3521 IWC Ingenieur
Despite all the admiration, scholarship, and even Jack Forster’s article in the last year, the 3521 remains an alternative and yet-to-be-fully-appreciated modern classic. Whatever it means precisely to be a modern classic, I know not. But it seems to me as if the category were invented for these Ingenieurs. This is a Germanic chunk of perfectly proportioned Genta steel which was aburdly over-engineered and handsome in equal measure. And yet, they trade hands for a fraction of their period competitors. For us, that is no bad thing.
The 3521 also incorporates a quite serious 40,000 A/m antimagnetic rating, which is one of the most useful attributes a vintage watch can possess for the modern world. This was accomplished in part through an iron cage and partly through a niobium-zirconium balance, well before Rolex’s similar Parachrom. And yet, despite that cage, the case proportions are entirely natural. This is thanks to a calibre 8872 (a JLC 889 ébauche) whose ultra-thin profile remains impressive even today.
Many overlook the 3521 simply for its size, a discreet 34mm. The 40mm Genta Ingenieur SL Jumbo struggled to sell in period and many preferred this case back then. Have wrists truly grown that significantly since the 80s? I suspect not. This is a matter of taste and, to some degree, confidence. It is not my place to suggest a correct watch size for anyone. I only urge consideration if this case is anywhere near your appetites. As a man with large wrists, I have had the opportunity to try on a 3521. Despite what I initially thought to be diminutive proportions, I fell in love. I suspect that may be more the rule than the exception where this reference is concerned.
This example weighs in with moderate wear across its case, but full proportion. The black dial shows little wear and its tritium is perfectly aged. The watch comes without box/papers from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this 3521 here from A Collected Man for 6250 GBP.