While IWC is a luxury product company, items like the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph captures the non-pretentious factor of a serious tool item made with love and care without being showy. The steel case is brushed everywhere with no polishing save for some light (but effective) polished angle beveling and the slight polish of the very thin bezel. The screw-down crown and large chronograph pushers feel purposeful, but lend to the overall case design. In all, the watch is beautifully un-showy.

One of the best things IWC did with this current generation Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is to finally remove the often criticized “open” date window that along with the day of the week indicator formed a strange little sideways “T” on the dial. With this element gone, the timelessness of the overall look is vastly upgraded. The dial features all matte finishes (which is a good idea) with slightly recessed sub-dials. It gives just a hint of depth without going overboard. Another “textbook” design practice that IWC does well is add in a hint of red color which comes in the form of the running seconds hand. A very minor touch but done so very well in my opinion.

Advertising Message

Over the dial is a slightly domed sapphire crystal with AR-coating on the bottom. IWC could have gone with a totally flat crystal that would have eliminated glare, but it would have given the watch too serious of a look. Despite the glare (that is hard to avoid in photography) the way the watch plays with the light in person is as welcome as it is subtle. These are all very minor touches that required a lot of design refinement, even if they seem small and relatively trivial. Though they aren’t because all good watch design often points down to very little details and small choices.

Inside the watch is what IWC calls the caliber 79320 movement, which is a base Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 (or perhaps equivalent Sellita SW500 clone) automatic chronograph. This is a common movement that doesn’t exactly scream exclusivity, but it is reliable and effective. There is a good reason why you find the 7750 in so many watches out there, and you should never shy away from one (especially at these prices). The movement offers the time, 12 hour chronograph, date, and day of the week. It operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) and has a power reserve of 44 hours.

While this is no diving watch with its water resistance of 60 meters, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph does actually have a soft iron core which is important because that means it can protect against magnetic fields which can really screw up the movement. IWC further claims the sapphire crystal is applied in such a way as to prevent itself from popping out should your timepiece experience a sudden and dramatic change in cabin pressure. Last note on the dial, while IWC does use luminant for the hands, only four of the hour markers get luminant, and I would have preferred a fully-lumed dial.

Advertising Message

A simple engraving of a three-engine prop plane is placed on the rear of the case as a sort of loose reminder of what types of eras IWC wants to evoke with the design of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph. No doubt the watch dial is directly inspired by cockpit instruments, but you will also find very similar designs on today’s aircraft. So even though the true inspiration of the design is historic, I would argue that such a look is for the most part, timeless and just as relevant today as it was yesterday.

I think that ability to be a serious instrument, masculine without being showy, and timeless, is the real allure of a design such as this. You look like a man of action wearing one, but you don’t also look like someone who likes to yell a lot. Perhaps the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is the timepiece for highly active people with manners. That’s actually not a bad way of looking at it.

Even if you like the watch, you still have some choices to make because in addition to black and now metallic blue dial colors, IWC will force you to make some tough strap decisions. The most classic look (and a good one) for the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is the black calfskin leather Santoni strap. Sadly gone are the “rivets” you sometimes see in pilot watches near the end of the strap, but you do have that cool little sharp taper that gives the watch more personality. IWC now also offers textile straps which are their version of a high-end NATO-style strap. Last of course is a five-link steel metal bracelet.

You need to spend an extra $1,000 for the bracelet over the strap, and I hope at least some people do so. While the bracelet oddly gives the watch a less dressy appearance (important for people who want as much stylistic diversity in the watch as possible) it does actually make it feel a bit sportier. The classic five-link brushed design works well and is handsome. What I really want to mention though are some of the little details in the bracelet that you should not miss.

Notice that on the edges of the bracelet you see no holes for pins or screw bars. Pretty cool right? To adjust the bracelet the links use a special “almost no tools” necessary approach where you press down on small pushers on the inside of the bracelet to release the links. It’s a pretty decent system, and OCD people like myself will appreciate how it helps clean up the look of the bracelet from the sides. I also like the small amounts of perlage polishing on the folding elements of the deployant clasp.

Most important for daily wear is the micro-adjust system. While this isn’t new, IWC adopts the technique of putting a small micro-adjust system in the folding deployant clasp. To operate it and extend or shorten the bracelet by a few millimeters you press down on the IWC logo. This makes wearing a bracelet much more comfortable as your wrist sometimes wants it to be more snug, and other times wants it to be a bit looser.

I don’t believe you need to spend terribly high amounts of money to get a good classic sports watch from a Swiss brand – and that is one of the primary reasons this watch is a good idea. IWC is getting a bit more sensible with its prices and the 2016 3777 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph timepieces are an excellent illustration of that. Of course, they are still luxury watches, but at a price of $4,950 for the reference IW377709 on the strap and $5,950 for the reference IW377710, I think most interested buyers will be hard-pressed to find something as nicely made as this for the price. iwc.com 

Necessary Data
>Brand: IWC
>Model: Pilot’s Watch Chronograph reference 3777
>Price: $4,950 for reference IW377709 on strap and $5,950 for reference IW377710 on bracelet.
>Size: 43mm wide and 15mm thick.
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Nice guy who wants a nice classic sports watch from a reputable brand (and who has some interest in airplanes).
>Best characteristic of watch: While IWC doesn’t break new ground, it successfully offers one of the best pilot-style chronographs around in a well-balanced and highly refined package that will make a lot of people happy.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Great at being a good tool, perhaps not as great being a highly distinctive design when it comes to someone wanting to artistically assert themselves. Dial could use more areas of luminant.

Advertising Message

Subscribe to our Newsletter