The X4009 Collection – Honoring a Spitfire And His Pilot



As aviation enthusiasts, our greatest desire is to see history live on in tangible ways.  To be able to see, touch, and experience history in a tangible fashion is the ultimate way in which we can reflect on the past and engage future generations. REC Watches, in conjunction with Hunter Fighter Collection, is providing a unique and enduring way in which the aviation community can own a rare piece of aviation history; while simultaneously supporting the restoration of an airframe crucial to the enduring stories that create WWII history. After the wreckage of the Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a X4009  was excavated and acquired by Ross and Ann-Maree Pay of Vintage Fighter Restorations and subsequently donated in 2020 to Hunger Fighter Collection for restoration,, pieces of the wreckage of the X4009 that are no longer able to be utilized in the restoration process, have been reserved for use by REC in creating watches that not only showcase the beauty of the aircraft and the era, but also support the restoration of the airframe.

Danish watch manufacturer REC has created a timepiece incorporating skin from combat-veteran Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia X4009 which Australian ace Flt Lt ‘Pat’ Hughes flew during the Battle of Britain. A portion of the sale of each watch will contribute to the restoration of Spitfire X4009 to flying condition for the Hunter Fighter Collection. (image composite via Hunter Fighter Collection and REC)

This historic airframe was originally issued to Paterson ‘Pat’ Clarence Hughes, RAF Squadron No. 234 on August 18, 1940.  Though Pat Hughes was lost at the same time as X4009, his resume during his RAF pilot service is something of a history lesson on its how.  Advocating for close-in tactics, he shot down at least 14 aircraft during the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 and scored the squadron’s first victories during this well-known battle for air supremacy.  When Pat Hughes’s parachute failed to open when X4009 went down on 7 September 1940, it is believed he was the sole pilot to operate out of this airframe.  Combined with the belief that Hughes in this aircraft likely shot down  German fighter pilot Oberleutnant Franz von Werra, the famous “One That Got Away”, that makes this potentially the most significant restoration of a Spitfire to date. You can read the latest updates about this restoration at THIS LINK.

The vital ‘DNA’ from Spitfire Mk.Ia X4009 which REC used to create the seconds sub-dial for their limited edition timepieces dedicated to X4009 and her pilot, Flt Lt ‘Pat’ Hughes’ memory. (image via REC)

With timeless structure and the real remnants of the fuselage from the X4009, each watch creates a silhouette that honors the history of the Spitfire and captures the spirit of the era.  But more than that, it creates a meaningful way in which an individual can support the restoration of X4009.  The purchase of an X4009 Midnight Blue watch from REC provides the individual the opportunity to allow the story of the Spitfire, the story of X4009, and the story of Pat Hughes to live on for generations, as a portion of each sale goes directly to fund her restoration.  If you’re an avid reader of Vintage Aviation News, this provides you the opportunity to be a partner in safeguarding the heritage of aviation. You can own your very own piece of history HERE, with pre-orders expected to deliver in September of 2023.

Each example of the X4009 watch features a seconds sub-dial created from the Spitfire’s fuselage skin. Furthermore, REC has created three different, color-themed variants of the timepiece dedicated to X4009, and will manufacture just 844 examples in total. The timepiece is available for pre-order HERE, with deliveries expected to begin in September 2023.

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