Yeah, alright, I’ve featured it before and this is probably my teacher’s pet amongst all the neo-vintage IWC lot. I know it’s not terribly complicated. The innovation is one-dimensional. But with IWC’s recent reissue and collectors becoming increasingly being accepting of ceramics, I thought it fit to revisit just what makes the 39mm 3705 so charming. As Mr. J Forster put it, “One of the rarest and most interesting IWC watches of the last few decades . . .” There’s a lot worth daydreaming about here.
The 3705 was IWC’s first full ZrO2 Keramik (ceramic to you and I) chronograph. The resulting case is ultra-light and hard enough to effectively never scratch. The chunky and legible three-register pilot dial is finished in tritium; no fauxtina here. The 3705 is powered by a Valjoux 7750, modified by IWC and Richard Habring. They tuned positions and isochronism as well as many reliability and accuracy tests on each movement. The case back, crown, and pushers were pieces too small and delicate to be forged in zirconium, so left steel. It’s a contrast some hate, but I love. That detail left out on the reissue, but an omission of charm to my eye.
The 3705 was introduced in 1994 in a run somewhere between 1000 and 2000 examples. It was released together with the steel 3706 and available at 50% premium. The run was so small, however, that many collectors weren’t aware of the ceramic until the reissue. Many boutiques never got even one. The extremely functional design of the steel version saw huge success. The 3705-3706 pair really set the aesthetic for all of IWC’s current pilot range. It can be seen as a father to the top guns and Miramars of the world (love or hate them). However, at a full 7mm smaller than their modern pilot’s chronograph, the 3706 generation is a more subtle and perhaps more tasteful choice.
This example checks out in every dimension. Its dial has golden tritium plots matched in the handset. Day wheel in German. Case perfect. It comes with its full set even, from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this 3705 here from Mr. Watchley for 29850 EUR.