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Review: IWC Pilot Watches SFTI As Spotted on Top Gun: Maverick

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iwc topgun watch review

Tom Cruise’s iconic timepiece in the original 1986 Top Gun movie was an Orfina chronograph. The much-anticipated sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” introduces a new star: the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition ‘SFTI.’ This move emphasizes IWC’s longstanding ties with aviation and its contributions to the Navy.

IWC, a Swiss luxury watch brand, has a rich history of creating Pilot’s watches known for their precision and durability for aviators. Its alliance with the Navy adds to its legacy. With the ‘Top Gun’ series, IWC embraces modern military aviation challenges, giving these watches credibility and authenticity.

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition ‘SFTI’ is a limited-edition model available to a select few, making it a prized addition to any watch collection. 

men wearing IWC top gun  chronograph ref. IW389004

In this article, we’ll delve into these watches’ design, functionality, and potential return on investment.

  • IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ (ref. IW389004)
  • IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ (ref. IW324705)

The Case

One of IWC Top Gun watches’ most notable features is the case, which is designed to be both visually striking and incredibly durable. IWC is also known for its bold and monochromatic watches, such as The IWC Pilot Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Black Ceramic. 

IWC Top Gun Pilot IW389004 case

The case of the W389004 is made from black zirconium oxide ceramic, which provides extreme hardness and scratch resistance. Your watch will maintain its pristine appearance even after years of use. In addition to the ceramic case, the caseback and crown are made of a material called Ceratanium, which combines the lightweight properties of titanium with the hardness of ceramics. On the back, there is an intricate engraving of the TOP GUN logo.

IWC Top Gun Pilot Mark IW324705 case

On the other hand, the Strike Fighter IW324705 features a case back made from automotive titanium 5N, which is durable, light, and skin-friendly. This watch maintains the same level of durability and scratch resistance as the Chronograph Edition.

Both watches are designed with the rigors of pilot training in mind, and the use of ceramic and titanium materials in their cases ensures that they can withstand the harshest conditions while maintaining their functionality and appearance. With either of these IWC Top Gun watches on your wrist, you can be confident in the durability and performance that they provide.

The Dial

IWC Top Gun Pilot IW389004 dial

When examining the dials of the IWC Top Gun watches, you will notice a few key differences between the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition and the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition. The Chronograph Edition features a more complex layout, with subdials for the stopwatch function, as well as day and date displays. The red small seconds hand at 6 o’clock provides a striking highlight on the black dial.

IWC Top Gun Pilot Mark IW324705 dial

On the other hand, the Mark XVIII Edition offers a more simplified dial layout, focusing on legibility and minimalism. With just hour markers and a date display at 3 o’clock, this model is perfect for those who prefer a clean and straightforward design. Both watches, however, feature the iconic TOP GUN patch on their dials, reflecting their shared military heritage.

The black ceramic cases of these IWC Top Gun models make them well-suited for extreme environments, and their luminescent indices ensure readability even in low-light conditions. The premium materials and attention to detail in these timepieces illustrate IWC’s commitment to horological excellence and their collaboration with the Navy Fighter Weapons School.

In conclusion, both the Chronograph and Mark XVIII Editions of the IWC Top Gun watches offer top-notch performance and distinctive designs. The choice between them ultimately boils down to whether you prefer the additional functionality of the Chronograph Edition or the more minimalist approach of the Mark XVIII Edition.

The Strap/Bracelet

IWC Top Gun Pilot's watch strap

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ (ref. IW389004) and the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ (ref. IW324705) both feature high-quality straps suitable for their respective collections. These straps are designed to withstand the rigors of daily use while maintaining a professional and sleek appearance.

Both watches showcase green textile straps, perfectly complementing their ceramic cases and black dials. The Chronograph Edition’s strap width measures 21.0 mm. In addition, the textile straps are comfortable and durable, ensuring lasting style and functionality for your IWC timepiece.Understanding the importance of straps in the overall design and performance of a watch, IWC collaborates with SBTG to create limited edition straps for their TOP GUN range. These exclusive straps not only enhance the appearance of your watch but also demonstrate IWC’s commitment to innovation and craftsmanship.

