Tom Cruise's return as a hotshot Navy flyboy in Top Gun: Maverick has seen its release date pushed back a full year to July 2021, but you can get your hands on a piece of pilot-ready kit much faster, in the form of IWC's latest limited edition.
It's the ponderously named, yet very nimble-looking, Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition SFTI ($14,200).
Before we dive into the watch, let's soar through a bit of history – because it turns out that Top Gun isn't all Hollywood fiction. There's a solid core of fact at the film's heart.
The United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (SFTI) program – also knwon as TOPGUN, all caps thank you very much – was established in March 1969 in California, as a direct result of the hard lessons the US aviators learned in combat in north Vietnam.
The Miramar-based school set about making naval pilots better. And how do the Strike Fighter Tactics instructors do that? Well, by doing their darnedest to shoot down the real-world equivalents of Iceman and Maverick.
The SFTIs are the hypothetical bad guys: exceptionally skilled and experienced pilots who act as the adversaries to the TOPGUN students.
By the time Tom Cruise would have dropped by in the mid-1980s the SFTI program was a proven success, and it is still going strong today – although the base is now in Nevada, which, lamentably has a less active beach volleyball culture.
So that's the planes and the pilots. Where do watches fit in?
The long answer involves the ongoing importance of accurate timekeeping over the history of aviation, and the role watches have played as instruments for navigation and the like.
Still, I think we can fast-forward that a little and talk about the culture of personalised squadron watches.
It's not uncommon for all sorts of military units to order custom limited edition watches, perhaps with insignia or a silhouette of the plane flown.
These sort of watches exist in civilian aviation, but the wrist-born equivalent of a secret handshake is particularly popular amongst those serving in the armed forces.
Which brings us back to the SFTI. In 2018, IWC created a watch in collaboration with the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructors. This striking chronograph was made from black ceramic with a miniaturised TOPGUN patch on the dial at the nine o'clock position.
A cool watch, make no mistake, but there was one catch: yYou had to graduate the Navy Fighter Weapons School to be able to buy one.
That's not the most realistic option for those of us whose flying experiences are restricted to business class seats.
Of course, IWC has a fully-fledged Top Gun collection which offers chronographs aplenty, all bound by a shared love of black cases – with the notable exception of the sandy ceramic case of the 'Mojave Desert' edition.
So what does the Top Gun Edition SFTI bring to the table? This chrono is as close as you or I are ever likely to get to that 'graduates-only' edition from 2018 – and, by association, the perennial coolness of those Navy flyboys. The major difference is the lack of TOPGUN logo on the dial.
The scene is set with the large 44mm black ceramic case, which, aside from being adding some military chic, is an incredibly hard, corrosion-resistant material: exactly what you want if you're banging around heavy gear and av-gas on the regular.
Then there's a thin tracing of red on the pushers, a colourful accent that's picked up in the dial, on the running second hand and on the counterweight to the central chronograph seconds hand, which is shaped in the silhouette of a fighter jet.
The leather-backed textile strap in khaki is equally hard-wearing. On a more granular level, this is a watch that's made by the details.
Take, for example, the crown and chronograph pushers, which aren't coated metal or ceramic, but rather a hybrid of the two called Ceratanium.
No chance of checking the movement out through a display caseback though – instead you get a solid Ceratanium caseback with the Fighter Weapons School logo.
The power plant for this Pilot's chrono is IWC's own Calibre 69380, which can measure up to 12 elapsed hours and has 46 hours of power reserve.
This SFTI watch is limited to 1,500 pieces, and its the sort of smartly-done, masculine (without being too on-the-nose macho) design that IWC excels at. And it would be the perfect watch to adorn your wrist as you watch Maverick strut his stuff sometime in 2021.