Colored ceramics have been a cornerstone of IWC’s popular TOP GUN pilot’s watch line since the first model was introduced to the world in 2007, and over the years the series has branched out from the original black colorway to include suitably military-inspired alternatives like the sandy beige TOP GUN “Mojave.” As part of its Watches and Wonders 2022 novelties, the Swiss brand introduces an additional two TOP GUN color palettes inspired by the world of the famed U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, and in order to ensure these color palettes are uniform throughout the designs IWC has created a pair of new Pantone reference colors. The new limited production IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” and IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland” bring new energy to the familiar IWC pilot’s chronograph formula, while respecting its military aviation roots.
Model: Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe”/Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland”
Water Resistance: 60m
Case Material: Zirconium oxide ceramic
Movement: Manufacture 69380 (automatic chronograph)
Frequency: 28,800 bph
Power Reserve: 46 hours
Price & Availability: $10,700 each, Limited to 1,000 pieces annually each, Available now
Both the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” and the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland” begin with 44.5mm-wide zirconium oxide ceramic cases in the classic Pilot’s Watch Chronograph style. The overall case forms are simple and function-forward, with unchamfered tapering lugs, a clean narrow bezel, and the line’s signature inverted pushers flanking a bold pillbox crown. This elemental shape and the fully matte case finish keeps the military aviation heritage of the TOP GUN series front and center in images, but IWC reframes this familiar design with striking new colors. For the Edition “Lake Tahoe,” the brand renders the case in newly-christened IWC Lake Tahoe White, a snowy white tone supposedly inspired by the winter landscape surrounding Lake Tahoe, which is frequently flown over by TOP GUN pilots launching from their base in Nevada. To complement this bright base, IWC finishes the crown and pushers in shining polished stainless steel, adding a touch of flash to this traditionally aggressive matte design. By contrast, the Edition “Woodland” takes a more subdued, traditionally militaristic approach to its case. The deep, saturated IWC Woodland Green shade references the green used for U.S. Navy flight suits, and gives this already purposeful design an even more utilitarian edge in images. To support this darker case, IWC finishes the pushers, crown, and caseback in its proprietary matte black Ceratanium hybrid material. Both models should wear bold on the wrist thanks to a hefty 15.7mm overall thickness, and both are rated for a middling 60 meters of water resistance.
For the dials of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” and the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland,” IWC maintains its standard pilot’s chronograph layout. This is especially true for the Edition “Lake Tahoe.” Here, the familiar mix of rounded Arabic numerals, flieger hands, a boldly printed outer minutes scale, and azurage subdials at 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 12 o’clock are rendered in simple matte black and case-matched IWC Lake Tahoe White. This is IWC chronograph design at its most straightforward and functional in images, without any of the colorful flourishes that usually differentiate limited-run models. The Edition “Woodland,” on the other hand, brings a low-contrast military colorway to this familiar design. The main matte dial surface is carefully matched to the IWC Woodland Green hue of the case, and IWC flanks this color with printed scales, lume fills, and dial text in a pale sage green in images. Without the stark brightness that white dial hardware would bring, this gives the design a stripped-down, military-issue look in initial photos that works well with the TOP GUN line’s overall ethos.
IWC powers both the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” and the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland” with its in-house 69380 automatic chronograph movement. Although its layout may share a superficial similarity to the long-serving Valjoux 7750 movement family, this is a fully bespoke design and a mainstay of IWC’s chronograph offerings. The 69380 sports column wheel chronograph actuation for a sharper feel in operation, and IWC protects this movement from magnetism with a soft iron inner cage inside the case. In terms of overall performance, the 69380 is solid if unspectacular, with a 46 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. IWC finishes both models with unique strap options. For the Edition “Lake Tahoe,” IWC opts for a fabric-effect textured rubber strap, which like the dial printing is precisely color-matched to the case. The Edition “Woodland” takes a more rugged path, with a case-matched nylon textile strap lined with rubber.
With bold tone-on-tone colorways that give fresh perspective to the TOP GUN line while staying true to its core spirit, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” and the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland” bring a pair of trendy new looks to the popular series. While these are not strictly limited editions, both models are limited in production to 1,000 units per year, and are available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for both models stands at $10,700 each as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.