The Movement

iwc topgun movement

When it comes to the movements powering these exceptional timepieces, IWC has engineered them with precision and performance in mind. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ (ref. IW389004) and the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ (ref. IW324705) both benefit from IWC’s in-house movement technology, ensuring robustness and reliability in the most demanding environments.

The Chronograph Edition is powered by IWC’s calibre 69380, a self-winding movement with chronograph and day-date functions. This movement belongs to the 69000 calibre family, known for exceptional accuracy and durability. On the other hand, the Mark XVIII Edition features the calibre 32110, a self-winding movement with a date function and a power reserve of 72 hours. Both calibers are manufactured by IWC with precision engineering, guaranteeing the highest standards in performance and accuracy.

As a discerning watch connoisseur, you’ll appreciate the craftsmanship and innovation that goes into the development and production of IWC’s in-house movements. These timepieces are perfect representatives of IWC’s commitment to quality and performance, making them excellent additions to any aviation watch collection.

The Competitive Landscape

Known for its precise aviation watches, the IWC Top Gun series combines modern technology with a sleek military aesthetic. These watches are designed to withstand the rigors of extreme aviation, with features like anti-magnetic movements and robust case materials. The IWC brand itself carries a long legacy of producing pilot watches, dating back to World War II.

  • Rolex: Rolex is a globally recognized brand, known for its robust and timeless designs. A Rolex watch is often seen as a symbol of success and reliability. While their Submariner or Daytona models might not directly compete with IWC’s Top Gun series, the Rolex Air-King model does share the aviation theme.
  • Patek Philippe: This Swiss watchmaker is revered for its tradition of creating complex mechanical watches, including chronographs and perpetual calendar watches. Their Calatrava and Nautilus lines are iconic, although Patek Philippe doesn’t have a direct competitor in the military aviation niche.
  • Audemars Piguet: Known for its avant-garde designs, most notably the Royal Oak series, Audemars Piguet is a brand that focuses on innovation and distinctiveness. While the brand is mainly recognized for its sporty and luxury timepieces, it doesn’t have a direct parallel to the aviation-inspired IWC Top Gun series.
  • Breitling: Breitling is perhaps the most direct competitor to IWC’s Top Gun series. The brand has a deep-rooted association with aviation and has various pilot watches in its portfolio. Its Navitimer and Avenger series are the closest in spirit and functionality to the Top Gun series, offering precision chronographs and a bold, sporty aesthetic.
BrandKnown ForAverage SGD Price
RolexRobust and timeless designsS$2,118 – S$307,504
Patek PhilippeComplex mechanical watches, including chronographs and perpetual calendar watches.S$9,864 – S$817,580 
Audemars PiguetAvant-garde designs and focuses on innovation and distinctivenessS$8,620 – S$498,462 
BreitlingDeep-rooted association with aviation and has various pilot watches in its portfolioS$902 – S$25,227 

Why You Should Invest

The IWC Pilot collection holds the top spot among IWC’s collections, with more than 9K listings in Watchcharts over the past year. Watches within the Pilot collection generally trade between S$2,564 and S$45,545 on the private sales market, illustrating a broad range of desirability. Among these, the IWC 328203 model stands out as the most popular Pilot model.

Final Word

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition ‘SFTI’ is more than just a movie accessory – it’s a standout timepiece that carries the rich history and expert craftsmanship of the IWC brand. This watch not only meets the rigorous demands of modern aviation but also has an aesthetic that stands apart, making it a worthy limited-edition addition to any collection.

Key Takeaways

  • The IWC TOP GUN 2022 Pilot’s Watches showcase a blend of performance and style, featuring striking colors and cutting-edge materials.
  • IWC TOP GUN timepieces are powered by the latest in-house movement technology, derived from either the 52000, 82000, or 69000 calibre families.
  • These watches draw inspiration from the US Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, also known as Top Gun.

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