HANDS-ON: IWC reveal two new Top Gun Chronographs in “Lake Tahoe White” & “Woodland Green” ceramic HANDS-ON: IWC reveal two new Top Gun Chronographs in “Lake Tahoe White” & “Woodland Green” ceramic

HANDS-ON: IWC reveal two new Top Gun Chronographs in “Lake Tahoe White” & “Woodland Green” ceramic

Zach Blass

Top Gun editions have been a staple of IWC’s catalogue since 2007. Over the years, the collection has become a space of exploration for the brand – utilising advanced materials such as ceramic to push the boundaries of what it means to be a top-notch pilot’s watch. Many of these designs leveraged the stealth appeal of scratch-resistant black ceramic, but through their research and development in recent years IWC has begun to incorporate a wider range of colour palettes for the dials and cases. In 2019, IWC launched the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” with a distinct sand-coloured dial and ceramic case. Today, the Schaffhausen manufacture rounds out the trilogy with two new Top Gun Edition chronographs in “Lake Tahoe White” and “Woodland Green”

The cases

Aviation watches are notoriously on the larger side, due to the emphasis on legibility that pilots require while in the cockpit. Situated between the sizing of the Big Pilot and Big Pilot 43, both Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Editions have cases that are 44.5mm in diameter, 15.7mm thick, 53mm lug-to-lug, and 60 meters water-resistant. While we have seen manufacturers both brush and polish their ceramic cases, I personally enjoy the matte finish utilised on these Top Gun Edition chronographs. It caters more to the stealth aviator vibe of the collection, giving it a more fitting aura of youthful utility rather than traditional elegance. Of course the cases of the two watches differ in colour, but there is a more subtle difference of note to mention as well. The “Woodland Green” case utilises a matte black Ceratanium® screw-down crown and chronograph pushers, as well as a caseback made from Ceratanium® while the “Lake Tahoe White” model has these components executed in stainless steel.

The dials

The dials utilise the same familiar layout, with three registers placed at 12′, 9′, and 6′ – conveying the elapsed minutes, elapsed hours, and running seconds respectively. All of the dial printing found on each watch is white in colour, including the hashed minute track, hour indices and arabics, register scales, as well as the IWC Schaffhausen branding and day/date indications found at the three position. And, speaking of the day date complication, I appreciate that the discs of each indicator are colour-matched to the dial. This results in a cleaner and less interrupted dial that purists will be unable to criticise.

But, circling back to the differences in approach to design, the “Lake Tahoe White” chronograph is paired with a contrasting black dial, while the “Woodland Green” skews more towards being monochromatic with a nearly all-green aesthetic. Therefore the dial really pops out on the white model, the opposing black tone clearly distinguished against the white frame of the case. This also means that the black dial has the illusion of being smaller, whereas the case-matching “Woodland Green” dial blends into the colour of the case may appear larger to the eye. As expected with a legibility-focused pilot’s chronograph, SuperLuminova® is utilised on the central hands, register hands, as well as each quarter hour indices as well.

The straps

Being a 60 metre water-resistant watch, with a screw-down crown, I am glad to see IWC opted to pair each of the new chronographs with a case-matching rubber strap fit for aquatic use. The “Lake Tahoe White” is paired with an embossed white rubber strap with a folding clasp, while the “Woodland Green” finds itself well matched with a green textile inlaid rubber strap that is secured to the wrist via a pin/buckle system.

The movement

Inside the new ceramic duo of Top Gun Edition chronographs is the automatic IWC-manufactured calibre 69380, a column wheel chronograph movement that offers 46 hours of power reserve. Well industrially produced circular striping, graining, and chamfering adorns the components of the calibre. For those concerned that 46 hour of power reserve is not enough in today’s marketplace, at the very least it is nice to know that the bi-directional pawl-winding system reliably and quickly builds up power.

IWC Pilot’s Chronograph TOP GUN Editions “Lake Tahoe White” and “Woodland Green” pricing and availability:

The IWC Pilot’s Chronograph TOP GUN Editions “Lake Tahoe White” and “Woodland Green” are available now for purchase. Price: A$17,300

Case Material White & Green Ceramic
Case Dimensions 44.5mm x 15.7mm x 53mm
Water-Resistance 60m
Dial Black / Green
Straps White / Green Rubber
Movement Calibre 69380
Power Reserve 46 hours
Complications Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, day, date
Price A$17,300

Made in partnership with IWC. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.