REC Watches is the brainchild of Jonathan Kamstrup and Christian Mygh, based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Their concept is simple – to recover salvaged artifacts, recycle components of the said artifacts, and finally reclaim the components for a unique series of watches. While most mainstream and independent brands come up occasional limited edition watch based on same concept, REC watches have solely built their business model on this concept. Being petrol heads, Jon and Christian hunt for iconic Porsches, Mustangs, Mini Coopers, and Spitfire aircrafts.
In 2018, REC Watches presented the RJM series, which is dedicated to the Spitfire aircrafts. All three pilot watches in the RJM series contained a piece of untreated aluminum cut directly from the PT879 MK IX Spitfire aircraft. In August 2019, the fourth and final pilot watch was announced, the RJM Bluebird.
It is worthy to explore the story of PT879 “The Russian Spitfire” as narrated by warbirds restoration specialists, The Hangar Collection, based in the U.K. “PT879 was built by Vickers Armstrongs factory at Castle Bromwich on 4th August 1944 and was shipped via Murmansk to the 2nd squadron, 767th Regiment, 122nd Division of the Russian Airforce, a Spitfire Squadron. The aircraft crashed during a dogfight in Spring 1945 with just 29 hours on the airframe and was recovered off the Tundra as a complete aircraft by a capitalist -socialist farmer who must have realized that she would perhaps have value in time.”
“Roll forward to 1998, a full half a century, aircraft was located and brought out of Russia by “Mr Spitfire” himself, Peter Monk, he tells a great story of how he visited Murmansk in 1998, spending three weeks negotiating with some rather “interesting” characters but thankfully being successful in purchasing the plane. The aircraft then returning to the UK by a circuitous route in 1998 she was then acquired by Angie Soper, well known display pilot later that year. A complete although crashed aircraft, we have the fuselage, large sections of the wings, complete engine, parts of the hub and prop, this lot fill a 20-foot container! A huge number of her original parts were used in the restoration of the airframe, some 500 plus from the actual aircraft in her renovated fuselage. The wings will similarly be very original and comprise the core components of the original wings.” The restoration of PT879 is scheduled to be completed in 2020.
REC Watches acquired small pieces of metal from the PT879 for the RJM series. The RJM Bluebird pilot watch contains metal from the tip of the left wing of the aircraft. It is possibly the best of the four watches in the series. The 40mm stainless steel case takes cues from the historical RAF watches. Its crown and crown guards are a bit gimmicky, designed to represent the wings and the nose of the aircraft, but if you’re an aviation buff, you will think of it as a nice touch. The blue sunburst sandwich dial has a balanced layout. The strong lume on paddle hands, markers, and numbers offers good visibility. The silver metal around the date at 6 o’clock is the piece of metal from the Spitfire.
The Bluebird pilot watch is powered by Miyota 9015 automatic movement with a decorated rotor inspired by the metal rivets on the Spitfire. A blue felt strap with a leather lining complements the dial well, although a contrasting grey strap would have suited it better. There are 334 editions of the Bluebird pilot, and the price of the watch is $1,295. REC is accepting pre-orders currently, and the watches ship in late September 2019.
Photo Credit: REC Watches