Maverick’s got two new wingmen… 2019 saw the introduction of a sultry sand-coloured ceramic watch inspired by the Mojave Desert, home of the largest land area owned by the U.S. Navy, the Pilot’s Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert”. Not your average IWC, but certainly one that wowed many, including yours truly. In my opinion the “Mojave Dessert” edition is not a traditional looking Pilots watch but certainly caters to future generations who do appreciate reliable and functional watches but with aesthetics that will make heads turn.
At Watches & Wonders 2021, IWC Schaffhausen has taken it a notch higher and introduced two new additions to the “Mojave Dessert” family – the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” and the Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert”. Yes, we now have Big Pilots in ceramic too, a first for IWC. Ceramic however, is no stranger to Schaffhausen based Manufacture. In fact back in the 80’s and 90’s both, the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar and the Fliegerchronograph were available in ceramic versions.
But, the spotlight at Watches & Wonders 2021 is on the Big Pilots. Now although the Big Pilot’s Watch has a long-standing heritage as a “tool watch”, it has also been no stranger to complications. The spectrum ranges from the big date and annual calendar through to the perpetual calendar and constant-force tourbillon.
Perpetual Calendar Edition “Mojave Desert” (Ref. IW503004).
Kurt Klaus’s legendary design that translated the Gregorian calendar, with all its many irregularities, into a mechanical program for a wristwatch that will continue running perfectly until 2499 with virtually no corrections was first featured in IWC’s Da Vinci Chronograph Perpetual Calendar in 1985 and is still regarded, even today, as a milestone in the art of watchmaking.
2021 will now see the legendary perpetual calendar in a 46mm sand-coloured ceramic case for the first time. Just like the other IWC perpetuals, the moon phase here correctly depicts the moon phase for the northern and southern hemispheres and only needs to be adjusted by one day after 577.5 years. Because its displays are perfectly synchronised, the calendar can be advanced easily via a single crown.
Powered by IWC-manufactured 52615 calibre, the Perpetual Calendar Edition “Mojave Desert” features the calendar module that displays a four-digit year display and a seven day power reserve driven by the automatic Pellaton winding system, reinforced with virtually wear- free ceramic components. The movement, including key elements like the rotor and the balance wheel, is on full display through the sapphire crystal case back. This eye-catching military-inspired design Perpetual Calendar Edition “Mojave Desert” (Ref. IW503004) is limited to just 150 pieces per year.
The Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” (Ref. IW506003)
The Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” (Ref. IW506003) is the first Big Pilot’s Watch to be made in sand-coloured ceramic. This high scratch resistant 46-millimetre ceramic Big Pilot is outfitted with the IWC-manufactured 52110 calibre, again with the Pellaton winding, two barrels and a seven-day power reserve. Since this one is fitted with a soft-iron inner cage to shield the movement from the effects of magnetic fields, the closed titanium casebook engraved with the legendary TOP GUN logo seems like the logical option. With Dark brown subdued dials, sand-coloured hands and sand-coloured rubber strap with textile inlay, the Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” (Ref. IW506003) will be limited to just 250 pieces per year.
CERAMIC: ONE OF THE HARDEST SUBSTANCES ON EARTH
The ceramic used for the sand-coloured cases is characterised by the very pure raw materials and highly sophisticated production processes used in its manufacture. Polycrystalline powders are mixed with several auxiliary materials to form a homogeneous mass, shaped and finally sintered in a furnace at extremely high temperatures. With a Vickers rating second only to that of diamonds, the so-called engineering ceramic is among the hardest substances on earth. The colour of the case, reminiscent of desert sand and uniforms worn by the Navy is made from a special alloy of zirconium oxide and other metallic oxides.
The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” and the Big Pilot’s Watch TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” will be available from April 7th and are eligible for registration under the My IWC care program and thus benefit from a 6-year extension to the standard 2-year International Limited Warranty.
I am not a typical traditionalist when it comes to my taste in watches so these gorgeous sand-coloured ceramic beauties have certainly stirred my emotions. However, as much as I appreciate the aesthetics, I can’t help but wonder if these cases will survive an accidental knock without completely cracking the case. That being said, both the Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” and the Big Pilot’s TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” are certainly a pair of good looking watches that all you Maverick and Goose fans will certainly appreciate. I know I do. The Perpetual could be my wingman any day!