Date — 16 January, 2012
Inspired by the spirit of the first Top Gun flight school in Miramar, California, two models in the TOP GUN collection race into 2012: the Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Miramar and the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Miramar. At the same time, both timepieces reference IWC’s longstanding tradition in the manufacture of deck watches.
The United States Navy Fighter Weapons School – the official title of the Top Gun flight training programme – was based in Miramar, California, from 1969 to 1996. In the eyes of aircraft enthusiasts all over the world, the small town about 30 kilometres north of San Diego, is the origin of the Top Gun legend.
And because Top Gun pilots spend so much time in the air, it’s vital that they also keep their feet on the ground. Shared values like camaraderie, team spirit and a sense of tradition are reinforced at barbecues and veteran reunions. But the feeling of belonging common to the elite pilots is best shown by their famous hand-made G1 flight jackets. Authentic signs of wear and tear indicating countless missions, increase the jacket’s sentimental value, while sewn-on patches closely document the pilot’s career: the aircraft types he has flown, clubs and societies, aircraft carriers and successfully completed training courses. Of these, the Top Gun insignia commands the highest respect. Pieces of military clothing such as the flight jacket are considered to be timeless classics and have long had an influence on civilian fashion. The military design and the extensive experience of IWC in the manufacture of so-called deck watches were a source of inspiration to IWC Schaffhausen in its creation of the TOP GUN Miramar line. The desired visual effect is reached by the metallic sheen of the grey ceramic case, the beige of the hands and chapter ring and the green of the textile strap.
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The historic legacy of the deck watches
The chapter ring contains another surprising new feature for IWC’s Pilot’s Watches: the outer numerals indicate the minutes while the hours are shown in a signal red inner circle. The unusual division into an external chapter ring and an inner hour circle is a reference to the deck watches of the 1930s and 1940s, and consequently the historic legacy of IWC’s Pilot’s Watches. In order to determine the astronomical position on long-haul flights, it was vital that the minutes and seconds on deck watches could be read off with maximum precision. The enormous importance of precise time for pilots can be seen from the lengths they went to in order to obtain it: prior to take-off, the navigator would set his observer’s watch by a surface chronometer in the flight preparation centre; this was set using a time signal on the radio, which in turn took the time from a central seconds pendulum clock. Once aboard, the navigator passed on the exact time to the captain, who usually wore a chronograph.
With its new TOP GUN Miramar line, IWC Schaffhausen addresses watch lovers who consciously celebrate the historical legacy behind the Pilot’s Watches, but do not wish to forgo the technological advances of the 21st century.
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