Strap Guide written by @samsveblenianobsession. Thank you Sam!
IWC has a long history making Pilot watches, also known as a “Flieger”, which is German for “Airman”. From the use of their fliegers in WWII to the development of the “Mark” line for the British RAF, IWC's credentials in producing these watches is undeniable.
The “Top Gun” is a variant of the current Mark XVIII line and is cased in ceramic opposed to its traditional stainless steel. In my opinion, it updates and modernizes the traditional flieger aesthetic, creating a sleek, versatile, and well-rounded watch. While the black ceramic naturally lends itself to a sporty appeal, given the right strap, the watch spruces up surprisingly well, making it very fitting for everyday wear. Of course, dressing the watch to meet different circumstances requires a good watch strap, and thanks to Ken and the good people at Delugs, I have a lot of great options.
“Crazy Horse” feels like a cross between the softness of Nubuck with the durability of Pueblo. The use of a vintage-inspired side stitching, in tandem with the smooth, sleek look of the leather felt the perfect complement to a ceramic flieger, traditional and modern all at once! The maroon color is very understated and works well with the single line of red text. I look forward to breaking this strap in, as the material will patina over time.
This is my second Barenia strap, and it has become a material that I have grown to appreciate. Barenia is reminiscent of calfskin to the touch, but maintains a durability that is surprising, given its supple feel. I especially appreciate how the stitch matches the material, creating a very streamlined and modern looking strap, which pairs perfectly with the ceramic case of the Top Gun. I would feel comfortable wearing this combo with everything from a sweater and slacks, to a sweatshirt and joggers, it just works!
Between its comfort, its distinct texture, and its wide variety of colors, chevre is one of my favorite strap materials! I chose “Colibri”, or a very bright blue, to demonstrate not the only the versatility of the leather, but of the watch itself. While it is undoubtably a very strong contrast, I think it looks great, and will pair very well during the summer months. As any good strap is capable of, it transforms the watch, from something stoic and serious, into something playful and fun.
Canvas is the most traditional strap I chose when it comes to a Flieger style watch. I chose this strap because it is a little outside of my own wheelhouse, and I have never experienced a canvas strap from Delugs. Safe to say, it lives up their lofty standards, as it is very soft, malleable, and is lined with rubber, for greater durability. Furthermore, the “waxed” element of the strap lends itself to greater water resistance as well as the potential for patina.
The I really love how this combo turned out, as the smooth Buttero creates a clean and contemporary aesthetic. Conversely, the natural Earth-tones of the taupe appeal to the military history of the watch, again reflecting that updated yet traditional feel that draws me to the Top Gun line in general. Overall, the pairing is versatile, and displays the watch’s ability to dress up beyond a NATO, canvas, or pilot-style strap.
- Reference: IWC Top Gun IW326901
- Case Size: 41mm
- Thickness: 11.4mm
- Lug-to-Lug: 50mm
- Lug Width: 20mm
If you enjoyed this Strap Guide, be sure to check out the rest of our Strap Guides for more inspirations!