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IWC Schaffhausen – Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “SFTI”

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IWC Schaffhausen commemorates its great aviator heritage with a new watch in the TOP GUN range of Pilot’s Watches – the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition ‘SFTI’. The latest model takes inspiration from the ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ watch, which was created in 2018 in honour of the US Naval Aviation Community and is available only for TOPGUN graduates. 

There are a few fine-watchmaking brands with a strong connection to flying, IWC Schaffhausen is firmly among them. The history of the company intertwines with aviation – the first ‘Spezialuhr für Flieger’ (special watch for pilots) in 1936 established the tradition of producing Pilot’s Watches in Schaffhausen under the direction of Ernst Jakob Homberger. It featured the Caliber 83 with an antimagnetic escapement inside and offered a great legibility with high-contrast hands and numerals on the dial. Throughout the years IWC Schaffhausen has been working on many aviation related developments and collaborations – please discover more about the stories and a few of their important timepieces here  (we had an interesting chat with David Seyffer, curator of IWC’s museum in 2016). 

In 2019 the Geneva booth of IWC was all about the pilot watches and the exceptional aircraft restoration and flying challenge was also announced, the ‘Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight’. At the end of 2019 pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones made aviation history after completing the first ever round-the-world flight in a Spitfire

This autumn IWC Schaffhausen has another release inspired by the life of pilots. 

Touch the sky

Two years ago IWC created the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ in collaboration with instructors based on Naval Air Station Leemore in California. It is available exclusively for graduates of the Navy Fighter Weapons School. The new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition ‘SFTI’, limited to 1500 pieces, takes inspiration from the acclaimed ‘Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor’ watch, with a chronograph movement. 

It has a robust 44-millimeter case, made of black zirconium oxide. Zirconium oxide (or zirconium dioxide, zirconia) is an inorganic metal oxide that is mainly used in ceramic materials. It is a material with very high resistance to cracks and also has a very high thermal expansion and is therefore often the material of choice for joining ceramic and steel.

The case is extremely scratch-resistant and its stealthy black colour is totally anti-reflective. The tactical matte black look is completed by a black dial and black hands with luminescent coating. The small second hand and the tail of the chronograph second hand, which takes the form of a jet, add a touch of red to the instrument-style dial. Its case back and the chronograph pushers are made of Ceratanium.® This material developed by IWC combines the excellent properties of titanium and ceramic – it is a lightweight but very scratch-resistant new material. 

The new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition ‘SFTI’ is powered by the IWC- manufactured 69380 calibre, a chronograph movement in classic column-wheel design ensures precise timekeeping and the measurement of stopwatch times of up to 12 hours. The sporty and functional timepiece is fitted with a green textile strap. 

We had the chance to preview the timepiece but IWC Schaffhausen officially presented this novelty at an online webcast in the presence of Christoph Grainger-Herr (CEO), Christian Knoop (Creative Director) and a special guest, Jim DiMatteo, retired US Navy Captain. He has served in several aviation leadership positions and was awarded numerous accolades (including US Navy Fighter Pilot of the Year and US Navy Adversary Pilot of the Year). He was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievements in aviation. You can check out the conversation here.

Photo credits: Loupiosity.com, IWC Schaffhausen.
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