When IWC sets out to make a serious pilot’s watch, it makes a serious pilot’s watch. The IW3718 Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun is about as serious as it gets, and we took a few days to get better acquainted with the heavyweight watch.
First, let’s be clear about what this IWC is not. It’s not a dress watch and it’s not a watch that flies under the radar. The big, black ceramic (see: “Ceratanium”) case checks in at 44mm and over 17mm thick, which gives it an imposing presence on the wrist. Short-cropped lugs and nice curves on the case help it wear a bit smaller than those dimensions suggest, but there’s no getting around the fact that this is a large watch.
Where IWC wins here is with its use of all that extra real estate. The Top Gun’s black dial carries three subregisters and a day-date complication. The expansive dial, though busy, never feels overcrowded, thanks both to its sheer size and its muted color scheme. The neat thing here is that the anti-reflective coating on the crystal and subtle colors on the dial make it feel as if there’s no cover at all at times. The dial seems to pop right out of the case and is extremely legible, despite being so dark in color.
IWC is one of the best when it comes to making watches that are flexible and that look great on a variety of straps. The Top Gun is no exception, though the black case does limit the color of straps that can be worn with the watch. The 21mm lug width makes it easy to find a strap almost anywhere, and the included textile-rubber strap is one of the sturdiest and most premium of its type we’ve ever seen.
Of course, a watch isn’t a watch without a movement, and the Top Gun is packing a great one. The 79420 movement is an automatic-winding unit with a 44-hour power reserve and 29 jewels. The chronograph movement is reliable, accurate, and easy to interact with, all of which help make the Top Gun a wonderful everyday-wear watch.