Top Gun is more than a highlight of Tom Cruise’s CV; it’s also a nickname given to the US Navy’s elite flight school, and IWC’s latest limited-edition timepiece is inspired by a gift that’s awarded to the successful graduates.
Back in 2018, IWC created the “Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor” Pilot’s Watch in collaboration with Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. It features a case made of black ceramic and the iconic Top Gun patch on the dial. This rugged chronograph is available exclusively for graduates of the Navy Fighter Weapons School.
Although IWC wasn’t prepared for civilian watch enthusiasts to miss out on the sweet chronograph action, that’s why the Swiss watchmaker is rolling out the “SFTI” Top Gun Pilot’s Watch. Limited to 1500 pieces, the “SFTI” is a chronograph made with black ceramic just like the Navy watch, and extraordinarily robust materials to withstand the extreme strain that pilots experience in the cockpit of supersonic jets like the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
It features a large 44-millimetre dial made of black zirconium oxide ceramic. Ceramic ranks among the hardest substances on earth is extremely scratch-resistant, and the stealthy black colour is entirely anti-reflective.
Flip it over and the case back and chronograph pushers are made of Ceratanium, a recent innovation from IWC’s materials engineers. This new material is as light and durable as titanium but at the same time as similarly hard and scratch-resistant as ceramic. Thanks to the combination of ceramic and Ceratanium, the chronograph boasts an entirely matte black design.
The tactical look is completed by a black dial and black hands coated with luminescence. The small second hand and the tail of the chronograph second hand, which takes the form of a jet, add a touch of red to the dark instrument-style cluster.
Ticking away inside the sturdy case is the IWC-manufactured 69380 calibre. The robust chronograph movement in classic column-wheel design ensures precise timekeeping and the measurement of stopwatch times of up to 12 hours. The automatic, self-winding chronograph has a power reserve of 46 hours and is water-resistant to a depth of 60 metres. Completing the functions is a date and weekday display. The sporty timepiece is then fitted with a green textile strap.
IWC’s latest chronograph, full name “Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition SFTI” is priced at 9,850€ which equates to around AUD$16,370. There’s still time to pick up one of these limited edition beauties, but if you’re after an original “Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor” Pilot’s Watch, then you will need to pursue a career as a Navy fighter pilot.