As seen at this year’s Watches and Wonders in Geneva, IWC Schaffhausen is going green. And white. The Swiss watchmaker has revealed two limited edition colourways for their iconic TOP GUN chronographs. The new hues – dubbed Lake Tahoe white, which features a white ceramic case and black dial; and Woodland Green in a dark, forest green ceramic case and matching dial – create a metaphoric bridge between the skies and the landscape while pulling influence from the US Navy.

While aviation is at the heart of IWC, the TOP GUN timepieces have become a popular pillar within the Big Pilot family. The two latest additions serve to deepen the brand’s connection to the US Navy, a source of inspiration since the collection was first launched back in 2007. But it’s also a continuation of a story that began back in 2019, with the release of their Mojave Desert edition, the first TOP GUN to be made with a sand-coloured ceramic. While the Lake Tahoe edition takes its inspiration from the mountainous regions and waters of its namesake during winter, the Woodland Green is inspired by the colour of the flight suits worn by the US Navy pilots.

“These new chronographs not only underscore IWC’s longstanding and extensive experience in the fields of in-house chronographs and advanced materials. The white and green ceramic used for the cases also illustrates the current evolution of TOP GUN from a collection primarily focused on performance to a bold style statement and an expression of a distinct way of life,” highlights Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen.

“The colour codes of US Navy uniforms and the landscapes used as training grounds by naval aviators have inspired our new chronographs.”

TOP GUN Big Pilot

Looks-wise, there’s plenty to take in. The TOP GUN chronographs have accrued a dedicated fan base for their robust yet elegant finish, a distinct detail that it shares with the other timepieces within the Big Pilot line. Their bold and unashamedly large case is immediately identifiable and this remains the situation with the latest renditions. Sitting inside the 44.5-millimetre case and providing the grunt is an IWC-manufactured 69380 Calibre. The TOP GUN comes with a slew of hard-duty features that make it suitable for multiple conditions. This includes a soft iron inner case to protect their movements from the effects of magnetic fields. Just in case you find yourself within the vicinity of Magneto from The X-Men. Or a magnet, of course. As well as specially secured front glasses to withstand drops in air pressure and water resistancy to six bars.

As far as aesthetic details go, IWC have maintained a light touch to the final product, letting the materials speak for themselves. The newly developed “Woodland Green” is used on both ceramic case and dial that gives the watch an overall pleasingly streamlined perspective. Numerals and hour markers are printed in a lighter hue while pushers and case back are matte black Ceratanium. Developed by IWC, this material combines the lightness and structural integrity of titanium with a hardness and scratch-resistance similar to ceramic. A matching green rubber strap with textile inlay completes the design. Complementing the “Lake Tahoe White” ceramic case is a pitch-black dial and black hands coated with luminescent material. Pushers and the crown are both stainless steel while the case back is titanium. A matching white rubber strap with a distinctive embossing finishes it up.

One of the key components of the timepiece is the ceramic casing. It makes sense that a flight-inspired watch would be made of a material that makes it lighter, more resilient, more aesthetically pleasing to touch while being simple to look at and IWC were pioneers of this material, having introduced it into their watches over 30 years ago. The benefits of ceramic in timepieces over more familiar materials are fundamental to a watch that’s built for withstanding high pressure scenarios. Of course, this might not be in the cockpit of a F-5 Tiger II but there’s comfort in knowing that here’s a watch that can withstand an active life.