As we celebrate the Silver Spitfire’s round-the-world journey, Dominic Baldwin-Weir, IWC’s Chief Digital Officer, takes us back to his childhood in the UK and his grandfather’s stories of cockpits, cameras and the spirit of adventure.
My grandparents lived in a small town about an hour and a half east of London called Southend-on-Sea. I relished visiting them as a child, which I know is quite unusual. Most kids find a “trip to the elders” a little tiresome, an event that requires non-adventurous best behavior washed down with copious amounts of boredom.
It was quite the contrary for me, primarily because my grandfather was–amongst other things such as a trained electrical engineer who designed power stations in India, a competition winning golf player, a concert level pianist–a reconnaissance pilot in the 1940s. His job was to photograph infrastructure & other strategically important installations from an aircraft, his only weapon being a camera. During my weekend visits, he’d leave me enthralled with endless pilot stories and photographs from all over the world.
One special souvenir from his pilot days is a Spitfire altimeter, a classic Mark 14, 6A/685 model. It’s now on my bookshelf. Sometimes I wonder with excitement what special missions this gadget saw.
Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight
Another special mission I’m excited about starts this month: “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight”. On August 5th, pilots Steve Brooks and Matt Jones will take off from Goodwood Aerodrome in a restored Spitfire. IWC is partnering with the Silver Spitfire as it attempts to circumnavigate the globe, something a plane of its kind has never attempted before. The inspiration behind this project, along with the challenges, take me back to my weekends in Southend-on-Sea.
As the Silver Spitfire takes off, you can listen to the crew share behind-the-scenes stories of the preparations for the Longest Flight. The Spitfire Series, a six-episode podcast hosted by UK survival expert John Hudson, will premiere on August 5th. You’ll find it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and many other podcast platforms. And we’re also excited to announce that you can follow us on our official Spotify account, where you can listen to the favorite songs and playlists from artists around the world.
The art of flying
We then head to Singapore to meet Jan Ralph, a man who loves the art of flying almost as much as his IWC collection. Jan explains how his love of Pilot’s Watches started with the Big Pilot’s Watch Spitfire and offers up a gem of a story about his special ties to the Spitfire legacy.
You can also relive the Silver Spitfire preparations with our video special The Aviation Series. In the five-part series, each member of the crew explains what led them to sign on for the journey and what their job entails.
The Spitfire is a plane that represents freedom, a pioneering spirit and an engineering legacy that spans the ages. But for all of those big claims, it also represents something very dear and precious to me: those special weekend journeys to my grandparents, where I heard – and learned – about the seemingly limitless potential we have in front of us.
Enjoy the ride!
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