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When you think of watches by International Watch Company, you'll probably conjure images of their sturdy Aquatimer divers or Big Pilot aviators. But their Ingenieur is without question a pillar of wristwatch design. With its characteristic integrated bracelet and sharp, angular case design, the Ingenieur is indisputably a sought after timepiece, but many don't know that its story started about twenty years prior.
Although IWC began producing anti-magnetic movements as early as 1888, the Reference 666 Ingenieur was IWC's first foray into producing a purpose-built anti-magnetic tool watch. The Ingeniuer, brainchild of Albert Pellaton, IWC's technical director, utilized the automatic movement (Caliber 85) that Pellaton designed in 1950. Pellaton borrowed the soft iron inner case of the WWII-era Mark XI military watch and modified the Caliber 85 to create an entirely new in-house movement, the Caliber 852, with Breguet overcoil and central seconds.
Like the Rolex Milgauss, the Ingenieur was intended to be used by engineers and other scientists whose work involved exposure to high levels of magnetism. From 1955, when the Ingenieur was launched, IWC produced the watch in a variety of case and dial configurations. However, the majority of these early Ingenieurs were housed in thin, elegant steel or gold cases.
In the 1970s, IWC released the Ingenieur in a "jumbo" case, in keeping with the trend toward larger case sizes. This reference, the Ingenieur SL, was designed by none other than Gerald Genta, the "father" of the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus. The large steel case with its riveted bezel and integrated bracelet certainly takes design cues from the Royal Oak.
However, due to the poor sales of the "jumbo" Ingenieur, IWC decided to release a slimmer version. The Reference 3506, which we feature here, was released in the mid 1980s. It has all the hallmarks of the distinctive Genta design, just in a smaller size, but still sporty. Elegant touches like the gold hour markers and the textured dial elevate it to a more sophisticated look, making it look not out of place with a suit. Only produced for a short while, the Reference 3506 is seldom seen--don't miss it.
Stainless steel case is approximately 34mm (excluding crown). IWC Reference 3506. IWC Caliber 37531. Circa 1980s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in excellent condition, lightly polished. Dial is in excellent condition with no major blemishes or signs of hand drag. Hands and hour markers do show some signs of age but are in otherwise very good condition. Unsigned crown. Case back is in excellent condition.
Integrated bracelet is in excellent condition, lightly polished.