Do you fancy buying a brand new IWC Pilot Chronograph SFTI ref. IW389004? Well, too bad, because to have the option to buy one of those watches you’d need to graduate the US Naval Aviation Committee’s Strike Fighter Tactics program (SFTI), which is more commonly known as TOPGUN. This new watch, dubbed the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “SFTI” ref IW389104 brings some of the appeal of that limited-sales watch to the consumer market.
Thankfully, this one doesn’t look exactly the same as the IW389004, or the pilots who graduated and bought one would be feeling pretty stupid right now. Coming in on a green combat strap, this new pilot’s watch from a brand which is undoubtedly one of the forefathers of aviation-based timepieces has a large 44mm x 15.7mm black ceramic case.
The black dial with SuperLumiNova-painted hands and markers certainly draws on the appearance of aviation instruments. The broad hands and markers will make reading the time at a glance particularly easy, while the matte case and dial provide a stealthy look with plenty of contrast. There’s a lot of information displayed on the dial, perhaps IWC could have left out the day and date windows under the IWC logo. A couple of red touches on the running seconds subdial and the jet-shaped counterweight for the chronograph seconds help to break up this monochromatic dial nicely.
Inside the imposing case is an in-house made movement. The calibre 69380 is automatically-wound with a 4Hz beat rate and a modest 48-hour power reserve. There’s also a column wheel which controls the chronograph and eliminates judder from when the teeth of the chronograph wheel connect to the running movement. Surprisingly, there’s no flyback function for this watch, which is odd considering its primary use was on pilot watches in the 50s.
This watch is limited to 1500 examples worldwide and has a recommended retail price of €10,100.