The other day when I was at Taipei 101 getting the Omega strap for the X-33, I also went to the IWC Boutique. I was there to check out straps for my IWC mark XV. I could not decide between the original strap for the XV or the one for the XV Spitfire. So the boutique told me that they will bring both in and let me decide.
Both the straps were there and I had a look. The difference between the two straps? Well, the original XV strap is black leather with black stitching. The leather is softer (?). The XV Spitfire strap is also black leather but the stitching is white and the leather seems 'harder'. I finally chose the XV Spitfire as I like the white stitching. It provides contrast and matches the watch dial which is black with white Arabic numeral hour index.
What I like about the straps is that they comes with the spring bars. I guess it has to come with the spring bars as the strap is curved at the attachment point. Well what is the difference between other curved end leather straps? Well, the spring bars are curved as well.
The leather strap is well made and is only signed on 'hole' side of the strap. The overall finish and quality is typical IWC, very good. It comes with two strap keepers, one fixed and the other floating. The best thing about the strap is that it can be fitted with the deployment buckle or the pin buckle.
The only thing I don't like about the XV straps, both the original and the Spitfire is that it tapers down to 16 mm from 19 mm. I find it a bit thin. I would love it if it did not taper down and is 19 mm width throughout. Maybe an after market strap. We will have to see.
Anyway the model number for the XV Spitfire strap is IWA14598. This is the standard version, measuring 72 mm on the buckle side and 115 mm on the other (fits my 7.5 inch wrist, with 3 holes to spare). They do have a longer strap. It is about USD 100.
While I was there, I got side tracked and had a look at the watches in the IWC collection. I have to say that I do like IWC watches but was very very attracted by the IWC Vintage Collection, more so the very very beautiful IWC Aquatimer Automatic. This watch which comes in at 44 mm is just awesome. It is fitted with the IWC manufacture Calibre 80111 which features the Pellaton winding system.
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What makes it more desirable to me is that it is mirrors the original Aquatimer (1967) with a number of improvements. It is also issued with the 'Tropic' type rubber strap. It is only depth rated to 12 ATM, but I am happy with that. I do like the dual crown design of the watch.
Anyway, I left it at that, like the watch but don't think I will get it. It is retailing for about NTD 250,000 (USD 7,800), which I think is great value. It does come with an in-house movement coupled with the great IWC quality and great history. The hunt for the tri-compax watch goes on.
I have say that the overall experience at the boutique has been great. In fact it is one of the better experience that I have had in a watch boutique. The people there are just great.