Photo Credit: José M. Ramos
TOP GUN watches, which IWC has been making since 2007, take their name from the legendary Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN). In this program, the US Navy trains the very best pilots in flying and tactical skills. After graduating as Strike Fighter Tactics Instructors (SFTI), the pilots return to their respective units as teachers.
To withstand the extreme strain that pilots can experience in the cockpit of supersonic jets like the F/A-18 Super Hornet or during long-lasting missions on an aircraft carrier, IWC’s TOP GUN watches are engineered using extremely robust and resilient materials such as titanium, ceramics and Ceratanium®.
In 2018, IWC created the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor” (Ref. IW389004) in collaboration with instructors based on Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. Featuring a case made of black ceramic and the iconic TOPGUN patch on the dial, the rugged chronograph remains exclusively available to graduates of the Navy Fighter Weapons School.
Inspired by this military-exclusive watch, IWC launched the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “SFTI” (Ref. IW389104) in 2020. The all-black chronograph combines a black ceramic case with a case back and pushers made of Ceratanium®.
IWC is now the only watch brand to be officially licensed to work on watches for the entire US Navy and Marine Corps, including TOPGUN, Blue Angels® and the 247 active and 100 inactive squadrons. All IWC squadron watches are available exclusively to current and former members of the respective units and feature an individual engraving of the owner’s name and call sign. So far, IWC has collaborated with various squadrons, including the VFA-102 Diamondbacks, VFA-27 Royal Maces, VFA-211 Fighting Checkmates, VFA-115 Eagles, VFA-22 Fighting Redcocks and the US Marine Corps VMFA-242 Bats and VMFA-323 Death Rattlers.
In 2019, IWC became an official licensee of the team and celebrated the collaboration with a special edition Pilot’s Watch: The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Blue Angels®” (Ref. IW389008).The blue dial, accented with a white-numeral outer ring and a yellow-numeral inner ring, paid homage to the colours this historic group is known for and the design codes of early military observer’s watches.
For over 70 years, the ‘Blue Angels®’ U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron has performed feats of aerobatic bravery for the enjoyment of millions of fans worldwide. Founded in 1946 on the instruction of the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Blue Angels® are synonymous for their breath-taking precision, elegance and speed.
In 2019, IWC became an official licensee of the team and celebrated the collaboration with a special edition Pilot’s Watch: The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Blue Angels®” (Ref. IW389008). In 2019 the team comprised 14 officers, including six Navy and Marine pilots to fly the F/A-18 Hornet jets, plus 122 enlisted staff, and IWC collaborated with several members of the team to help bring the model to life. The blue dial, accented with a white-numeral outer ring and a yellow-numeral inner ring, paid homage to the colours this historic group is known for and the design codes of early military observer’s watches.
The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Blue Angels®” has been available in boutiques and online as of November 2019.
Additionally, on the occasion of the Blue Angels 75th anniversary, IWC created a unique model available exclusively to current and former Blue Angels staff. It features the special Blue Angel crest worn only by the staff at 9 o’clock, as well as an individual engraving of the owner’s name and call sign.
In 2021, IWC launched the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Blue Angels” as part of its professional Pilot’s Chronograph collection. The third timepiece to emerge from IWC’s license agreement with the Blue Angels® is inspired by the military-exclusive watch developed with team members of the Blue Angels in Pensacola and features a striking blue ceramic case.
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Engineered for Naval Aviators
TOP GUN Pilot’s Watches are dedicated to the legendary Navy Fighter Weapons School program, in which the US Navy trains the very best pilots in flying and tactical skills.