IWC Fliegerchronograph Ceramic

IWC Fliegerchronograph Ceramic

Why We Love It

The IWC Reference 3705 may very well be the absolute definition of Neo-Vintage perfection.

Combining the traditional function-forward elements of pilot's watch design with a sensibly sized 39mm case, robust automatic movement, Tritium luminous indices and hands, and the groundbreaking first application of ceramic casing material for a sports watch, the 3705 was born a classic when it was introduced in 1994. To say that it was ahead of its time is most certainly an understatement.

Since its introduction, ceramic cases have been used extensively by IWC and other manufactures, but generally in (much) larger case sizes. As such, the 3705 started as something of a cult classic and has found widespread appreciation in recent years, with values doubling or even tripling across the board. 

With an estimated 999 pieces produced in a four year period, and an ever-increasing popularity in the collector community, the IWC 3705 is in our minds a true modern classic with authentic historical significance, the perfect blend of traditional design and cutting edge materials that launched one of the world's most respected Swiss manufactures into the modern era.

The IWC Pilot’s Story

The history of IWC can be said to be one of marriages. For example, a marriage of the Old World to the New, or of the craftsmanship and tradition of the Swiss with American innovations and technology. But perhaps the most enduring association is between IWC and aviation.

When an American watchmaker named Florentine Ariosto Jones arrived in Schauffhausen, Switzerland, he found a city almost frozen in time. Though the Industrial Revolution had swept through America (where Jones worked as a director of a prominent watchmaking company), in Switzerland the situation was very different. Watchmakers still plied their trades by their own firesides, as they had done for centuries; but Jones had in mind something different: an American-style factory where the watches would be designed and assembled in keeping with the old Swiss ways.

His methods caught on, and soon there were 196 people employed at his factory.

Though IWC was founded 35 years before Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first flight, the association between aviation and IWC began just as the aviation age dawned. A pocket watch made by IWC in the 1890s found its way into the pocket of one Robert Albert Lotter. Lotter was a pilot in the German Luftwaffe who served with distinction during the First World War.

Two decades later, in 1936, IWC would release a watch that set the standard, more or less, for what a pilot’s watch is supposed to be—in fact, this watch, the Spezialuhr für Flieger or Special Pilot's Watch, was the first specially-designed pilot’s watch. Another would follow in 1940, the Big Pilot, which has spawned an eponymous model in IWC’s current collection. However, despite the Big Pilot’s current popularity, it was the Special Pilot’s Watch that would lay the cornerstone for IWC’s most iconic line: the Mark series of pilot’s watches.

IWC released the Mark XI in 1948 according to specifications set forth by the British Ministry of Defense. These watches had to be legible, compact, and able to withstand exposure to the magnetic fields emitted by instruments in an airplane’s cockpit. The Mark XI, therefore, had a black dial with large luminous Arabic numbers, and the Calibre 89 movement (regarded as perhaps the best mechanical movement ever produced) was encased in an iron cage.

The Mark XI served as the basis for design inspiration for a robust line of pilot’s watches still being produced today – easily identifiable by their clean, uncluttered dials, robust cases, and outstanding quality.


SKU: AS03831

Ceramic case is approximately 39mm (excluding the pushers & crown). Valjoux Calibre 7750 Automatic Winding Chronograph Movement. IWC Reference 3705. Circa 1990s.

Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing minor signs of wear from gentle use. Luminous matte black dial is excellent condition with richly patinated tritium luminous plots and matching handset. Signed crown. Caseback shows light tool marks. Includes Analog/Shift Milano grey suede leather strap with steel pin buckle. Also includes inner and outer boxes, guarantee and service papers, and warranty card from Gioielli Virginia in Capri.

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We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.


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