Hands-On: IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute To 3705”
This new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph ref. 387905 is a tribute to the famous and highly collectible 3705 from the 1990s. This “IWC Fliegerchronograph Keramik,” as it is called, was introduced in 1994 and made of — you’ve guessed it — ceramic. This watch’s production lasted just a few years, and the total production of this IWC was around 1,000 watches.
Today, we show you the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph “Tribute to 3705”. Indeed, a very similar watch to the original 3705 from 1994 but with a few important differences. When written in full, the differences consist of the case diameter, the case material, and the movement. Yet, I will still call this a tribute, as sometimes it is not so much about creating an exact copy of the original but about recreating that same vibe the original IWC reference 3705 has.
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705”
A long time ago, I was actually contemplating the purchase of an IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph. At the time, a 39mm watch with ETA/Valjoux 7750 movement, modified for IWC. It was either that or a Speedmaster. I chose the latter, but the itch for an IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph did stick with me for a long time as well.
The IWC ref.3705 was also powered by the Valjoux 7750 movement and has that typical dial layout. Subcounters at 12 (minutes), 9 (hours), and 6 (seconds) o’clock and a day and a date aperture at 3 o’clock. Now, this IWC “Tribute to 3705” has the same dial layout but powered by an in-house developed IWC chronograph movement with a column-wheel mechanism. IWC’s caliber 69380 has a power reserve of 46 hours and ticks at 28,800vph (~4Hz).
Only 1000 pieces available via IWC.com
Where the original 3705 with a production of roughly 1000 pieces took several years to sell, I expect the 1000 “Tribute to 3705” reference 387905 to sell out in a flash. The original 3705, made of ceramic and with a diameter of 39mm, has become a highly sought-after collector’s piece. The IWC Pilot 3705 pops up now and then for sale (there’s currently one on C24 for nearly €23,000, and the 3705 owned by IWC’s former managing director Günther Blümlein was auctioned for $53,750 on December 5th, 2018. The new 41mm diameter “Tribute to 3705” will be limited to 1,000 pieces only and is available exclusively through IWC’s e-boutique. This is an interesting approach, but it gives a fair shot to everyone. Also, to those where there’s no IWC boutique.
Hands-On with the “Tribute to 3705”
The increase in diameter from 39mm to 41mm is a very forgiving one. The IWC “Tribute to 3705” wears amazingly comfortable, with a thickness of 15.3mm. The original IWC Fliegerchronograph Keramik measured 14.6mm in height, so slightly thinner. As I never had the pleasure to wear the original 3705, it is impossible to compare the wearing experience.
However, when strapping on this black “Flieger” in 41mm, I can somewhat imagine how the original 3705 must have been. Especially at the time, in 1994, very stealth and “raw” watch. Uncommon in those days, I would say. Today’s watchmaking’s landscape is very different from 25 years ago, and black watches are represented within all major watch brands. But this Ceratanium IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph “Tribute to 3705” definitely has that vintage vibe to it.
While the original 3705 had steel pushers and a steel crown, the “Tribute to 3705” has everything made of Ceratanium. IWC’s own alloy of titanium has properties comparable to ceramic, especially on the surface level. The crown is screw-down, preventing dust and moisture to enter the case. This IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph has a water resistance of 30 meters / 3 bar.
Price and Availability
As written above, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph “Tribute to 3705” reference 387905 can only be ordered online via the official IWC website. The production is limited to 1000 pieces, and each number will have its unique number engraved on the case back. The retail price of this IW387905 watch is €13,000. More information via IWC online.