Keith Campbell takes a look at another aviation watch – the Spitfire MkII from Scarborough-based Sidewinder Watches.
Sidewinder Watches Spitfire MkII D Review
Sidewinder Watches is a British watch company from Scarborough (the home of all great things, according to my wife, who has Scarborough as her place of birth…). The Sidewinder name itself comes from the time where pocket watches had their crown in the 3 o’clock position – hence they were called sidewinders…
The Spitfire MkII D has been designed as a vintage-style Flieger, based on the 1941 Smith & Sons Air Ministry 8 day cockpit clock that was found in and around the cockpit of several Royal Air Force aircraft, including the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire. It is available to purchase in 3 versions, differentiated by the accompanying strap colour: Camel (light brown strap), Cognac (dark brown strap) and Black (no prizes, but you can guess the strap colour for this option…). Original blueprints, vintage records and the actual cockpit clocks were all studied in great detail to gain a complete understanding of what was to be replicated as the spirit of the original cockpit instrument, and this, their first edition, is actually a pretty nice item, not just for aviation enthusiasts but also for anyone who wants a watch that looks really impressive and punches above its price-point.
To keep it all simple and effective (and price-conscious as a first edition release to test the market), the internal engine is a Powertech Quartz, powered by a Swiss Ronda unit which is a well-acknowledged solid piece of kit that should give no issues.
Made from 316L marine grade stainless steel and encased in PVD, the 44mm diameter case is protected by domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating. It is 10mm deep with a lug to lug distance of 52mm. It has a nice weight to it and feels solid on the wrist. The case back is screw-down, once again 316L steel. Despite being 44mm, it does not wear as a ‘large’ watch – the proportions are well thought out and crafted. It is water-resistant to 50 metres (5 ATM), so do not have it on your wrist if you are tasked to fly over the English Channel to patrol for the enemy, just in case you have to go for a swim if it does not end well – depends how self-assured you are as to your dogfighting prowess!
The hand-finished strap width is 20mm and features quick-release pins, and a high quality feel to it. It is certainly a higher quality strap than you get with other watches at this price-point, but you can easily replace the embossed premium Italian full-grain leather strap with a NATO one easily if you feel the need for further ‘militarisation’.
Uncluttered and utilitarian by design, the easy to read dial is safely encased behind the sapphire crystal with AR coating. Slightly initially confusing is the statement of 8 Day on the dial. This does not indicate that it is an automatic watch (that is hopefully in the development pipeline) but mirrors the design on the 8-day clock that served as the inspiration. The indexes and hands are all Superluminous, even numbers in one tone and odd numbers in another, nodding once again to the design of the 8-day clock found in the Spitfire cockpit.
Normally, at this price point, you get a box, a plain box. The Spitfire comes in a box – an aeroplane themed, but it has been carefully thought out to enhance the watch. It is even suitably good-looking to have out to store the watch when it is not being worn, being visible through the ‘porthole’ in the lid.
All in all, a very nice watch from a new company that is sure to be a hit with watch and aviation enthusiasts alike. As a first step into the busy watch manufacturing world of aviation-themed watches by a new company, they really have created something rather special that will appeal to a wide variety of people – it comes highly recommended by me. Basically, get yourself one as it is brilliant! A 2-year warranty is included with each watch for added peace of mind. It is available for a very, very competitive price of £195 with free UK 3-5 day delivery, and you can get an extra 10% discount at www.sidewinderwatches.co.uk at their checkout with code: CAPTURE10.