The current luxury sports watch market is embroiled in a material arms race. Brands across the industry have brought exotic watch cases made of carbon composite materials, ceramics and lightweight titanium alloys to a wider range of watches than ever before. IWC has been at the forefront of this material boom for many years, especially the use of ceramics, but perhaps its most interesting material innovation is the brand’s proprietary Ceratanium alloy. Ceratanium combines the light weight and impact resistance of titanium with the scratch resistance and durability of modern zirconia ceramics. It is a hybrid of the best of both worlds, cleverly covering the technical basis of a truly modern sports watch. Therefore, it is not surprising that this material has become the mainstay of the brand’s fighter-inspired TOP GUN pilot watch series, and in its latest version, IWC has combined this proprietary material with its most interesting proprietary complication. Air travel was taken into consideration in the design of the one-in-one combination. The new IWC pilot watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium combines ultra-modern elastic structure with satisfying touch and easy-to-use complications, boldly and stylishly showing the brand’s modern features, and its packaging should please fans of the series .
The fact that IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium is a very large watch is inescapable. 46mm wide and 15.1mm thick, it cuts an impressive figure on the wrist, and the simple military-inspired case geometry barely hides the overall volume of the design. On the contrary, like many versions in the IWC Pilot series, this model wears its size as a badge of honor, and demonstrates its status as a manifesto through its iconic oversized conical crown and long tapered lugs. However, IWC has reduced the sense of quality here in many ways, helping to make this bold size case more suitable for all kinds of wearers. The most obvious part is the finish. Just like clothes, black is the color that looks thin, and the entire case is finished with satin matte charcoal gray, which has a smaller overall feeling than polished or brushed steel cases. The other part of this not-so-large feeling is that the overall mass is smaller. Like the more common form of titanium, the unique Ceratanium sintered alloy of titanium and zirconia powder is much lighter than stainless steel, making this case design much more comfortable than people think. Although this extremely hard material is difficult to process, the engraving of the world timetable circle on the edge of the coin is also very clear, full of low-contrast battleship gray, maintaining the modern military atmosphere of the design. The vivid red of the UTC mark adds some much-needed life to this monochromatic look, while also allowing for an easy-to-see direction. IWC decided to add a smoky gray tone to the sapphire display case back. This may be a split move because it retains the moody “tacticool” overall appearance while significantly reducing the visibility of the internal movement. Although this design has a strong military connotation, water resistance is still a weakness here. IWC rated this watch as only 60 meters.
The dial of IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium adopts the same soft monochromatic method as the case, presenting the familiar combination of wide flying hands and round Arabic numerals in grainy matte black and low-contrast sky gray. However, what is interesting is the wide display window curved from 11 o’clock to 1 o’clock. This 24-hour circle is the key to IWC’s time zone concept. Timezoner is not strictly a GMT or world timer, but a streamlined concept that focuses on ease of use for travelers. The 24-hour dial hand does not display the second time zone, but is directly connected to the main hour hand. The wearer only needs to press the bezel and align the current time zone (indicated by the corresponding city) with the triangular luminous map at 12 o’clock to instantly reset the hour to local time. Although some audiophiles may condemn the absence of a second time zone, in practice, its operation is immediately intuitive and satisfying, with a pleasantly crisp and heavy click between each position of the bezel. Its integration with the overall design is also very clean, with a form similar to instrumentation, which complements the aviation theme of the work. However, the use of a black disc for this element does cause a slight visual dissonance in the overall design. The regular date window at 3 o’clock uses a light gray disc, and the collision between these two elements seems a bit harsh on the wrist.
IWC with its internal 82760 self-winding movement powers the pilot’s watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium. The 82760 is a fascinating out-of-the-box power unit that integrates the gear train directly with the rotating bezel to promote the unique Timezoner complication. The mixed finish visible through the smoked sapphire display window is also commendable, cleverly mixing brushed, arabesque and pearl elements with dark black markings of selected gear train elements. In terms of overall performance, the 82760 has a sturdy and modern feel, and the ceramic-enhanced Pillerton winding system helps to provide a powerful power reserve of 60 hours at a beat rate of 28,800 bph.
To complete the appearance of the pilot’s watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium, IWC turned to one of its modern pillars with a black rubber-lined fabric strap. This durable and flexible combination helps to reduce the weight of the overall package while providing a sturdy appearance that complements the spirit of the TOP GUN series.
The new IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium combines the most flexible proprietary materials with the most fascinating unique complications in its packaging, unabashedly and boldly incorporating some of the brand’s most interesting ideas.