In our latest episode of our Calibre Podcast, our CEO Brian Duffy interviews Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. They discuss the latest release from the brand, as well as what we can expect in 2021, from Watches & Wonders to new releases.
This month sees the release of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705” that sees IWC travel back in time to honour the legendary Ceramic Fliegerchronograph (ref. 3705) from 1994.
Throughout its 152-year history, IWC has created modern icons such as the Big Pilot or the Portugieser Chronograph. But tucked away in the archives, there are also hidden gems; timepieces that are overlooked before they shoot to unexpected fame. One such model is the “IWC Fliegerchronograph Keramik” from 1994, which was IWC’s first Pilot’s Watch with a case made of black zirconium oxide ceramic. Despite its use of this highly innovative material and its purist instrument design, the chronograph enjoyed little success. After only about a thousand pieces, production was discontinued a few years later.
The ref. 3705 did not become famous until about a quarter of a century later. Following various articles on specialised blogs, the “Black Flieger” caught the attention of a growing number of watch enthusiasts. With luminous indices and hands, which had aged over time to a warm orange, the once-forgotten chronograph was winning collector’s hearts with its distinct neovintage charm. One piece from the personal collection of former IWC director Günter Blümlein was auctioned for a staggering 53,750 US dollars. But the ref. 3705 does not only embody IWC’s heritage as a manufacturer of professional instrument watches for aviators. With its black ceramic case, the model is also an early testimony to the extensive materials expertise that IWC has acquired since the 1980s; a quality that still distinguishes the company as a modern watchmaker today.
The new tribute edition faithfully replicates the original’s dial design. Instead of using ceramic, however, it features a case made of Ceratanium®, a groundbreaking new material developed by IWC. Powered by the in-house 69380 calibre and fitted on a black calfskin strap, this piece is the perfect choice for those who favour vintage styles with modern updates.
You can listen to our podcast below for more information about this special piece, and don’t forget to subscribe to ensure you never miss out on an episode.