Colored versions of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph have been quite the hit for IWC, so it was only a matter of time before we saw the Schaffhausen-based watchmaker expand on the concept. The wait is over: Behold the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Mojave Desert watch (Reference IW389402). Quite a mouthful, but it will likely end up simply as the Top Gun Mojave.

While I am yet to get over the crispy, high-contrast Lake Tahoe edition of last year, the Top Gun Mojave shows what we already know from so many other popular watches: Sometimes all established designs need is a new flavor. It’s something virtually every big brand does, but the frequency and attractiveness of the releases vary greatly between them, and, to be fair, we are yet to see how IWC will fare in the long run when it comes to the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 and its different flavors.

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This latest model features a sand-colored, earth-toned ceramic case “inspired by the flight suits of naval aviators and the desert landscape around China Lake, home to the U.S. Navy’s famous Top Gun flight school.” The lume and paint on the indices and hands appear to have been neatly coordinated with the case color — sounds like something that should be a given on five-figure-priced watches, but, alas, it is not — while the Ceratanium pushers and crown will continue to divide opinion by standing out in contrast against the beige-bathed dial furniture and the rest of the case. Beige lume is never as bright as the white-green version, so be prepared to pay a price in low-light visibility for the earth-toned coolness.

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Mojave Desert watch measures not 41mm but 41.9mm wide — kudos to IWC for sharing exact measurements unlike, say, Rolex — and overall thickness is a hefty 15.5mm. The caseback is also in Ceratanium which is a telltale sign that the ceramic exterior is in fact wrapped around a titanium inner ring. This is done like so on the overwhelming majority of ceramic-cased watches because it’d be really quite challenging to create functional and durable screw-down parts (like how the caseback screws down against the middle case) in ceramic. Water resistance is 10 bar (100m equivalent), which is as it should be, and IWC adds a soft-iron inner case to shield the movement from magnetic fields.

Perhaps the only more notable shortcoming of the Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Mojave Desert is its power reserve. The caliber within is what the brand refers to as the IWC-manufactured 69380 movement that runs on 4Hz and has a 46-hour power reserve replenished by a double pawl winding system. Given how many of its competitors have been expanding the power reserve of their manufacture movements to 60 or preferably over 70 hours, IWC (and its parent company Richemont) will want to invest in some technologies that will allow much of the Pilot’s Watch collection to stay with the rest of the pack in what is an important comfort feature to many watch buyers.

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A light-hearted yet arguably cool iteration of a well-known theme, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Mojave Desert watch (IW389402) is priced at $11,700. You can learn more at the brand’s website.

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