What We Know
Last month, during F1 Miami, news broke of a mysterious new IWC Big Pilot after photos surfaced of Lewis Hamilton wearing the watch prior to the race. It wasn't hard to figure out what the watch was – something about the 46mm+ case size, stark white case & bracelet plus the complicated dial layout made it easily spottable without even zooming in on the photo. But there was one issue a month ago: The watch didn't exist at the time, at least not officially. Well, that's different now as IWC has properly unveiled this hunk of white ceramic.
The Lake Tahoe – a name conceived by IWC and Pantone to describe the white color – design was first seen last year in chronograph form. Many wondered when we'd see a Perpetual Big Pilot variation much like the chronograph/QP tandem of the Mojave editions. Now that we have this new Top Gun Big Pilot, so named for its association with the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (Topgun) program in the U.S. Navy, it's clear that this design sings in the black & white iteration. While the Mojave, with its tan-on-tan aesthetic, was visually interesting, this new model is downright exciting.
Nothing has changed other than the colors here, so what you get is the same IWC-manufactured 52615 caliber movement offering just about every measurable timing option on the dial including a special double moon phase complication allowing the user to read the phases of the Moon in both northern and southern hemispheres – a complication that will only deviate by one day after 577.5 years.
The watch comes affixed to a white rubber strap and deployant clasp. It's 46.5mm white-ceramic case is certainly not for all wrists, but is worth a try-on if you can. It will cost $40,900 when it arrives in July.
What We Think
This new watch is catching the attention of the broader watch community right now. Many have begun dubbing it the "Storm Trooper". The Star Wars fan in me loves a good Galactic Empire-related nickname. And honestly, the name plays in this case. Interestingly, this release comes on the heels of a white (okay, silver) dial Mark XX earlier this month.
I've had the chance to handle the Lake Tahoe Top Gun chronograph in the last year and really do love the overall appearance of the matte-black dial against a strong white-ceramic case. It is an entirely modern design that's both bold and subdued.
I have to imagine that this new Big Pilot is an absolute stunner in the metal. With the white numerals (as opposed to the tan on the Mojave), legibility is the name of the game. The text pops off of the dial and makes an otherwise insanely complicated layout, well, digestible.
Of course, this is aided by the larger-than-large case size, but they don't call it the Big Pilot for nothing. I know, for certain, that this watch will be too big for me, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it as a piece of mechanical horology and a serious design item. There's not much more to say about other than what we've covered with the Mojave or steel Big Pilot QP other than to say that this new design really works, and we can't wait to see it in person.
Model: Big Pilot White Ceramic Top Gun Lake Tahoe Perpetual Calendar
Case Material: Ceramic
Dial Color: Black
Indexes: Arabic numerals
Water Resistance: 60m
Strap/Bracelet: White rubber strap
Functions: Perpetual Calendar with displays for the date, day, month, year in four digits and perpetual moon phase for both northern and southern hemispheres
Power Reserve: 7 days
Winding: Pellaton automatic winding system
Chronometer Certified: No
Pricing & Availability
Limited Edition: N0
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