Recently, we were able to confirm what was the watch worn by Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, the 2022 blockbuster and sequel to the cult 1986 movie. And yes, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is back to action with the (almost) same Valjoux-powered black PVD-coated Porsche Design x Orfina Chronograph – to be fully accurate, it is not the same watch as worn in the 1986 movie, but one in a much better condition. Pretty cool, pretty accurate too. But there is much more to Top Gun: Maverick when it comes to watches… Jennifer Connelly for instance wears a vintage Explorer 1016. And then, there are the young wolves, the recruited pilots to train at Top Gun… And to make it very accurate indeed, they all wear IWC Pilot’s Watches SFTI models, the same “Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor” watches that are only available to instructors and students in real life.
Everybody passionate about fighter jets and movies related to this will tell you that the original 1986 Top Gun movie is, without a doubt, the best of its genre… The story is just cool, the music is beyond great, the planes are massively attractive, and the combat scenes are epic. And then there is the watch worn by Cruise, the black (and highly worn out) Porsche Design x Orfina Chronograph. All of that makes this movie an icon of the 1980s.
This year marks the comeback of Top Gun and Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. And yes, the recipe is the same and there’s undeniably a sense of accuracy and realism behind the layer of action-infused scenes. Cruise insisted on making this second episode of the Top Gun series a monumental tribute to combat fighters. Realism is seen everywhere, in the way the characters are playing, in the way the scenes have been shot and in the accuracy of the costumes. And that is also true for watches.
In addition to the Explorer 1016 of Jennifer Connelly and the Porsche Design Chronograph of Tom Cruise, many more watches are to be seen, and they are worn by pretty much all actors from Top Gun: Maverick portraying recruits to the Top Gun program. According to our research, these watches can be seen on at least 3 characters: Lewis Pullman portraying Robert “Bob” Floyd, Miles Teller portraying Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw and Monica Barbaro as Natasha “Phoenix” Trace.
Seeing IWC Pilot’s Watches on the wrist of these actors isn’t just about product placement. It’s mostly about being true to reality. As we’ve explained over the past, in many of our articles, IWC has long been partnering with Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOP GUN) – since 2007 to be precise. This has resulted in many watches offered to the general public, but also far more confidential models only available to real pilots.
For instance, in 2018, IWC added two special pieces to the collection in honour of the US Navy Naval Aviation community. These watches cannot be bought by the public and are only available for TOP GUN graduates. First is the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor” IW324705 and then is the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor” IW389004. on both of these ceramic models, the Navy Fighter Weapons School patch can be found at 9 o’clock.
And, without surprise, these are the two “Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor” (SFTI) watches that can be seen in Top Gun: Maverick… Indeed, pretty accurate and rather cool too. Specifically when you know that these are the exact same watches that are worn by the real-life pilots attending the “Top Gun” Navy Fighter Weapons School.
Finally, and while we don’t have images of this specific model to show you yet, there’s a last IWC watch to be spotted in Top Gun: Maverick, and that is a modern, custom-built stopwatch. This unknown, never-seen-before timepiece has surely been developed for the movie and can be seen towards the end.