IWC Schaffhausen has launched three new chronographs in its Pilot’s Watches collection. The new ceramic models are collaborative timepieces that the brand created in the context of its military programme with squadrons of the U.S. Navy. The Pilot’s Watches Chronograph Editions “Royal Maces”, “Tophatters”, and “Blue Angels®” all feature the respective squadron patch on the dial and eye-catching details in the corresponding unit’s colorway. Here is our review of the Blue Angels.
Review: IWC Blue Angels® Pilot’s Chronograph
The retail price dot what IWC Blue Angels Chronogrph Ref. IW389109 is SGD16,900 / CHF 11,900 inclusive of taxes in Singapore / Switzerland.
Since 2018, IWC is licensed to work on watches for the entire U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviation units, including Blue Angels® and the 247 active and 100 inactive squadrons. IWC has since collaborated with more than a dozen squadrons to create special editions that are exclusively available to present and former members.
The 3 new releases mark the first time these designs are available to non pilots. The annual production of these chronographs will be limited to 500 pieces each.
The Case and Dial
To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the “Blue Angels®”, the new chronograph iteration is cased in blue ceramic with contrasting yellow details. It measure 44.5 mm in diameter and 15.7 mm in height.
The blue ceramic case is matched with a titanium case back, blue dial, black hands and a black with yellow stitching fabric strap.
The bright blue colour is the result of mixing zirconium oxide with other metallic oxides. The chronograph pushers and the crown are made of IWC-developed Ceratanium®. The iconic “Blue Angels®” crest with the U.S. Navy Wings of Gold is at 6 o’clock on the dial; the characteristic lettering is engraved on the titanium case back.
Yellow details are provided by the chronograph seconds hand, the small seconds and the day-date display at 3 o’clock.
The watch is powered by the 69380 IWC-manufactured calibre. The chronograph movement with a classic column wheel design has both a chronograph function and a display for the day and date. The pawl-winding system winds up in both directions and has a power reserve of 46 hours.
IWC has come a long way since its iconic TOP GUN collaboration. The new military programme enhances the brand’s military affiliations with the Mojave Desert and these 3 new badges. Contracting with the military is a clever pivot, borrowing from the history books of watchmaking.
Having badges on dials however, reminds us of football team collaborations that Hublot popularized, and the Space missions; NASA contracts that Omega Speedmaster builds its stories on. While the point of pieces are likely lost on non-US navy fans, it is interesting to see how IWC has found a new niche with an overt US market focus.