IWC’s Two New Top Gun Watches Are Inspired by the US Navy
Used in components for aircraft turbines and high-performance engines, ceramic has become a go-to case material in the watch industry thanks to its lightweight and extreme durability, as well as a scratch-resistance rivaled only by diamonds. IWC has been working with the stuff since the ’80s, but contemporary models, such as 2019’s sand-colored Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert,” have reignited demand. Now the company has followed up with two new Top Guns—the “Lake Tahoe” ($9,100) in white and the “Woodland” (pictured, $9,900) in green, both 45.5 mm by 15.7 mm—inspired by the hues of US Navy uniforms and the training grounds of naval aviators.
But ceramic isn’t all about a tough-guy exterior. It’s also employed for its design potential, allowing watchmakers to achieve striking colors that would otherwise typically be executed on the dial. The “Woodland” is an almost entirely monochromatic presentation, extending the colorway throughout the watch, save for the off-white dial markers and a black crown and pushers, while the “Lake Tahoe” is outfitted with a black dial, for legibility, and a stainless-steel crown and pushers.
Creating the case hues is a surprisingly technical process, one that necessitates collaborating with engineers through multiple pigment tests, each of which requires mixing the ceramic zirconium oxide with metallic oxides to achieve the perfect shade. The material is then fired in a furnace, though each iteration also requires its own specific temperature and heating duration. Even more challenging, IWC strove to match the case colors precisely with their fabric bracelets—and consider the Woodland a triple threat, since those two components also had to match the dial. The final result is a pair of timepieces, limited to 1,000 each per year, that make IWC’s Top Gun line what some might call a “target-rich environment.”
Source: Robb Report