IWC’s new range of Pilot watches has just arrived at the Richemont London offices. Brand director Simon Chambers, UK marketing manager Imogen Scrutton and myself pored over the weighty models, testing them out for wearability and functionality.
The latter came off well, as you’d hope with watches designed for navigation and timekeeping under pressure – in particular, the pressure of performing at the US Top Gun navy flying school. Indeed, one of the standout pieces from the collection is the Top Gun Miramar (above), named after the original home of the flight school outside San Diego, California.
“Drawing on the history of the school and the watches, the Miramar is designed with the hour circle and chapter ring running separately on the dials, as being able to read the minutes and seconds was the important factor for a navigator,” explains Chambers.
The Miramar is designed to have that retro, military feel too. The grey ceramic case has a sheen that is particularly complimented by the military green strap and beige hands, to give a functional and hard-edged look. Speaking of function, it is worth mentioning that the entire Top Gun collection is equipped with IWC-manufactured calibers, including the largest automatic movement ever made by IWC, with a power reserve of 168 hours. The chronograph has a flyback function and an analogue display for stopped minutes and seconds – one other factor explaining the model’s large 48mm diameter and chunky depth.
Outside of the Miramar, our particular favourite for look and feel was the updated Pilot’s Watch Chronograph (above). Although without the visual complications of the rest of the updated Pilot’s range – such as the 24 time zones on the Worldtimer – this model keeps the attractive red design features and vertical triple-date display of the rest of the Pilot’s range, as well as a beautifully worked metal bracelet that keeps all its pins on the inside of the band, creating a smooth finish and wearing experience.
“You don’t need a screwdriver or anything to adjust it, despite the hidden design, just a simple push on the pins,” says Chambers. “There is a also an adjustment mechanism in the clasp to deal with slight variations in your wrist with changes in temperature. It’s nice to have functionality extended throughout the watch.”
Altogether a beautifully rugged collection. IWC’s practice of updating one range of watches each year has found particularly glad purchase on the Pilots, adding fresh modern design to traditional airborne features.
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