A collector’s corner IWC Doppelchronograph 3711, the first split-seconds chronograph based on the 7750
It’s one of the best examples of a serious, sturdy, and mechanically important copy watch you can still buy at a bargain price.
Welcome to Collectors’ Corner, a new collection of stories about watches from the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, and maybe the occasional 1970s watch. You could say, “post-quartz crisis watches” or watches from the renaissance of high-end watchmaking or “young people” or “neo-vintage”. No matter what you (or we) call these watches, many of the really cool watches from the aforementioned era really deserve a second look, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing here in the Collector’s Corner installment. We describe why we think they are cool and why they deserve your attention!
“Neo-vintage” watches, despite their contribution to timepieces, are still overlooked and (often) undervalued, and are just entering the cusp of retro. To understand what this era means, it’s important to take a quick look back at the Quartz Crisis; so much has been said on the subject, I promise to keep it short! We’ll then start the collection with an important watch that really deserves your attention and offers a lot of mechanical fun at a relatively affordable price (for now…), the IWC Pilot’s Watch Doppelchronograph 3711.
The world’s first commercially viable quartz wristwatch, Seiko Astron, came out in 1969. With the promise of cheap, reliable and accurate timepieces from the East, the value of traditional mechanical watchmaking – not just Switzerland – was upended. The watch that is hailed as saving the mechanical watchmaking industry is well known and designed by a certain Gerald Genta. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus ushered in a new era in which watchmaking is less concerned with timekeeping and more concerned with the preservation of tradition, heritage and art from generation to generation. After the quartz crisis saw the Swiss watch industry go out of business, the ensuing two decades were a time of rebirth and rediscovery for many companies. It’s crazy to think that mechanical watchmaking has gone from being on the brink of obsolescence to celebrating complications, all over the course of about 20 years! In fact, by the early 1990s, watch companies began a race to see who could make the most impressive supercomplication.
You might be asking yourself, what does all this have to do with IWC…after all, this is supposed to be an article about IWC, right?
IWC after the Quartz Crisis
Since its founding in 1868, IWC’s engineering-oriented approach has been reflected in a series of technological innovations. In 1885, IWC designed the first watch with a digital hour and minute display (the so-called Pallweber system). IWC introduced the first “Special Pilot’s Watch” in 1936, which featured a rotating bezel with triangular luminous indicators to help pilots record takeoff times. In the 1940s, technical director Albert developed the sturdy and efficient pawl winding system Pellaton. This technical focus also led to IWC’s involvement with Swiss watch companies to develop a Swiss quartz movement in the late 1960s, a technology that led the company to find its way through the 1980s.
The history of replica IWC, much like the fate of its current sister companies A. Lange & Söhne and Jaeger-LeCoultre, is intertwined with Günter Blümlein. Born in the shadow of war-torn Germany in 1943, Blümlein benefited from the rapid recovery and reconstruction of Germany known as Wirtschaftswunder. In 1980, an engineer Blümlein became head of Les Manufactures Horlogères, an umbrella company established by the German precision instrument company VDO Adolf Schindling AG to manage its newly acquired portfolio of two watchmaking companies: IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The year Blümlein took over at LMH marked the beginning of a big turnaround for IWC, and it’s important to take a few words to understand his impact on the company. Under the visionary Blümlein, IWC was marketed as a manufacturer of unabashed masculinity. Engineering is put front and center. The IWC will be a timepiece for the young and adventurous crowd – it’s a complete break with the old, old-fashioned IWCs of the past.
Building on IWC’s experiments with exotic case materials, such as the original IWC-Porsche Design aluminum compass watch, IWC experimented with titanium and ceramic watches, sometimes even combining the two.
Blümlein also had the vision to bring the iconic Flieger watch to the public. Previously, the Mark XI, produced since 1948, was only offered to military and civilian pilots. The 1989 Pilot’s Watch collection finally came into wide use with the introduction of reference 3741, which reflected the advantages of quartz technology at the time and was powered by a JLC Mecca quartz movement.
At the same time, Blümlein doubled down on mechanical watchmaking, pioneering the concept of easy-to-use modular complications. The first is the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph watch, which uses Kurt Klaus’ mechanically programmed calendar module, which is widely used in the Valjoux 7750 in the company’s product line. Second, use the Doppelchronograph ref. 3711, the world’s first modular split-seconds chronograph complication was born. Two years later, IWC released Il Destriero Scafusia, “The War Horse from Schaffhausen” to commemorate the 125th anniversary. Founding anniversary. This 125-piece grand complication, tourbillon, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, split-seconds watch takes the idea of modular complications to new heights and is actually based on the Valjoux 7750!
IWC DOPPELCHRONOGRAPH 3711 – The Basics
The IWC reference 3711 is a 42mm watch with a thickness of 16.5mm, thanks in part to a modular rattrapante complication and a soft iron inner caseback that protects the movement from magnetism. The case for all metal variants (along with steel, the 3711 is available in gold and platinum) is brushed, and all three pushers are pump-style. However, the gold version has a more premium look – the upper earcups are polished. Also, instead of a matte finish, the dial has a gloss black lacquer finish with gold indexes, a gold day and date disc, and a gold-plated print.
Two dial variants are offered, white and black – both made before the Luminova became widely available, and feature a tritium lumen chart at the quarter. The more common black dial has a matte finish and the hour numerals are printed in high-contrast white. To improve legibility, the date display at 3 o’clock is printed in white on a black background. Several notable features of this Doppelchronograph 3711 are the iconic “fish crown” (screw-in) as a testament to the water resistance of the case, and the presence of an over-domed sapphire crystal, for reference only. The caseback screwed into the case proudly displays the words “DER DOPPELCHRONOGRAPH”.
Inside the case is the automatic movement 79030 (later 79230, when switching to Triovis regulation). Based on the Valjoux 7750 ébauche, the 79030 features a modular split-seconds chronograph designed by Richard Habring. He significantly simplified the notoriously difficult and expensive complications to create the world’s first mass-produced split-seconds chronograph movement. The 79030 features a 3Hz beat rate, bidirectional winding and a healthy 44-hour power reserve. fake watch Review
WHY CONSIDER IWC DOPPELCHRONOGRAPH 3711?
The Doppelchronograph talks to me on many levels. When you look at the watch and hold it in your hand, you realize that this is a far cry from the delicate precious metal toys that most split-second chronographs have. The Doppelchronograph screams “tool table”. It’s large and, in the variant I want, is made entirely of brushed stainless steel. The full brushed finish is perfect for everyday wear, and the watch’s reassuring weight is comfortable – you know it might need a knock or two without missing a beat! There’s nothing more frustrating than owning a watch that you’re afraid to wear too often because you’re worried it won’t meet the rigors of everyday life.
There’s something about these effortless, blockbuster watches that speak to me. Looking at the Doppelchronograph 3711, I feel like when I’m holding a much-loved Submariner 14060 or a Speedmaster Professional…or, taking the analogy out of the world of watches, it’s like holding a pair of worn-out Redwing boots . These watches bring me back to the days when watches were just watches, a tool to tell time, not the queen of safety, a status symbol in the modern world. Granted, I didn’t even live to witness those days, but the sheer “utilitarianism” of the watch appealed to me on an emotional level that I couldn’t explain! You look down at the dial of the dual chronograph and you’re struck by its legibility. The white print on the matte black base creates an incredible contrast – the date and date are reversed: again, legibility is the name of the game! It must also be said that the Doppelchronograph is instantly recognisable as an IWC – although IWC wasn’t the only company making the first Flieger Wholesale watches, one would automatically associate its appearance.