IWC Brings a Fan Favorite Ceramic Tone to their 41mm Chronograph Platform
If you’re a fan of IWC pilot watches, you’ve no doubt participated in one of this cohort’s favorite activities, which is armchair quarterbacking the specifics of each release. We’ve gotten to a point where there are so many case sizes, complications, and case materials in the collection that the moment a new watch is announced, there’s a cry on the internet for that exact thing but tweaked, somehow, to more closely resemble another watch the brand makes. This is especially true with IWC’s ceramic cased pilot watches, which tend to be rather large and drive more than their share of “If only it was __mm” comments on Instagram. Earlier this year, in the midst of Ingy-fever , IWC quietly released a very nice 41mm chronograph in blue ceramic . It got some of us thinking: will more ceramic color options come to this Goldilocks sized case that everyone (myself very much included) seems to love?
The answer, of course, is yes. This week, IWC revealed a watch that many collectors have been hoping for for quite some time, the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Mojave Desert. The brown “Mojave” case is meant to look like desert sand, and has been a favorite when executed as a perpetual calendar and Big Pilot. It was also, first, a chronograph, which made its debut back in 2019 in the same 44.5mm case later occupied by the Tahoe and Woodland versions of the chrono. It’s certainly the brand’s most unique ceramic colorway, and I have a feeling the news of this release will be welcome for the many Mojave fans who were after something a bit more conservatively sized that’s also not wildly expensive.
That last bit, of course, is relative. The new Chrono 41 in Mojave ceramic has a retail price of $11,700, which puts it into cross-shop territory with watches like the Rolex Daytona, and is perhaps a tick more expensive than most of the comparable chronographs released by the other big Swiss luxury houses, like Zenith and Omega. It also hurts just a bit to realize that the original Mojave chrono (in that big 44.5mm case) had a retail price of $8,200. But 2019 was a different time, and it’s also worth remembering that there’s nothing on the market that looks quite like the Mojave, whereas we can all point to ceramic watches in blue, white, and green.
Maintaining Contrast with Monochromatic Dials
One of the things that makes the Mojave (and the rest of the Top Gun watches) so cool is the way they maintain contrast even with dials that are nearly monochromatic. On the Mojave, the dial is dark brown, but the hands and markers are a complementary shade of tan, and everything is matte finished. IWC has a great understanding of how these colors work together, and how in practice the tan colored hands will be just as recognizable against that dark brown background as if they were stark white. Immediate legibility is essential for a chronograph like this, and IWC deserves credit for making the most of a color combination that’s used infrequently in watchmaking.
Specs and Details
Specs for the new Mojave mirror those of the other 41mm chronographs in IWC’s Pilot collection. It runs on the 69380 caliber, a column wheel design with 46 hours of power reserve. While the case is full ceramic, the crown, the chronograph pushers, and the case back are all crafted from titanium. Water resistance is 100 meters.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Mojave Desert is an exciting addition to the IWC collection. With its unique ceramic colorway, the watch stands out in a sea of blue, white, and green ceramic watches. The contrast of the dark brown dial with the tan-colored hands and markers ensures exceptional legibility. Although the watch comes with a higher price tag compared to its counterparts from other luxury brands, the distinctive design and smaller case size make it a solid choice for collectors who are looking for something different. IWC continues to impress with their ability to innovate within the pilot watch realm, and the Mojave Desert edition is no exception.