IWC Introduces A New TOP GUN Line With Innovative Case Materials
At the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, IWC Schaffhausen will be unveiling a new TOP GUN line in the Pilot’s Watches collection. The Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph TOP GUN Ceratanium is the first pilot's watch from IWC with a Ceratanium® case. The material developed by IWC is as lightweight and robust as titanium and at the same time as hard and scratch-resistant as ceramic. IWC will also be presenting the first watch case made from sand-coloured ceramic.
The TOP GUN watches, which IWC has been producing since 2007, take their name from the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program in the U.S. Navy. This training programme provides the best Navy pilots with flying and tactical training. Naval aviation requires incredible skill. When manoeuvring in tight curves, for example, both the pilots and the aircraft are subjected to maximum acceleration forces. Spending months at a time on an aircraft carrier also takes its toll on personnel and material. The TOP GUN watches are therefore specially designed with robust materials, such as ceramic and titanium, to meet the specific requirements of elite jet pilots. The matte black ceramic case, for example, ensures that pilots are not distracted by sunlight reflecting off their watches during the flight. The hard and scratch resistant ceramic is perfectly suited to daily use in a confined aircraft cockpit and can also withstand extreme G-forces. Ceramic and titanium are also extremely corrosion-resistant and can withstand humid, salty sea air.
The TOP GUN Line Comprises The Following Models
The Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph TOP GUN Ceratanium (Ref. IW371815) is the first IWC Pilot's Watch made from Ceratanium®. Developed by IWC, Ceratanium® is a material that combines the advantages of titanium and ceramic in a groundbreaking new composition. The patented material is as lightweight and unbreakable as titanium and at the same time as hard and scratch-resistant as ceramic. It is also characterised by its excellent skin compatibility, its high degree of corrosion-resistance and its matte black colour.
The base material for Ceratanium® is a special titanium alloy. The manufacturing process for this alloy involves multiple stages and is extremely complex, as the raw material must have an extremely high degree of purity. The blank is initially machined to give the various case components their final shape. This is followed by a furnace process. During this process, oxygen diffuses into the material, a phase transformation takes place and the surface of the metal becomes ceramic. With this special surface finishing, the material not only takes on the typical properties of ceramic such as extreme hardness and scratch resistance, but also develops its striking, matte black colour.
In contrast to conventional coating procedures used today such as DLC, which can separate from the carrier or flake off, the ceramic surface of Ceratanium® adheres permanently to the material. As well as its optimum material properties, what characterises Ceratanium® is its matte black colour. It therefore also fufilled customers’ desire for a completely jet black watch at the start of the five-year development process. For the first time, Ceratanium® will be used for a pilot’s watch in the new TOP GUN collection and it will also be the first time IWC has used this material for an unlimited watch. In the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph TOPGUN Ceratanium (Ref. IW371815), all case components, including the chronograph push buttons or the pin buckle, are made from Ceratanium®. This gives the watch a completely jet black design. The double chronograph has an integrated split-seconds hand mechanism for simultaneously measuring two short periods of time. It is powered by the 79420 calibre with self-winding and boasts a power reserve of 44 hours.
The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition "Mojave Desert" (Ref. IW389103) is the first watch with a case made from sand-coloured ceramic. This reference is limited to 500 pieces. The sand-coloured ceramic is inspired by the Mojave Desert, home to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake – the largest land area of the U.S. Navy. The colour perfectly matches the uniforms worn by Navy pilots and is the result of a combination of zirconium oxide with other metallic oxides. The chronograph is powered by the 69380 IWC-manufactured calibre. The chronograph movement with a classic column wheel design has both a chronograph function and a display for the day and date. The pawl-winding system, which winds up on both sides, boasts a power reserve of 46 hours.
In the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN (Ref. IW389101), IWC has integrated an IWC-manufactured movement from the 69000 calibre family into its pilot's watches for the first time. The 69380 IWC-manufactured calibre has both a chronograph function and a display for the day and date. The minutes are shown on the subdial at "12 o'clock" and the hours are shown at "9 o'clock". The red hand showing the small seconds at "6 o'clock" adds a splash of colour to the black dial with white numbers and indexes.
The Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN (Ref. IW326901) features an IWC-manufactured movement from the new 32000 calibre family. The 32110 IWC-manufactured calibre is a robust automatic movement that boasts a power reserve of 72 hours. With a diameter of 41 millimetres and a black ceramic case, the watch fits perfectly on any wrist.