3805 IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Alarm
Without doubt, this is one of the most curious IWCs to ever wear the name Ingenieur. The 3805 is a mecha-quartz chronograph with alarm complication in a 34.5mm steel case unlike any other. The design feels influenced by aviation, Genta, and a fascination with knurling. It’s not what first comes to mind when one references neo-vintage, but that it is. Mecha-quartz is mostly today a lost technology, but this was the swan song to its time powering fascinating 90s IWCs.
The 3805 was introduced in 1991 and built on the previous 3741 in design and complication. The dial became much more flieger, the case grew angled chronograph pushers that would influence Ingenieur chronographs for decades to come, and the handstack gained a very cool skeleton alarm hand. The calibre 633 came from JLC, something of a technical marvel. It used quartz stepper motors coupled to mechanically driven chronograph and alarm functions, with a mechanical alarm set through the crown at 10. That crown turns the red hand in 5 minute increments. Most impressively, the movement is only 4.2mm thin, with the overall case 8.5mm tall. There are some interesting iterations of the design as well, such as the solid yellow gold ref. 9515 or white gold and diamond-bezel set ref. 9517 (yes, that really happened, and it looks just like this but with a diamond set bezel).
This is what advanced tech looked like at the start of the 90s. The world has returned to sanity and the dominance of mechanical objects where luxury is concerned, but I find its handsome integrated tool-watch looks really quite charming. No one is going to pretend this is an alternative for a 1832 Jumbo SL. But I will claim that the brave quirkiness of this design has aged far better than most similarly outlandish attempts. Turns out, the Germans aren’t always so restrained (yes IWC are Swiss but close enough to the German border to speak it and take a few well-intentioned jokes their way).
This example sports a full case with strong lines. There’s only light surface wear with the exception of one little mark on its back. The dial and handset tritium applications are a deep honey tone, something that you often get in this era of IWC and just perfect. It comes from a well-regarded collector, listed on his personal IG.