The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland adds tasteful colour to the brand’s most underrated complication The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland adds tasteful colour to the brand’s most underrated complication

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland adds tasteful colour to the brand’s most underrated complication

Jamie Weiss

In my last Hands On review for Time+Tide, I talked a bit about the growing popularity of green dials for watches, but also about how there’s more to making a good green watch than simply slapping any old shade of green on a dial and calling it a day. But making a watch entirely green – the case, the dial, the indices, the strap? That’s a whole other ball game, and if not done tastefully, can make a watch look cheap or tacky.

But there’s nothing cheap or tacky about the IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland, which combines a tasteful green colour scheme, a high-tech ceramic construction and a unique take on a world timer to produce a fundamentally stylish, technical and robust traveller’s watch that’s all the better for having a pop of colour.

The case

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland on wrist

I think it’s worth talking about the advantages and difficulties of working with ceramics in watchmaking, and why the Timezoner Woodland is so impressive on a structural level. As you’re probably aware, ceramic is an ideal material to make a wristwatch out of, as not only is it lightweight and scratch-resistant, but it’s also highly biocompatible. Another advantage of working with ceramics is that it’s possible to imbue ceramics with bold colours – opening up immense creative opportunities – and those colours won’t fade with time.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland crown

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to do so, however. IWC was one of the first watchmakers to experiment with coloured ceramics for watches back in the 80s, and they’ve been perfecting the process ever since. The way you make a coloured ceramic watch case is you combine zirconium oxide with other metallic oxides, with the final colour of the case resulting from an exact mixing ratio of these raw materials. IWC explains that each step of the manufacturing process, such as the exact temperature or the duration of the sintering process – must be specifically adapted to each colour. So to produce this vivid green is horologically quite impressive.

IWC Step2 BT e1650470616301
A ‘Woodland Green’ mural depicting the Pilot’s Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland Green” IWC painted in London last year.

As you may have guessed, the specific shade is called Woodland Green, which IWC has developed in collaboration with Pantone. This dark green was inspired by the flight suits and uniforms worn by pilots in the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, better known as TOPGUN, as well as the vast forest landscapes they fly over. This is the second IWC watch to feature a Woodland Green ceramic case, the first being the Pilot’s Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Woodland Green” ref. IW389106 that was released last year.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland case profile

The Timezoner Woodland is also the biggest Woodland Green watch IWC has ever produced, and chonky by anyone’s standards at a muscly 46mm in diameter and 15.1mm thick. IWC are known for their Big Pilots after all… However, because it’s made out of ceramic, it’s surprisingly light for such a big watch.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland adjust

Like the Pilot’s Chronograph that preceded it, the Timezoner Woodland also combines a ceramic case with IWC’s propriety Ceratanium compound, which is used for the case ring and the crown. Creating elements from Ceratanium is even more complex than firing coloured ceramics: Ceratanium starts life as a zirconium oxide-imbued titanium alloy, that when sintered, undergoes a phase shift, converting the outside portion of the material into a ceramic-like compound. The result is a material with the lightness and robustness of titanium combined with the hardness and scratch resistance of ceramic, as well as an intriguing matte black colour. It’s a practical choice of material for these high-finger-traffic elements.

The dial

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland dial

IWC could have just called it a day with the green ceramic case but they’ve subtly colour-matched the different elements of the watch’s dial – including the hands, lumed indices, date window and second time zone window – in slightly different hues of Woodland Green to create an intriguingly monochromatic look that’s nevertheless still highly legible. It’s impressive how they’ve managed this, and it looks very classy. Only the ‘Timezoner’ text in red at 6 o’clock prevents the dial from being completely green.

The movement

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland movement

The green colour-matching is cool, but the most impressive part of this watch is its movement and trademark Timezoner complication. The IWC caliber 82760 features a novel take on a world time mechanism which is completely operated by the watch’s bezel. By pushing down and rotating the bezel to the time zone of your choice, the hour hand, the 24-hour display and the date will move forward or backward in one-hour steps. This also works to and fro across the dateline.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland bezel

In short, it’s one of the least fussy world time mechanisms in mechanical watchmaking. It’s particularly useful if you’ve got a long journey across multiple time zones – or you’re trying to work out an international conference call. A 60-hour power reserve and 100m of water-resistance add to its practicality.

The strap

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland strap

The Timezoner Woodland comes mounted on a colour-matched Woodland Green rubber strap that features a textile inner and a Ceratanium pin buckle. While this strap is comfortable, robust and suits the military vibe of the watch perfectly, it doesn’t have a quick-change system, which is a bit odd considering virtually all of IWC’s metal bracelets and leather straps do. Indeed, none of their rubber straps feature quick-change systems, which is a bit of an aberration.

The verdict

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland flatlay

Honestly, I don’t know why more people don’t talk about the Timezoner; it’s such a novel take on a world timer; so utterly intuitive and elegant… It’s criminally underrated. Adding this all-green take on the Timezoner to the range only strengthens its appeal. Actually, I think the real genius of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland is its weight: this is the lightest Timezoner yet, and that makes a difference for such a big, complication-heavy watch.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland pricing & availability

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland is available now from IWC boutiques and online. Price: A$26,500.

Brand IWC
Model Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Woodland
Reference Number IW395601
Case Dimensions 46mm (D) x 15.1mm (T)
Case Material Green ceramic and Ceratanium
Water Resistance 100 metres, screw-down crown
Crystal(s) AR-coated convex sapphire front, tinted sapphire back
Dial Matte green
Lug Width 22mm
Strap Green rubber with textile inner, Ceratanium pin buckle
Movement IWC Calibre 82760, Pellaton automatic
Power Reserve 60 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date, Timezoner world timer
Availability Available now for enquiries
Price A$26,500