You know us here, at Monochrome-Watches. We don’t like things when they are too usual or too classical. We love to look at things differently and to focus on originality. This why, when IWC introduced the new Pilot’s Watch collection at the 2016 edition of the SIHH, we choose to show you the “Petit Prince” edition of the Big Pilot, rather than to go hands-on with the normal black edition, which will certainly be widely covered on other sides of the road. Well, here we go again, and rather than looking at the normal black version of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII, here is our hands-on with a rather special edition, the military-inspired Top Gun Miramar.
In the actual Pilot’s Watch collection, you have the choice between two main editions: the large 46mm Big Pilot and the smaller, easier to worn (for some) 40mm Mark XVIII. However, don’t look at the latter as just a smaller iteration of the military inspired pilot watches, as both have a military lineage and a real credibility. If the Big Pilot is reminiscent of the WWII B-Uhr worn by pilots, the Mark XVIII continues a series of watches created by IWC, back in 1936, the Spezialuhr für Flieger (Special Pilot’s Watch) – just like we showed to you in this historical article and more recently when the Mark XVIII was introduced. Just like the Big Pilot and the B-Urh, the Mark Series of watches by IWC can be considered as one of the finest military watches ever produced. This never-ending lineage of watches has known many evolutions and now comes in the Mark XVIII edition, introduced this year at the SIHH 2016. However, as said in the introduction, we like to be original here, at Monochrome-Watches and thus, we decided to show you the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar, just to emphasizes the military inspiration of this watch.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar is not just a visually different edition, as all the materials and the dimensions aren’t identical to the normal black dial version. The latter benefits from interesting evolutions. The case first, with a slightly smaller diameter – is now 40mm instead of 41mm. Then, the triple date window that used to cluster the dial has been removed and changed for a more classical version, with an aperture showing only one numeral. The red triangle that used to point the date has also been removed. Therefore, we see now a contrasting dial that come very close to the ideal of the classic pilot’s watch inspired from the 1930s Junkers Ju-52 cockpit instruments, which have served as the model per se for classic pilot’s watches. The classical black dial Mark XVIII is cleaner, more toolish and certainly has one the best legibility possible.
What about the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar? First of all, the name comes from a special training course offered by the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known by the legendary accolade “Top Gun”. In 2012, named by IWC Schaffhausen as the year of the Pilot’s Watches (that we now know as the other year of the Pilot’s Watches, as 2016 is also one), the Top Gun/Miramar collection established itself as an independent line in the IWC Pilot’s Watch family. This collection is even more military-inspired, by using specific colours and materials. Back on the 2016 Mark XVIII Top Gun, if the technical specifications are shared with the rest of the collection, we also find major differences from the other newly introduced models. First of all, this watch doesn’t benefit from the reduced diameter and keeps its 41mm case. Note that here the case is black. It isn’t made in stainless coated with a black PVD or DLC, but with a high-quality, hyper-durable black ceramic – with an entirely polished finish.
Then, the treatment of the dial is also rather different. Thankfully, it features the simple date (and no triple date anymore). The hands, which are still shaped like propellers (and equal to the other watches of the collection), are filled with beige luminous paint, to match with the rest of the dial. This dial not only has a different colour but also a different layout. As the rest of the IWC Pilot’s Watches, it is inspired by antique B-Uhr. However, while most show large hour indexes around the dial (known as the Flieger dial), this Top Gun Miramar edition chose the second possible layout used on B-Uhr, with large minute track on the periphery and smaller hour track inside the dial (the Observation dial), here painted in red. The rest of the indications are painted in beige and the dial comes in a military-like anthracite grey. Overall, the look is slightly vintage and much more original than the black editions.
This military look of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar is complemented by a very pleasant strap. Textured and coloured in military green, it looks like a fabric strap but it is actually made of embossed calf leather. The combination of this shiny black ceramic case, with the matte grey dial and the textured strap really works in the flesh – and on the wrist. One regret concerns the crown, which IWC chose to leave in nude metal instead of coating it black. It somehow doesn’t match with the rest of the watch… Strange but usual choice from IWC (most of the coated or ceramic Pilot’s Watches have such nude pushers and crown). Inside the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar is a known and robust mechanic: the Calibre 30110 (also used in the previous Mark XVII), basically an ETA-clone movement, with 42 hours of power reserve, a date display and a hacking second mechanism.
This movement is naturally invisible as enclosed in a soft-iron case – as all good Pilot’s Watches, the Mark XVIII has to be protected against magnetic fields. The plain caseback instead of revealing the movement shows a “Top Gun” engraving. It is made in stainless steel and screwed to ensure a 60m water resistance.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar is a special but non-limited edition, available in boutiques and official retailers of the brand. It will be priced at 6,100 Euros. You can discover it in details on the dedicated page on IWC.com.