This year’s theme at Watches and Wonders for IWC was “The Colours of Top Gun“, translated into timepieces in coloured ceramics. From a dark grey Ceratanium model to bold editions of the Pilot’s Chronograph in green or white ceramic, there was a clear intention to bring something new and fresh to the collection, following in the footsteps of the Mojave Desert theme of 2019. However, another green ceramic “Woodland” model was discreetly unveiled during the Geneva fair based on the not-so-big Big Pilot’s Watch 43. Here’s the new IWC Big Pilot 43 TOP GUN Edition Woodland IW329802.
Launched last year during the digital edition of Watches and Wonders, the IWC Big Pilot 43 is the brand’s answer to those wanting a clean, ultra-focused, slightly oversized pilot’s watch, yet without the hassle of the classic BP with its massive case and more complex movement – meaning a higher price tag. This vision was debated amongst BP fans, who still believe that the 46mm model is the one and only BP. But then again, that is sort of a geeky debate. In all fairness, the BP 43 has since found its place in the collection and has been released in various editions, such as the Spitfire Titanium and Bronze models, and very recently, the TOP GUN Jet Black Ceramic. But there was another watch released during Watches and Wonders that few have seen, and that’s the model we’re looking at now. As mentioned, this year IWC focused its collection on TOP GUN models and coloured ceramics. This resulted in the Ceratanium Pilot’s Chronograph 41, the Big Pilot 43 Jet Black Ceramic and a duo of Pilot’s Chronograph, the White Lake Tahoe and the Green Woodland. The latter, however, wasn’t reserved for a single watch and has also been applied to the BP 43. The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN Edition Woodland IW329802 relies on all the attributes of the classic BP 43 and of the TOP GUN Jet Black Ceramic, but in a new combination of materials and with different colours. Thus, the case is made mainly of green-coloured zirconium oxide mixed with other metallic oxides to obtain this dark green, matte colour. The colour is undoubtedly a tribute to military hues and is said to be inspired by the flight suits of TOP GUN pilots. No doubt about the boldness of this case, which will make an impact on the wrist. Just like the beige Mojave watches, it’s a love or hate affair here. The IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN Woodland retains most specifications of this sub-collection, with a 43.8mm diameter and a 13.9mm thickness. Not a compact watch at all, yet it remains reasonably wearable. The green ceramic case is equipped with a Ceratanium screw-in crown and caseback, and the watch is water-resistant to a comfortable 100-metre rating. Classic features of pilot’s watches can be found, such as the anti-reflective sapphire crystal secured against displacement by drops in air pressure or the soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields. Just like the Chronograph Woodland IW389106, the new BP 43 TOP GUN Woodland Green is all about tone-on-tone colours, with a matching dark green matte dial. In the same vein as other BP 43 models, the layout of the dial is ultra-clean and focused on legibility, with oversized hands, markers and tracks, and a simple time-only display. All elements are filled with luminous material and the contrast, day or night, is excellent. Complementing the green colour scheme, the BP 43 Woodland IW329802 is worn on a green rubber strap with a textile inlay and closed by a Ceratanium pin buckle. Not visible on the prototype we photographed, the strap will be equipped with the brand’s EasX-CHANGE system, allowing you to change the strap in seconds without a tool. Inside the case is the manufacture calibre 82100, a modern automatic movement that is part of the brand’s mid-range collection. This calibre is large and well equipped, featuring IWC’s Pellaton winding system as well as parts (automatic wheel and the clicks) made of wear-free zirconium oxide ceramic. This calibre runs at 4Hz and boasts a comfortable 60h power reserve.