January 13, 2019
Continuing their military aviation-inspired series, IWC has announced two new members of its Top Gun collection. The two new entrants—the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun IW389101 and the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Top Gun IW326901—continue the long-standing design aesthetic that IWC has cultured in the pilot watch catalog, now dressed in black ceramic cases along with in-house movements for a stealthy, dark aesthetic.
Model: Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Ref# IW389101 and Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN Ref# IW326901
Dimensions: The Chronograph is 44.5mm in diameter & 15.7mm thick. The Pilot’s watch automatic is 41mm in diameter & 11.4mm thick
Water Resistance: 6 bar
Case Material: Black Ceramic
Movement: The Chronograph features the in-house IWC 69380, the Pilot’s Watch Automatic features the in-house 32110
Power Reserve: The 69380 has a 46-hour power reserve, while the 32110 has a 72-hour power reserve
Strap/Bracelet: Black textile strap
Price & Availability: The Chronograph will run $7,550, while the Automatic will run $5,500
I’ve long been a fan of IWC’s pilot watches, and the Top Gun series has been no exception. We’ve seen IWC experiment with black ceramic on their pilot watches in the past, however, these two models represent a dark and utilitarian use of the material. The Top Gun series was originally introduced in 2007, inspired by the U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program, a training program for Navy pilots. Because of that inspiration, the watches in this line draw a heavy sense of military aesthetic. Both the Chronograph and Automatic feature a matte black ceramic case, black dials, and highly contrasting white hands and hour markers, with the signature Top Gun pop of red.
Overall, the design here on both watches will feel very familiar to fans of IWC’s pilot watches but provides yet another option to those looking to pick up something from the pilot watch lineup. I generally am not a huge fan of black cases, but I’d make an exception for a ceramic case. I find ceramic as a case material to be highly interesting, and I’ve enjoyed watching many of the Swiss brands (IWC included) experiment with the material. And, from a visual perspective, ceramic has a unique look that just can’t be matched by any sort of DLC coating. As a Mark XVIII owner, I doubt that either of these will make it into my collection out of a desire to avoid duplicity, however, were I new to IWC pilots, these would make for a compelling option.
To further round out and expand their product line, the introduction of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun and the Automatic Pilot’s Watch Top Gun provides a contrasting option to the extensive line of pilot watches that IWC offers. While both offer a familiar aesthetic overall, they continue IWC’s fancy towards experimenting with ceramic cases, and I look forward to seeing what else IWC has in store for us. The Chronograph Top Gun IW389101 is priced at $7,550, while the Automatic Top Gun IW326901 is priced at $5,500. iwc.com
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