Released in 1994, the IWC Ceramic Fliegerchronograph Ref. 3705 is an excellent example of '90s watchmaking and the emergence of modern watchmaking after the industry arose from the disastrous Quartz Crisis. A rare timepiece pushing the boundaries in more ways than one, the ref. 3705 features modern technology and a distinctive aesthetic that pair together to create a unique timepiece that deserves its adoration and plaudits from collectors of this exquisite watch. Without a doubt, this IWC can be considered a historically important watch with a cult-like following.
Only produced from 1994 to 1996 (retailed until 1998 due to its expensive price tag), it is believed that only 1000-2000 ref. 3705s were produced, which aides its position as a cult classic. While not the first IWC timepiece made of ceramic, it is the brand's first Pilot's Watch model made of the material. Constructed from pure zirconium oxide powder pressed into a mold under extreme temperature and pressure, the resultant ref. 3705 case is incredibly scratch-resistant, light, hypoallergenic, and remarkable shatter-resistant – the perfect watch case material by most measures. It is important to remember that while ceramic cases are fairly popular today, back then, the usual route for an all-black watch would be to use an extremely low-quality and scratch-prone PVD-coating method.
An excellent piece of material technology for the mid-'90s, the ref. 3705's black ceramic case is further improved by its wonderfully wearable 39mm diameter and stainless steel crowns and pushers, which help to provide visual intrigue and break up the black aesthetic with their silver hues. Within its case, the ref. 3705 houses a black dial with gorgeously aged yellow tritium markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 and white accents throughout.
Powered by the iconic Valjoux cal. 7750, the ref. 3705's movement was modified to IWC's exacting standards and exists as a remarkably robust movement that has successfully stood the test of time. With two chronograph subdials, a running seconds subdial, and day and date apertures sitting side by side at 3 o'clock, the ref. 3705's dial is organized and legible while also retaining some busy charm. Re-released by IWC earlier this year for excellent reason, the ref. 3705 is a fantastic example of '90s watchmaking with its charming aesthetic and rich history within IWC's catalog. If there were to be an iconic and collectible IWC watch to recommend, it’s this one.