Cooler Than Cool: IWC Drops An ‘Ice Cold’ Take On Their Best Big Watch

Lewis Hamilton approved.

Cooler Than Cool: IWC Drops An ‘Ice Cold’ Take On Their Best Big Watch


IWC Schaffhausen watches have always been statement pieces, but the distinctive luxury watch brand’s latest creation might be the most baller watch they’ve ever made.

First teased on the wrist of Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton at the Miami Grand Prix earlier this year, IWC has finally confirmed the existence of the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe (ref. IW503008), releasing the impressive timepiece out into the wild as the latest watch to join their “Colors of TOP GUN” collection.

This new model takes the stark white ceramic case and black-and-white colour scheme of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” (ref. IW389105), which was released at Watches & Wonders Geneva last year, and applies it to the Swiss watchmaker’s acclaimed Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar.

Why “Lake Tahoe”? Well, the stark white ceramic’s colour is inspired by white uniforms and the winter landscape around the eponymous lake. Located between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a mountainous area that the pilots of the nearby TOPGUN flight school frequently fly over. It’s very thematic.

Hamilton wearing the Lake Tahoe Perpetual Calendar at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix. Image: Getty

White ceramics are one of IWC’s signature innovations. Imbuing strong colours into ceramics is exceptionally difficult, and it’s a field where IWC has been a particular pioneer. IWC was experimenting with white ceramic as far back as the 1980s.

Of course, ceramic is extremely scratch-resistant and remarkably light, making it the perfect material for a pilot’s watch, especially one as big as the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar.

One of the most complicated watches IWC produces, this 46.5mm behemoth features displays for the date, day and month; a four-digit year indicator, and perpetual moon phase for both Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Its in-house 52615 movement, a modern take on legendary watchmaker Kurt Klaus’ groundbreaking perpetual calendar movement, is one of IWC’s most precise and innovative movements. Not only can it be entirely set via the crown, but if kept running continuously, it won’t need a watchmaker’s intervention to change it for a whole century. It also manages this whilst also boasting a 168-hour (i.e. a 7-day) power reserve… That’s pretty damn impressive.

Its monochromatic colour scheme belies its fanciful complication. Image: IWC Schaffhausen

Beyond that, we just like the way it looks. It’s a huge watch, and with that white ceramic case and white rubber strap, there’s a lot of white going on – it’s hard to miss. It might just be the most baller watch IWC has ever come up with, from both an aesthetic as well as a technical perspective.

The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe will be available as of next month (July 2023) from IWC’s online boutique here.