You can put an end to your daily Crown & Caliber search for the classic IWC “Fliegerchronograph Keramik.” The brand’s new tribute model mirrors the original—and has a host of modern features you won’t find in pre-owned versions.
Released in 1994, the stealthy Fliegerchronograph watch was introduced to the public as Ref. 3705. The all-black, ceramic piece was an unfamiliar new style for the times; initial sales were low, and IWC discontinued production after making around 1,000. But renewed interest in the model means that today, the resale value for the vintage originals can reach the tens of thousands of dollars, making this limited-edition relaunch perfect if you want to invest in this nostalgic timepiece while also avoiding the rigmarole of hunting down the classic.
The new tribute watch, officially named the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705”, replicates the dial from the original with a triple-register layout: a 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock, and a running seconds counter at 6 o’clock. The original 3705’s day-date display at 3 o’clock is also present on the new timepiece, making it hard for even the best watch connoisseurs to tell the vintage and new models apart.
So how’s the tribute model different exactly? Instead of the original’s zirconium oxide ceramic, the new watch’s case, chronograph pusher and pin buckle are made from Ceratanium. Each component was manufactured from a titanium alloy that’s treated in a furnace; the resulting material has ceramic-like properties that make it lightweight and highly scratch-resistant—not to mention dark.
The tribute timepiece is also powered by the in-house IWC cal. 69380 movement in place of the Valjoux 7750, which offers you a column-wheel design and a 46-hour power reserve. All in all, the innovative pairing of the Ceratanium construction and the in-house movement are what seamlessly enhance this special release.
Remaining true to IWC’s Ceramic Fliegerchronograph origin story, the tribute timepiece is a limited model with no more than 1,000 pieces available for purchase. With a black calfskin strap, each watch can be purchased for $11,900 from the IWC website. It’s not cheap, but you’ll spare yourself time hunting—and then servicing—the original.