Date — 16 January, 2012
The top pilot’s job is an ongoing struggle against time: when an alert sounds, he has to start working with all the precision of a watch movement and have his jet up in the air within no time. A chronograph with down-to-the-second accuracy is de rigueur in the TOP GUN Pilot’s Watch line.
If you plan to stay ahead of the pack, you need state-of-the-art technology. And that’s why the pilots at the NAS base in Fallon, Nevada Desert are trained in the very latest jets – the Top Guns. Any Haute Horlogerie manufacturer planning to remain in the top flight needs to upgrade on a regular basis. IWC Schaffhausen, for instance, has equipped its new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN (Ref. 388001) with the in-house 89365 calibre, which boosts the watch’s power reserve from 44 to a useful 68 hours compared with its predecessor. A soft-iron inner case protects the precision mechanism against magnetic fields.
The dial is in the classical cockpit design, all the way down to the date display, which resembles an altimeter. Luminescent white hands and indices guarantee outstanding legibility, even when visibility is far from perfect. The central chronograph hand, whose signal red counterpoise brings to mind the silhouette of a jet, shows recorded times in seconds, while the small white hand in the subdial at “12 o’clock” shows the number of elapsed minutes. Thanks to the integrated flyback function, simply pushing the reset button causes the stopwatch hand to return to zero and instantly starts recording a new time. The small red hacking seconds rotating at “6 o’clock” indicates that the watch is running normally. It can be stopped whenever necessary for synchronization purposes.
The high-tech materials used in the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN are of the very highest quality
The high-tech materials used in the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN are of the very highest quality. The ceramic case, enlarged by 2 millimetres to 46, is water-resistant to 6 bar, light and extremely skin-friendly. The push-buttons and crown are made of titanium. With an antireflective coating on both sides, the convex sapphire glass (grade 9 on Mohs’ hardness scale) is highly scratch-resistant and secured against sudden drops in cockpit pressure.
Heading up IWC’s Pilot’s Watches
With identical features, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Miramar (Ref. 388002) references the original home of Top Gun: Miramar, California. The US Navy Fighter Weapons School was situated there from 1969 to 1996, when it was relocated to Fallon, Nevada. The Top Gun engraving on the titanium case back is a tribute to a select elite and an indication that this is the technological highlight of IWC’s Pilot’s Watch family. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Miramar features the military design. The ceramic case owes its shimmering metallic grey, which is paired with a dial in matte anthracite, to the elaborately finished surfacing. The hands and chapter ring in beige, together with the rugged green textile strap, reinforce the desired look. One unusual feature is the separate depiction of the minutes on the external ring and the hours on a smaller inner ring. This is derived from an original feature of deck watches in the 1930s and 1940s, when the precise time in minutes and seconds was essential for determining the aircraft’s position. The flyback is another function that dates from that era of aviation. It allows the chronograph to “delete” an ongoing time measurement and to start a new one without an intermediate stop. This was vital if the pilot was timing certain curved radii using his watch, or if a manoeuvre had to be abandoned and a new one started immediately.
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