People who keep a close eye on Formula 1, and in particular on 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton might have already spotted this one, but IWC has just unveiled its latest TOP GUN family member. And it’s a big one, literally. What started in 2022 under the Colours of TOP GUN name is expanded once more with the introduction of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe IW503008. And sure, the concept of a coloured Big Pilot’s Watch with a perpetual calendar display isn’t entirely new, but looks oh-so-cool in full white ceramic! The ‘Colours of TOP GUN‘ sub-genre of IWC Big Pilot QP watches comprises a few colours so far, all executed in ceramic or Ceratanium. So far, we’ve seen the classical black ceramic, but also Mojave Desert beige, Oceana Blue, Woodland Green and Lake Tahoe white. It’s no surprise what this one is called, as the 46.5mm wide and fully white ceramic case screams ‘Lake Tahoe’ from top to bottom. The all-white look is bold and daring, and definitely won’t go unnoticed when on the wrist. It’s fitted with a pressure-protected sapphire crystal front and back, and a steel diamond-shaped crown. The matte black dial shows no surprises, as it spreads all QP indications around the dial in the familiar Big Pilot’s Watch way. There’s plenty of canvas to be used, so even with all this information, it remains legible thanks to the balanced subdials, sharp contrast and large hands. The indications include the time, obviously, paired with the date, day of the week, month, year, power reserve and perpetual moon phase. All this is driven by the Calibre 52615, which we know quite well from all the previous IWC Big Pilot QP watches. Developed by Kurt Klaus in the 1980s, this large automatic movement fills the entire case and gets its energy from the large openworked central rotor. It can store a massive 168 hours, or 7 days of power reserve. The finishing includes the usual stuff, such as Côtes de Genève and perlage.
While I may be the New York City kid who has yet to get his driver’s licence, everyone else on the Time+Tide team are absolute Formula 1 fanatics. I confess I am no racing expert myself and have yet to listen to the many people imploring me to watch Drive to Survive on Netflix, but I’m certainly familiar with Lewis Hamilton. That is why it was quite surprising, or perhaps very strategic, that Lewis was provided a yet to be released watch to wear during Formula 1 Miami. With all eyes on Hamilton, and with such a huge crossover between racing and watch enthusiasts, it was inevitable that people were going to spot what was on his wrist.
While we constantly do watchspotting stories, 99% of the time these are watches that are already released. Since Miami at the beginning of May, and multiple times since, Hamilton has continually worn what appeared to be a perpetual calendar in a “Lake Tahoe” white ceramic case. This, of course, led to a ton of interest and speculation – a clear example of why ambassadorships can be so powerful. Was it a special piece just for Hamilton? Would it ever be offered to the public as well? Well, today IWC reveals that beginning next month the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Lake Tahoe will be available for purchase.