3705 IWC Ceramic Flieger
The 3705 is a pilot’s watch, yes, but for TIE Fighter pilots. Remember that scene in A New Hope where Vader had his own TIE Fighter? This would’ve been the perfect watch for a space dogfight on Vader’s wrist. The 3705 isn’t just a ceramic flieger, it’s the first ever production watch case made entirely of ceramic. It is estimated that fewer than 1000 examples were ever produced as the process was so difficult. Today, arguably the ultimate villain’s aviation chronograph, it’s the only outright miss in the new Top Gun. Tom Cruise has his Porsche Orfina. Tom’s foil, the sinister Russian pilot in the Su-57, should’ve had this. It would’ve even been on-brand as an IWC, aside from Russian associations which are . . .not great.
The 3705 has an immense pull for a certain type. The asethic is classic flieger, but evil. Now, I don’t fall for rarity alone, though it certainly possesses that. It’s not terribly complicated. The innovation is one-dimensional. But IWC had to move heaven and earth to innovate along that singular dimension, ceramic, and upon reflection that effort is what I’m attracted to. IWC compressed powdered ZrO2 under high heat and pressure to create this full case in ceramic. The only harder material out there is used to propose. The case back, crown, and pushers were pieces too small and delicate to be forged in zirconium, so left steel. That contrast, today, is its charm.
This is a menacing 39mm Death Star on wrist, a mil-looking pilot’s watch with no time for frills. If Universal Pictures had better taste or if Ian Fleming was alive in the 90s, this is the ideal watch for a Bond villain. And what’s not to love about that? Probably the price. Thanks to a reissue, prices of originals have soared. But this one comes from Japan and is (relative to values even just two years ago) extremely reasonable. This, because it went to service in the 2000s and got some Luminova hands. The good thing is, the hands are identical to the mass produced 3706. Find a good similar tritium set, perform the horological equivalent of Jame May’s Un-Pimp My Ride, and you’ve got a winner on your hands at a massive value.