IWC Schaffhausen has always been a rather innovative watchmaker. From pioneering the modern pilot’s watch and anti-magnetic watch movements to the leaps and bounds they’ve made in material sciences, the Swiss outfit has always stood out as one of the industry’s most forward-thinking brands.
Perhaps this is why the United States Navy’s Fighter Weapons School – better known as TOPGUN and the inspiration behind the famous 80s action flick of the same name – was so keen to strike up a partnership with IWC. TOPGUN’s job is all about staying ahead of the competition, and it’s TOPGUN’s relentless drive that’s inspired some of IWC’s most technically impressive watches in recent memory.
One of the key features of IWC’s TOPGUN Pilot’s Watch range is their case material: Ceratanium. An IWC-developed compound that’s light and robust like titanium, but scratch-resistant and biocompatible like ceramic, it’s a high-tech material that suits only the most high-performance watches. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
IWC has unveiled two new watches that are easily the most complex and technically impressive watches in the TOPGUN Pilot’s Watch collection yet. Stealthy, handsome and both crafted out of Ceratanium, these timepieces are very exciting – and thankfully, you don’t need to be some high-flying Maverick to get your hands on them.
First up, we have the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Ceratanium (try saying that three times fast), which features a case, crown and, for the first time in IWC history, a bracelet made of Ceratanium. The bracelet is around 30% lighter than a comparable steel bracelet and, therefore, is extremely comfortable to wear.
Material innovation aside, it’s quite simply one of the most complex mechanical watches IWC (or really any watchmaker) produces. Not only does it feature a perpetual calendar with displays for the date, day and month; a four-digit year indicator, and perpetual moon phase for both Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but it manages this whilst also boasting a 7-day power reserve. It’s a hell of a lot of watch, quite simply.
The second of the pair is the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium. This is the first TOP GUN model featuring IWC’s unique Timezoner complication: a novel take on the classic GMT watch. The watch can be set to a different time zone by simply pressing down and rotating the bezel – the hour hand, the 24-hour display and the date will move forwards or backwards in one-hour steps. This also works across the dateline and without losing a single second. Mounted on IWC’s hardy textile inlay rubber strap, this is one tough world traveller’s companion.
Both Ceratanium champs are limited editions: the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar a run of 150 pieces, and the Timezoner a run of 500 pieces. With their unique combination of good looks, haute horlogerie, high-tech materials and of course, that TOP GUN connection– we’d imagine these will be snapped up quicker than a jet fighter breaking the sound barrier. Discover more about the pair at IWC’s online boutique here.