|Ceramic Flieger Chronograph
|like new leather IWC strap
|Full set box and papers
|Excellent original condition
WRIST ICONS presents the IWC 3705 Ceramic Flieger Chronograph with all original tritium dial and a English original date disk. This is one of the most important and iconic neo vintage watches of the nineties.
This beautiful IWC 3705 chronograph comes with a new WRISTICONS suede leather camouflage strap and an IWC leather strap in new condition. The watch comes as a full set with original box, papers and certificate sold 25 years ago in Hong Kong and has just been serviced at the at an IWC certified service center.
IWC launched its first wristwatch with ceramic case back in 1986 - the Da Vinci Ceramic ref. 3755. Eight years later, the Schaffhausen based brand launched its first Pilot's Chronograph in this material with the ref. 3705. While the former is somewhat of an unloved watch (for now..), the latter has grown out to be quite the cult watch.
The ceramic (zirconium oxide) case measures 39mm across. Its stainless steel pushers and crown provide for a bit of contrast - a feature also found on later iterations of the Pilot's Chronograph. At the time its price was about 50% higher than its stainless steel counterpart.
The WC 3705 Ceramic Flieger Chronograph is such an iconic IWC; it is a big chunky pilots watch with a beautiful military styled dial for increased visibility and it comes with a perfect highly complicated split seconds chronograph movement.
The dial is what this piece makes a true neo-vintage masterpiece. From 1997 onwards manufacturers began to fade out tritium dials and replaced them for dials with Luminova as a luminous material to indicate the time during night. These old creamy tritium dials are often replaced during service for later Luminova dials which have bright white hour markers and hands, in my honest opinion ten times less interesting & less attractive.
The WC 3705 Ceramic Flieger Chronograph is a beautiful watch to use as a daily wearer and looks great worn on the traditional black alligator pilot style leather bracelet, but is also a match made in heaven with WRIST ICONS premium NATO seatbelt straps.
This notorious IWC 3705 ceramic chronograph is a neo vintage icon. When IWC released the IW3705 “Fliegerchronograph Keramik” in 1994 it was not an immediate hit. Black ceramic was a newer material some thought would not be as durable as it turned out to be. With the initial hesitation in the market only around 1,000 watches were sold by 1998 when the IW3705 was discontinued. Time treated this watch well, the rare examples that did hit the market became collectors items as this is one of the first examples of ceramic watches and one of the best looking ones. The IW3705 even earned its own tribute watch that came out in 2021. Only the original is in ceramic, has a very wrist friendly 39mm, and is part of watch history..
At the time Günter Blümlein was responsible for IWC. This legend later also helped with the resurrection of A. Lange & Söhne. These 2 companies and Jaeger leCoultre were managed by the firm Les Manufactures Horlogères. In 2000, Blümlein sold the firm to the Richemont Group for over 3 billion CHF.
Under the reign of Blümlein IWC became a very interesting brand since they introduced many high complicated watches at the fraction of the prices of the established trinity of watchmaking.
IWC turned into a value-oriented connoisseur's brand. It made a perpetual calendar, a split-seconds chronograph, and even a grand complication – and it built all of these complications on the backbone of the humble Valjoux 7750.
The IW3705 was not the first ceramic cased watch made by IWC. The company had experimented with zirconium oxide ceramic as early as 1986, when IWC produced the Da Vinci Chronograph Perpetual Calendar.
There were earlier attempts to incorporate exotic, ultra-hard, scratch resistant or virtually scratch-proof materials in watch cases in earlier years, of course. Rado introduced its tungsten carbide Diastar in 1962, and in 1973, Omega began developing its Cermet cased watches. Cermet, as the name implies, is a composite material made of an aluminum oxide ceramic, and tungsten carbide; it was introduced as the “Black Tulip” in 1982.
The case is made by taking a white powdered ZrO2 and pressing it in a mold under high temperature and pressure. Zirconium Dioxide (ZrO2) is colorless, but can be synthesised into varying colors such as black. It’s all ceramic, all the way through. The resulting material is so hard it can for all intents and purposes only be machined further with diamond cutting tools. It’s also very crack resistant thanks to its crystalline microstructure (another use for it is in ceramic knives, by the way). It does not corrode; it’s light; and it’s completely hypoallergenic as well: in a word, almost the ideal watch case material.
The timepiece is powered by the IWC Calibre 7902. This calibre is based on a Valjoux 7750 model. Although not in-house, the movement has been heavily modified by IWC and Richard Habring in particular. The modifications of the Valjoux movement consists of tuned isochronism and positions, as well as many reliability and accuracy tests on each movement. The movement has a 44 hour power-reserve, beats at 28.800 vph, and with a jewel count of 25.
The name Habring may ring a bell, as Richard is now the proud owner of the Austrian independent brand Habring² together with his wife Maria.
Conceived during Blümlein’s tenure of IWC, the Ref. 3705 belongs to one of the most progressive families of chronographs. It’s modern, but rare. It’s a pilot’s watch, but the design is far from being minimalistic, as it also features a chronograph, and day and date display. Still, it manages to remain coherent and surprisingly understated.
Besides the clever movement it was a very attractive watch. The chronograph movement was cased in quite big 39mm stainless steel or ceramic case with as very nice satin kind of finish. The dial and hands were designed with cues from its predecessor the IWC MKIX pilots watch.
In the late 90s early 2000s IWC began with a really great marketing strategy. Their ads were targeted on men with funny but very masculine text. The message was “Engineered for MEN”
IWC started a campaign which was quite similar to some of the edgy advertising from Porsche which featured statements like “Honestly now, did you spend your youth dreaming about someday owning a Nissan or Mitsubishi?”, IWC took the machismo a step further with lines like “Almost as complicated as a woman. Except it’s on time”, and “Often seen on stewardesses’ bedside tables”.
Though they caused quite the stir, it was precisely this kind of boundary pushing that then-CEO George Kern (actually the youngest CEO when he joined IWC IN 2002)was known for, and the clout surrounding the much-loved brand continued to grow into what it is today.
This stunning example of this IWC 3705 Flieger Chronograph has just been serviced by IWC and is in stunning condition. It has all the good parts what makes this a great looking vintage piece. The watch is worn regularly and the case is unpolished.
Dial: This IWC 3705 Flieger Chronograph features a rare original tritium dial and handset. During IWC service these tool watches had to be in immaculate condition. And the company policy in Schaffhausen is to get new Luminova dials and handset.. Therefore they swapped parts to keep the performance like new. Only on special request at Richemont (owner of IWC) service centers you can opt to maintain all original tritium parts. The matte black dial has original lume that has aged to a beautiful yellowish vintage color.
Overall, the WC 3705 Ceramic Flieger Chronographis noteworthy, both for its design and execution. This WC 3705 Ceramic Flieger Chronograph is remarkably well preserved.
As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month warranty with ourselves that will be invoked from the day of purchase.
Viewings can be arranged at our office by appointment.