IWC Pilot’s Timezoner Review

iwc pilot timezoner top gun ceratanium

Since the 1930s, IWC has been engineering robust mechanical Pilot’s watches to meet the needs of professional pilots. Over the years, the Swiss giant has made the Pilot’s Watch far more than just a timing device. Today, it’s a horological icon – one that has spawned many iterations with outstanding design and useful complications.

One such example is the IWC Pilot’s Timezoner. With its patented bezel technology, this worldtimer cum super-GMT allows the wearer to shift between timezones with a simple press and turn of the bezel. Learn more about this excellent example of IWC engineering:


IWC Pilot's Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium IW395505
IWC Pilot’s Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium IW395505


The Timezoner Function

What is the Timezoner function, and what makes it different from other world time watches?

With most watches, the interaction between the user and his watch is done via the crown, an element used to wind the movement and adjust the time. This works well the majority of the time. However, with this method, the bezel becomes an element of the habillage with no interaction with the movement itself.


IWC Pilot's Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium IW395505
IWC Pilot’s Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium IW395505


With the Timezoner, IWC became the first watchmaker to offer a timepiece that permits the wearer to set another timezone in addition to the date and 24-hour hand, with a single action on the bezel: press, rotate, and release.

The Timezoner works without stopping the movement, thus not losing a single second in the process, even across the dateline. This design was created by Michael Vogt, who outfitted his creations with this bezel-set GMT mechanism under the Vogard brand, which debuted at 2014 Baselworld. He eventually sold it to IWC, who further developed it.



Intuitive Design

The rest of IWC Pilot’s Timezoner design is easy to use: The ceramic bezel comprises the 24 main cities – each corresponding to a full-hour time zone. Reference time, also named UTC, is highlighted in red, while some of the time zones feature an additional marker, pertaining to daylight saving time (DST).


IWC Pilot's Timezoner Le Petit Prince Steel IW395503
IWC Pilot’s Timezoner Le Petit Prince Steel IW395503


The arched window displays a white disc with a 24-hour scale acting as an AM/PM indicator and is linked to the central hours to determine which way the disc is rotating. A date, which is a ubiquitous feature of traveler’s watches, complements this functional display.

Robustly built and user-friendly, the patented Timezoner function is a prime example of IWC engineering.



IWC Pilot’s Timezoner Models

The first IWC watch equipped with the Timezoner function, the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner IW395001, was unveiled in 2016 and came equipped with a flyback chronograph. The ingenious concept was revived in 2019 in a simpler “Spitfire” edition that did not have the stopwatch function.


IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph IW395001 /  IWC Pilot's Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” IW395501
IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph IW395001 / IWC Pilot’s Watch
Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” IW395501 (photo: IWC)


As of 2022, IWC has unveiled two stylish new iterations – one for the Le Petit Prince line, and another in science-bending Ceratanium, IWC’s proprietary ceramic-titanium alloy.



IWC Timezoner Le Petit Prince

It has become a tradition for IWC to make a Le Petit Prince limited edition version of their popular pilot watch models, in celebration of their long-standing relationship with the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation.

One of the newest offerings from this line is the “Le Petit Prince” Timezoner, which is a more elegant and less rugged take on the 2019 Spitfire Timezoner, mixing opulent features with vintage design cues.


IWC Pilot's Timezoner Le Petit Prince Steel IW395503
IWC Pilot’s Timezoner Le Petit Prince Steel IW395503


The key feature of this watch is its sunray midnight blue dial, adorned with applied numerals and hands, as well as red accents for a vibrant pop of color. It comes in a 46mm stainless steel case and features a blue ceramic bezel depicting cities in graduated time zones from around the world.

Limited to 1,500 pieces only, the “Le Petit Prince” Timezoner blends in beautifully with the spirit of the Le Petit Prince series, with its blue colorway and display caseback featuring an intricate caricature of Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s emblematic character, the Little Prince.


IWC Pilot's Timezoner Le Petit Prince Steel IW395503
IWC Pilot’s Timezoner Le Petit Prince Steel IW395503 (photo: IWC)



IWC Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium

New for 2022, the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium is a tastefully produced demonstration of the brand’s current capabilities in a package that lovers of the series will appreciate.

Combining the lightweight and impact-resistant properties of titanium with the scratch-resistance and durability of modern zirconium oxide ceramics, Ceratanium expertly covers the technical bases for a genuinely modern sports watch. It is significantly lighter than stainless steel, making the watch’s case design more comfortable than one would imagine.


IWC Pilot's Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium IW395505
IWC Pilot’s Timezoner Top Gun Ceratanium IW395505


Sized at 46mm, the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner TOP GUN Ceratanium offers unmatched wrist presence. Its dial follows the same muted black monochromatic appearance as the exteriors and features broad flieger hands and rounded Arabic numerals in a low-contrast sky gray hue. While not strictly limited in production, only 500 examples of this stealthy timepiece will be manufactured per year.

Powering both the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Le Petit Prince and TOP GUN Ceratanium is the automatic Caliber 82760. This in-house movement is substantially modern, with a Pellaton winding system that helps to offer a 60-hour power reserve at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour.


Caliber 82760
Caliber 82760 (Photo: IWC)



The Pilot’s Timezoner is swiftly emerging as a horological marvel thanks to its sturdy construction, versatile appearance, and impressive bezel design. Explore our selection of IWC Pilot’s Timezoner watches at


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