3211 IWC Yacht Club II Jumbo Automatic in Yellow Gold
If you’d hopped in a Delorean and accidentally found yourself in 1970s Geneva, you’d struggle to find a Aquanaut. Shop all you like, there were very, very few options for luxury sports watches designed to be worn on rubber. The Yacht Club II is the first watch I’m aware of which took the Royal Oak philosophy and said, ‘fuck it, let’s give it a strap’. It’s a design that feels like Genta from another universe, foreign and familiar all at the same time. The Yacht Club II is far more diverse than the Aquanaut as well. Available in many sizes, metals, and calibres. For this automatic jumbo in 18k yellow gold, it is estimated that fewer than 200 were made.
The case design is just on another level here. Not only is it a mix of stop-signs, circles, and hexagons, but each edge has a scalloped rise in the vertical dimension, there is a lot of detailed form going on here. Whether it is or isn’t Genta, I’ll leave to the comments. Enthusiasts get in heated arguments over this every time I bring it up. Regardless, this one has a brushed linen dial, and matched yellow gold indices with sigma signature. It’s delectable.
This is getting a bit sad, but there’s practical appeal to an under the radar sports watch design these days too. You won’t lose your arm for it. London is not a great place for an Aquanaut today. Nor are parts of LA. This may be gold, but it’s less recognizable by far. If someone wanted to steal this YCII, I’d sit them down for a conversation and try to offer them a job instead. Because they’ve already demonstrated they’ve got a knack for the good stuff in this trade. At the very least, catch them off guard instead.
This is the 38mm case, with a modified JLC 889. That is a top of the market ultra-thin, shock absorbing, ball-bearing rotor automatic. Unlike much of 70s IWC, scholarship on these pieces is quite scarce. Very small production numbers and period disinterest have only recently been under our lens of study. For what it’s worth, few watches are as interesting, shrouded in mystery, and understudied in my opinion. Which means it’s only hanging around ~20-25K in yellow gold, to your 5065J’s ~90K. Shame this one seems to have been owned by a fan of the movie Wolverine.
The case is definitely hard worn and has likely seen a polish. That’s less than ideal if I’m honest. But it’s not totally egregious. The dial is extremely well-preserved, linen, tritium, and all print. It is said to be running well and comes from a German retailer.
Find this 3211 here from NIC Watches on Chrono24 for 21000 USD.
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