The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” and the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” — as their respective names read in full — are the two new Top Gun watches introduced for 2021 by IWC. Let’s see what’s on offer for those who, either in their fantasies or in reality, end up roaming the Mojave Desert after having ejected from their F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.
Both watches have done their fair share to earn the “Big” in their name designations, as both 2021 IWC Top Gun watches come in massive proportions. The three-hand reference IW506003 measures 46mm in diameter and 14.6mm in thickness, while the perpetual calendar reference IW503004 measures 46.5mm in diameter and 15.6mm in thickness.
The similarities continue: The case material is sand-colored ceramic — originally debuted in 2019, but a first for IWC’s perpetual calendar — inspired by the Mojave Desert, home of the largest land area owned by the U.S. Navy, specifically the “barren and dry landscape of China Lake. Here, at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the military develops and tests airborne weapon systems and trains pilots in their use.” As you will see on the solid titanium caseback of the three-hand IWC Top Gun Big Pilot’s Watch, that Fighter Weapons School is what Top Gun refers to. It is here that TOPGUN (which is how it actually is written, although IWC splits it into two separate words) instructors currently fly the F/A-18A/B/C/D/E/F Hornet and Super Hornet, as well as the undelivered Pakistani F-16A/B Fighting Falcon.
Both pieces feature proper IWC in-house calibers. The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” is powered by the IWC 52615 movement, while the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” is powered by the IWC 52110 movement. Both feature the ceramic-based Pellaton self-winding system that serves to replenish the impressive seven-day (168-hour) power reserve of both watches. While the perpetual, in true IWC tradition, has all its indications adjustable through the crown (no fiddly, unlabeled corrector pushers in the side of the case like on most other perpetual calendar watches), it sure is neat to have seven days of go-juice and not have to worry about adjusting your perpetual at all.
Both pieces feature a handy power reserve indicator at the 3 o’clock position — on the three-hander it is only accompanied by a discreetly placed and neatly color-coordinated date aperture at 6 o’clock, while the perpetual brings the full armada of calendar displays. A cool “flex” in IWC’s official technical description is how, on both pieces, the crystals are secured against displacement caused by drops in air pressure, should you climb a bit too fast in your F-18.
Available from April 7th through IWC boutiques, authorized retail partners and on the brand’s site, both pieces can be registered for the “My IWC” care program that extends the standard two-year warranty to eight years. Given that both are priced well into the luxury segment, that extra peace of mind is certainly nice to be offered. Price for the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” IW506003 is $200 USD. Price for the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert” IW503004 is $240 USD.