on the IWC Fliegerchronograph. This user-friendly bracelet is the best SS bracelet I've ever had the pleasure of using, at any price, period. It is solid but highly flexible and fits your wrist like a glove, without sharp angles, kinks, or large gaps. The links (row of five rectangular pieces only 5.5 mm long and well rounded) ) look very similar to what you are showing in the pictures but they are held together by embedded spring-loaded pins. To remove a link, merely depress a small indentation marked by a circle on the back of each link, et voilà! The pin pops out by spring action, and may be removed easily with your fingers! No more pin-pushers, needle-nose pliers, padded vise, hair-pulling or cussing required. Good-bye scratches. Those sadists who designed the push-pins (with the cooperative spirit of a donkey) or the impossibly tiny screws on the Alain Silberstein bracelets, or the forever-stretching Rolex Jubilé bracelets with their big, scratch-friendly clasps should be made to meditate in the Lotus position on the IWC bracelet for 10 uninterrupted years to atone for their sins. My Audemars Piguet Royal Oak at the eye-popping price tag of $5,000 (used) has a bracelet that is admittedly dressier, but not nearly as well designed (threaded pins) as the IWC Flieger bracelet. Take a look at the genuine Flieger bracelet if you can! You'll be as impressed as I was. I hope the Spitfire uses the same design.

 

 

7. Wearing Comfort. The incredible wearing comfort of this watch comes from two sources. First is the bracelet with its short, well-articulated links that allow the bracelet to conform perfectly to your wrist. It also allows smaller adjustments than the larger links which means you can wear it loose if you like or slightly snug to take the weight off your wrist. At what I guess to be over 150 grams (compared to 130 grams for the Omega Seamaster and 140 grams for the IWC Fligerchronograh), the IWC Spitfire would feel relatively light if you wear it slightly snug to prevent the watch from rolling around your wrist. Second, note how the lugs are bent down at a steeper angle that typical thus allowing the bracelet to conform to the sides of your wrist without leaving big gaps that would allow the heavy case to move around. In stark contrast, my Alain Silberstein Krono Bauhaus (which I love for its Picasso-like dial) sports long lugs that stick straight out. Consequently, the watch is precariously perched on top of you wrist like a can of tuna and runs laps around you wrist all day making it feels like you're dragging a boat anchor. Well maybe not that bad, but you get the picture. Bracelet and lug designs are crucial to make large watches feel comfortable on your wrist. It is hard to design, easy to copy...

 

Well, that's about it. Once more, congratulations on a beautiful watch and many thanks for sharing it with us.

 

 

 

Justin Case

 

 

* Unlike PP, Audemars Piguet and Breguet, IWC (and its big sister company, JLC) do not do a lot of decorative finishing on their movements--finishing is the traditional craft of decorating the watch movement, giving the watch literally its inner beauty; this is for pure esthetics, not performance. My Ventura watches with virtually unfinished ETA mvt (commensurate with their modest prices) run as accurately and as reliably as my highly finished Pateks or AP. Unlike a lot of traditional watch collectors, I prefer the IWC/JLC approach They finish their movements in the more utilitarian fashion. If Breuguet is Rolls-Royce, AP/PP are Mercedez Benz, IWC is BMW and JLC is BMW with AMG engines. The analogy is actually not too bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silverspeed

Great review...very well done :lol:

the 3717 is a great watch and a true classic....the Laureus Edition makes it even more special

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graman

Hey Justin,

 

Some excellent points - thanks for the inclusion!

 

SS - cheers mate...yep...love the watch..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graman

Quote JustinCase...

6. Bracelet. LOL. I hope that the real IWC bracelet on the Spitfire Laureus does not use those "pins," even if they are "not flimsy" as you said. If you get a chance, please check the real IWC bracelet on this watch. I hope they use the same design as on the IWC Fliegerchronograph. This user-friendly bracelet is the best SS bracelet I've ever had the pleasure of using, at any price, period. It is solid but highly flexible and fits your wrist like a glove, without sharp angles, kinks, or large gaps. The links (row of five rectangular pieces only 5.5 mm long and well rounded) ) look very similar to what you are showing in the pictures but they are held together by embedded spring-loaded pins. To remove a link, merely depress a small indentation marked by a circle on the back of each link, et voilà! The pin pops out by spring action, and may be removed easily with your fingers! No more pin-pushers, needle-nose pliers, padded vise, hair-pulling or cussing required.

 

 

 

Bugger me!...so it does! LMAO!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
onzenuub

Great review Graman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dingle

WoW!...just WoW! very nice review Graman. :itchyandscratchy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GC

Great look'n IWC Flieger Chrono... and a really great review too!!!

 

Of course now I have to add another watch to my wish list... damn!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luthier

Damn... now I have to buy it too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gran
Damn... now I have to buy it too.

 

+1 :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graman

Thanks guys - Glad you enjoy...buy one...you won't regret it....I'm struggling to take it off my wrist...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graman
Damn... now I have to buy it too.

 

+1 :)

 

 

Hey Gran!

 

Love the collage...seeing a lot of avatars from the old RWG!... :beer2:

 

Haven't seen Clive's avatar in such a long time....have you spoken to him?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×