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The Swiss Story Behind the World's Sturdiest Watch

By Jeremy Kirkland

06.21.16

From the July/August 2016 issue

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Photo by Jeffery Cross

This slick new timepiece is nearly impossible to destroy, no matter where you bring it.

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In a Swiss workshop on a bank of the Rhine, IWC watchmakers have been piecing together reliable, easy-to-read pilot watches since the Allies first flew out to face Hitler. To this day, IWC’s Big Pilot watches are tricked out with superpowers that allow them to withstand a sudden drop in cockpit pressure or an icy plunge to 60 meters. And the titanium case back can take serious blows—a fall at airport security or a sudden closing of subway doors. The updated Top Gun model looks more handsome than ever with a dead-simple face, a black ceramic case, and an embossed calfskin strap. Meanwhile, inside, 311 parts silently spin and whir with to-the-millisecond Swiss precision.

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