The legendary IWC Mark XI aviator's watch was a “cult watch”. Produced from 1948 until the early eighties, the Mark XI was never available to the public. Sensing an opportunity in the 1990s, IWC introduced a civilian version in 1993, the Mark XII. But this was not the first civilian “flieger” from IWC. In 1988 the company introduced the Pilot's Watch Chronograph Mechaquartz model, with styling from the Mark XI and the innovative Mechaquartz movement from IWC sister company, Jaeger-LeCoultre.
In 1992, IWC shocked the world with the first mass-produced doppelchronograph movement in the Pilot's Watch Doppelchronograph. This was followed in 1994 with the release of this Pilot's Watch Chronograph, Ref. 3705 in black ceramic and the Ref. 3706 in stainless steel. Although the Doppelchrono and black ceramic Chronograph generated buzz for IWC, it was the Ref. 3706 that would bring in sales. Both models had the same dimensions, at 39 mm diameter and 14.6 mm thick, but the ceramic case added 50% to the cost. The dials, hands, pushers, crown, and caseback was similar, as was the ETA 7750-based Cal. 7922.
The Chronograph models strongly resemble the Ref. 3711 Doppelchronograph, minus the pusher at 10 00 and additional seconds hand. The dial is clean for a chronograph, with simple white markings on the chronograph subdials and small seconds, and the hands are simple stick type. A luminous triangle at 12 00 and rectangles at 3, 6, and 9 give a sense of familiarity and tie it to the Pilot's Watch Mark XII launched a year earlier. It was a strong, masculine watch and did much to set IWC back on the road to profitability.
Three different movements were used in Ref. 3706
The ceramic Ref. 3704 remained in the IWC catalog from 1994 through 1998, with less than 2,000 examples sold. Ref. 3706 in steel lasted until 2005 and was much more successful. In 2003 a Spitfire model was added with wide hands, applied markers, and a multi-level dial. The model was thoroughly updated in 2006 for the Ref. 3717.