3508 IWC Ingenieur 500000 A/m
If you’ve been shopping for a toaster recently, you’ll know most people buy a Cuisinart. Alternatively, you could buy a 600 USD Wolf that is milled from steel, toasts four slices at once, senses where slices are loaded to self-center, and will automatically recognize bagels from bread. The one review I could find describes as ‘nirvana for toast lovers’. Guess which country created such an appliance? Yep. If you’re the sort of person who appreciates watches not for their beauty, rarity, or story, but for their engineering, or in other words a German, then this is your kind of IWC. It’s the most beautifully, hilariously over-engineered integrated sports watch you’ll find. And it’s not even that expensive by modern standards.
Many readers will be familiar with the Jumbo Ingenieur, SL or otherwise. And most will also know there was a midsized 34mm alternative. But the 500000 A/m ref. 3508 is neither. It’s an undeservedly overlooked small-run 34mm Ingenieur that could withstand a ridiculous 500K A/m. To put that in perspective, an average small MRI is 400K A/m. The average junkyard electromagnet, the thing that sucks up metal i-beams and cars like paperweights, is 1T or 795K A/m. This case will be pulled off of your wrist by magnetic attraction long before its field effects the timekeeping inside. This, thanks to both a soft iron Faraday cage and, more impressively, hairspring made from pure niobium-zirconium. That alloy proved so expensive to make, for hairsprings, that IWC lost money on every 3508 sold. Rolex only figured out the niobium balance a decade later and called it Parachrom. The best bit, though, is that they engraved the accomplishment on the case flank for all to see.
The extreme resistance was developed not for the market, but for the German Military’s Bundeswehr. German divers needed totally a-magnetic watches for mine disposal, to not interfere with electric fields at all. This Ingenieur is actually more related to the 3H Ocean 2000 than any Genta peer. The 500K ref. 3508 was the consumer-marketed version of that tech, just 50 a-mag calibre Bunds exist from that initial development. This checks every single box for collectability: Genta, interest, story, world-first, attractive design. But the market has yet to appreciate it as such. The size is divisive, to put it bluntly. Perhaps then, it’s best that it comes in an equally iconoclast two-tone case. Total production of the 3508 is estimated to be 955 pieces, of which fewer than 200 will be in this gold & steel affair.
This case is full. The gloss dial is undamaged. Bracelet appears tight. Light surface wear is really all to note. Tritium looks great and no visible harsh bashes. It even has its full set. This is great pickup for someone. It comes from a well-regarded German retailer.
Find this 500000 A/m 3508 here from Watchurbia for 7990 EUR.