IWC was one of the pioneers in the use of ceramics in watchmaking, relying on this innovative material as early as 1986 with the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar 3755. The Pilot’s collection, probably the most emblematic range at IWC, is no stranger to ceramics either, which were first used in the 1994 Chronograph 3705 – which has been recently re-issued. The brand even played with colours in the 1980s, releasing small series or prototypes in white, blue, green and even pink ceramics. This trend returned in 2019 when IWC Schaffhausen presented an ultra-bold, yet highly acclaimed watch, the Mojave Desert edition and its sand-coloured case. Now, it’s time for more ceramic cases with the new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” White (IW389105) and “Woodland” Green (IW389106).
Ceramic has always been part of the TOP GUN collection’s DNA. Indeed, a DoppelChronograph with a black zirconia ceramic case and titanium back marked the beginning of the TOP GUN line in IWC’s Pilot’s Watches in 2007. Since then, the collection has long been associated with innovative and ultra-resistant materials, giving this range its technical, stealth look. Yet, for more than ten years, it had been predominantly black ceramic until 2019, when the brand released what was its most daring model in years… A watch with an oversized case made of sand-coloured ceramic, with a dark taupe dial and a matching textile strap. And even though this Chronograph TOP GUN Mojave Desert IW389103 was monochromatic, it certainly wasn’t the most stealth-looking. A typical “love it or hate it” watch, which nevertheless opened the door to new perspectives. This same theme was also used in the Big Pilot and in the Perpetual Calendar.
Following the success of the Mojave editions, IWC has decided to introduce more colours to the ceramic cases used in the TOP GUN collection. White ceramic on one side, which should remind you of the watches made for the crew of the first all-civilian mission to orbit (Inspiration4), and also an entirely new green ceramic model for a real military look. Although the colours are new, these two watches are almost identical in specifications to the TOP GUN Mojave Desert IW389103.
It’s important to note that these two new models not only consolidate IWC’s long expertise in the field of pilot’s watches and use of ceramics, but they are also sending a clear message to be taken lightly. They look cool, they look different and are designed to breathe fresh air into a collection often seen in monochromatic dark colours. Once again, typical love or hate watches… At the very least, IWC dares to bring something fresh to the pilot’s collection.
The IWC Pilot’s Chronograph TOP GUN Woodland IW389106
First in line is the Woodland, which plays on classic military codes. In some ways, this edition is the continuity of the older Miramar models with anthracite-coloured dials and olive green bands, yet it pushes the use of green to the max on the case, the dial and the bracelet.
With this TOP GUN Edition “Woodland” IW389106, IWC proposes a large 44.5mm case in green ceramic. The other elements of the habillage are, on the other hand, made of black Ceratanium, the brand’s innovative material that combines the lightness and structural integrity of titanium with a hardness and scratch-resistance comparable to ceramics. Here it is used for the crown, the pushers and the caseback.
The dial of the TOP GUN Woodland Green matches the case in terms of colour while keeping all the classic elements of the pilot’s collection, with large white Arabic numerals, black luminous hands and superior contrast. The display is classic (6-9-12 chronograph) with a tone-on-tone day-date complication. Completing the green look, this reference IW389106 is worn on a green rubber strap with a textile insert and a Ceratanium pin buckle.
Under the closed back is the calibre 69380, the manufacture’s entry-level chronograph movement with column wheel and automatic winding. The watch has a soft iron cage to protect the movement against magnetic fields.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland” IW389106 won’t be a numbered or limited edition, but the annual production will be capped at 1,000 pieces a year. It will be priced at EUR 11,400.
Quick facts: 44.5mm diameter x 15.7mm height – green ceramic case, black Ceratanium back, crown and pushers – sapphire crystal – protected against displacement by air pressure drop – soft-iron inner cage against magnetic fields – screw-in crown – 60m water-resistant – green dial, black luminous hands – calibre 69380 manufacture, column-wheel automatic – 46h power reserve, 4Hz frequency, day-date function – green rubber strap with Ceratanium pin clasp – limited annual production of 1,000 pieces – reference IW389106 – EUR 11,400
The IWC Pilot’s Chronograph TOP GUN Lake Tahoe IW389105
The second watch to be released in the TOP GUN Collection in 2022 is a bold, winter-themed model made in white ceramic. As mentioned, it relies on the codes created for the astronauts onboard the Inspiration4 mission but has a more classic dial.
Again, we have a 44.5mm x 15.7mm case, which has been crafted from pure white ceramic. Contrary to the green model, the screw-in crown, pushers and caseback are made of stainless steel – as often with the brand, these elements are made in contrasting materials, a trend established since the 3705. It is worn on a white rubber strap with a textile inlay and closed by a steel folding clasp. For this TOP GUN Lake Tahoe IW389105, IWC went for a classic black dial with white elements, guaranteeing great contrast night and day.
Inside is the same movement as described above, and the watch shares the same specifications: glass protected against displacement by air pressure drop, soft-iron inner cage against magnetic fields and 60m water-resistant. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” IW389105 will also be produced at a maximum of 1,000 pieces a year and priced at EUR 11,400.
On a personal note, I must say that I kind of love this watch. I wore it a few months ago on a sunny day with a white shirt and white sneakers, and I almost feel guilty saying it, but the entire look truly works… And I’m the last person on paper to love such a watch. It’s bold, it’s unconventional, but it somehow works on me.
Quick facts: 44.5mm diameter x 15.7mm height – white ceramic case, stainless steel back, crown and pushers – sapphire crystal – protected against displacement by air pressure drop – soft-iron inner cage against magnetic fields – screw-in crown – 60m water-resistant – black dial, black luminous hands – calibre 69380 manufacture, column-wheel automatic – 46h power reserve, 4Hz frequency, day-date function – white rubber strap with steel folding clasp – limited annual production of 1,000 pieces – reference IW389105 – EUR 11,400
Both watches will be available through IWC boutiques, authorised retailers or online at iwc.com.