Update June 2022 – We have had a couple of reports from people who backed 220 Watch Company Watches that they have not received the watches they bought and that the company has stopped updating the Kickstarter campaign and is not responding to their emails. This review has been left live as a matter of record.
Potential buyers are advised to proceed with caution.
The 220 Watch Company is back with another watch inspired by a historical figure: this time it is R.J. Mitchell: father of the Spitfire.
220 Watch Co. R.J. Mitchell Review
R.J. Mitchell is famous as the man who designed the Spitfire, and the 220 Watch Company has produced this new timepiece to be launched on the 85th anniversary of the plane’s first flight: 8 March 2021. Costing £795 (Kickstarter price: after the campaign it will got up to £1,195), the watch launches in September but can be pre-ordered on Kickstarter soon.
Let’s make one thing clear: this is a big watch. At 43.5 mm in diameter and 15.6 mm thick, the R.J. Mitchell is not dissimilar from other watches with an ETA 7750 chronograph movement. Still, I certainly noticed the size after a few months away from my Offshore professional Field Engineer. What the 220 Watch Company has done to mitigate the heft is rather clever, though: the brass bezel and crown are offset by a titanium centre section, which makes the watch deceptively light – whilst still solid enough to feel “expensive”.
Everything is executed well: the crown echoes a Spitfire firing control with a deep, crisp engraving. The case back has a Winston Churchill quote. In the final watch, the lettering will be bigger, and embossed – so it will look even better. The pushers are finely finished and activate with a positive click. And the star of the show is the rotor, which is absolutely stunning to look at and, as far as I can tell, totally unique.
Dial and Hands
The Type A dial is a bold yellow colour that looks great on the wrist but makes the white text a touch tricky to read in bright conditions. The RAF roundel second hand is a nice touch, and although it brings to mind AVI-8, this watch is in a significantly higher quality bracket. Both day and date are included, which is a nice touch, and the sub-dials are supremely easy to read.
Strap and Buckle
There are two straps supplied with the R.J. Mitchell: a more traditional riveted leather strap with a brass buckle, and my favourite, the hand-made leather camouflage option – which is coupled with a titanium buckle. The camo design will be unique on each strap, and the leather is superb. It is soft, supple and exudes a feeling of quality that is hard to define, and which is missing from most watches even at this price range.
220 Watch Co. R.J. Mitchell – Video Review
What I Liked
- The combination of brass and titanium works really well
- The colours of the watch and strap really pop
- The price is very good for the specifications on offer – even after the Kickstarter discount ends
What I Didn’t Like
- The watch wears quite large
- Some of the white text is quite hard to make out on the dial
- It is not the most original design, so sits in a relatively crowded marketplace
220 Watch Co. R.J. Mitchell – The WRUK Verdict
This watch looks excellent, has superb specifications and a few touches that really impressed me: that three-blade propellor rotor and the crown design being my highlights. The downside is that this is not a watch for the small-wristed, with the hefty dimensions pushing it right to the edge of wearability for my 7.5-inch wrist.
Having said that, aviation watches are meant to be big, and when you put an ETA 7750 in a watch, it’s hard to make it any smaller than this. Go and try a Breitling Chronomat if you don’t believe me! What moves this watch from a nice tribute to a must-buy for me is the price at £795 (and even at the post-Kickstarter £1,195) the R.J. Mitchell is an absolute steal. Highly recommended, and the first watch of 2021 that I’ve added to my list of contenders for watch of the year.