For SIHH 2019, IWC unveils a new group of watches added to their Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN collection – a subset of the Pilot collection taking influence from the U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program. Among them is the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert,” a unique take on a colorway you don’t see all that often, and a standout addition to IWC’s Pilot watches in general. For the first time, IWC creates a sand-colored ceramic case for this watch inspired by the Mojave Desert, home of the largest land area owned by the U.S. Navy. And considering its other features, it is a relatively affordable (compared to its competition, anyway) option for those seeking a solid ceramic case from one of the major brands.
Model: Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert”
Dimensions: 44.5mm x 15.7mm
Water Resistance: 60 meters. So don’t get shot down over the ocean.
Case Material: Sand-colored ceramic
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire, AR-coated on both sides
Movement: IWC-manufactured Calibre 69380 (automatic with column wheel)
Power Reserve: 46 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Shown on a canvas strap, but described in the press release as rubber
Price & Availability: $8,200
Ceramic as a watch material has been an increasingly hot item, and has widely been looked to as added value in a watch. We typically see ceramic used for bezel inserts, as it’s not as easy to produce, color (in this instance, IWC cooked up a cocktail of metallic oxides to achieve the unique sand-like hue), or manipulate as metal. The argument could be made that using ceramic as a case material is a bad idea due to its nature of cracking or shattering, but this isn’t exactly new territory so I don’t foresee IWC having a hard sell on it. After all, IWC has been making ceramic cases for years, and I find this to be many steps above its other similarly themed ceramic Top Gun watch, the Mirimar Chronograph – a watch I found to be a hodgepodge of different themes without a clear design schema.
The real draw to this piece is the colorway. Supposedly taken from sand and matching the regional Navy uniforms, I will definitely say that it superbly creates a watch with a well defined theme, and that’s not something that’s always easy to do with a niche influence like “sand.” Looking at this watch, you can directly get those desert vibes, and I can IWC for that. The watch is quite legible considering how bland a watch like this could have been, and I can really get behind the brown dial with tan hands and hour markers, so I am hoping to see more of this colorway in the future.
Overall, I don’t know how practical this color scheme is as a Pilot’s watch, but it is definitely unique and interesting. If the watch does find its way to the wrist of a Navy pilot, I imagine it’ll get lost in the already tan uniform sleeves of said Navy pilot. So for practical flying purposes? Perhaps not, at least not over other models in the collection. But you can bet this will look great on the wrist of that executive who’s always been kicking himself for not getting his Pilot’s license – and that’s what really marks a successful addition to a Pilot’s collection, right? The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” will be limited to a modest 500 pieces, a number I don’t foresee IWC having a hard time selling, and come with a price tag of $8,200. Learn more at iwc.com
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