back to top

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On

No Longer Made is a series done in collaboration with our partners at eBay, in which aBlogtoWatch editors feature their favorite watches that are no longer in production. 

It may be too subjective to call the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph ref. 3706 the best chrono from the (German part of) Swiss brand, but it’s definitely among my favorites, along with the IWC Doppelchronograph Ref. 3713. History continues to be kind toward the duly beloved Ref. 3706 aka the Fliegerchronograph (as well as the rarer ceramic Ref. 3705), which held the line for smaller-cased, non-“luxurified” pilot’s watches over the course of more than a decade. It was a more innocent, quainter time when a 39mm-wide case housed a 7750 and there was nary a “sporty dash of red” to be found anywhere on the dial.

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On

Though it might look closer to contemporary offerings like the Sinn 356 from Germany rather than its IWC descendants (other than a reissue here and there), the 3706 has those Mark hands that elicit the purest rush of nostalgia for the glory days of the pilot watch. The 3706 began production in post-Quartz revolution 1994 until it was discontinued in 2005. It was replaced with the Ref. 3717, which has been the first of a long-lasting design language that remains to this day, utilizing broad sword-shaped hands and a larger 42mm case (that’s now grown to 43mm in the modern Ref. 3777).

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On

These days, having such a no-nonsense instrument watch measure 39mm-wide can almost come off as a statement on one’s secureness. In actuality, the 39mm-wide and 14.6mm-thick (with a 48mm lug-to-lug measurement) case can best be described as “democratically sized,” as it looks as good on my 7.5-inch wrist as it would on a wrist that’s a bit bigger or one that’s a bit smaller. The case is on the thicker side due to the anti-magnetic soft iron cage housed within, which most everyone familiar with IWC pilot’s watches is accustomed to.

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On

Though this version doesn’t have the tritium dial, the lumed hands and indices are set over a matte black dial that enhances legibility, while the 12-hour chronograph sub-dials and slender Arabic hour numerals are also done in white and easy to read. Ditto, the day and date windows at 3 o’clock have black text against a white background. One thing I would change? Some more AR coating on the sapphire to really cut down on glare.

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On

Reducing the worth and merit of a watch down to sweeping dismissal of “generic” movements seems to be slightly less in fashion now than it has been in recent years, thankfully. Yes, the 3706 is outfitted with the Cal. 7922, a modified Valjoux 7750 that is outfitted with IWC parts. The 44-hour power reserve movement operates at 28,800 vph and can be likened to some steed that never says die. Protected from magnetization from its soft iron cage rather than some newfangled silicon, the 3706 really is a resilient watch. And the quick-adjust for the day and date is simple and foolproof, operated by the crown that sports that classic old IWC fish logo.

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 undoubtedly marks a high point for pilot’s watches and chronographs in the post-Quartz revolution years in which it was introduced. An exercise in purpose-driven design, I really just find it to be one cool watch. Like Weezer’s eponymous debut blue album that was also released in 1994, it gets to the roots of what makes a hit and distills it into an amazing package. And though you’re glad they’re still around today, it’s a version that’s drastically different and more “mainstream” than that first masterpiece.

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On

No Longer Made: IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 Hands-On

Looking around at currently available examples of the 3706, most are in that ~$3,500 range, give or take a few hundred dollars. That’s about $1,500-$2,000 less than a new pilot’s watch chronograph goes for, though they are really are two fundamentally different products. A while back I did a Cost of Entry article on the IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII, which, as a base model for the brand just got its priced bumped $200 to $4,150. It’s hard to dispute the refinements and benefits of a new IWC watch, but I also believe that having more awareness of modern classics like thee Ref. 3706 is nothing but a boon to both to the brand and the watch enthusiast community. You can browse the inventory of currently available IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Ref. 3706 watches here. 

Watch Brands

Explore

Comments

Disqus Debug thread_id: 7757942876

  • Joe

    First paragraph: isn’t IWC Swiss (with some American roots)?

    Still reading through but the photos are very nice 🙂

  • Lingua Franca

    I have one of these. The excellent “brick” bracelet also deserves a mention.

    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0049/6218/9410/files/ig-05_orig.jpg?v=1563450847

  • Mikita

    25 years passed since 1994 – not a joke. From the times when IWC were more tools than luxury items, but pretty close to the transition period.

  • Bilal Khan

    Erp, meant to write “German side of Switzerland” before naming the Doppelchronograph. Probably spent too long on shooting/editing photos before I wrote the article!

    • Joe

      The photos are great!
      Did I say that already? 🙂

  • Independent_George

    Those links just hangin’ out . . .

  • Joe

    I really like those squared-off hour hands 🙂

    • Agnar Sidhu

      Yeah, I’m guessing a lot of people do given it’s history.

  • NaJo

    I dont like boxed hr hand as if somebody chopped it off. Also dont understand the idea of timepiece becoming classic when stopped production; it could be because its not liked and not sold many! And now we pay $3k for an old valijoux. All german brands with real wwii history has got valijoux offerings with original design e.g. damasko flieger chrono.

    Iwc is lame in using eta in lower range models and that too without modifications i.e. same old 38-42 hr pr! Fooling customers just for iwc on the dial…Even tag has gone over that with their latest silicon bl sp autavia.

  • ray h.

    No longer made is an invitation to over charge for you used scratched up watch that very few wanted when it was being made. The karma in this “hobby” is pretty dark.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.