Reviewing IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950 Hands-On Watch

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950 Hands-On Watch

During the SIHH 2016 in January, IWC luxury watch for sale  showed us a range of new Pilot models – or upgrades of existing models. One of the models that received a lot of attention was the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950.

Although I love the clean designed IWC Mark XVIII, Mark VIII Le Petite Prince edition, Big Pilot and the new BP Heritage watch in 48mm, I have to make an exception for the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950 as well.

At first sight, I’ve found this watch to be relatively cluttered when it comes to the design. It also reminded me a bit of the Breitling Aviastar (I covered that one here).  But when I gave it a closer look, the watch definitely has these IWC design features and a wonderful complication that I really like, a world time function.

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950 has a wonderful technical construction that will allow the wearer to switch to a new – or different – timezone by pressing the bezel simultaneously on two diametrically opposite sides and rotate it to the city (there are 24 of them) in the timezone you are (or that you need to do business with for example). Next, the mechanism that connects the bezel to the movement, will advance or reverse the hour hand, the 24-hour hand by one hour at a time. A very easy-to-use world time watch!
IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950 Hands-On  Watch
The countries with daylight saving time are identified on the rotating bezel by a small “s”. The differential gear shown above connects to the IWC caliber 89760. A flyback chronograph movement with 68 hours of power reserve and ticks at 28,800vph.

Although looks might be deceiving, this IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950 has a diameter of 45mm and measures 16.5mm in height. Admitted, it is not as big as the BP Heritage 55mm, but still a watch that you will have to try before you make a decision.

About the design of the watch there is little to criticize, it is ‘busy’ and a bit cluttered, but in no way do I think it is unusable/unreadable or poorly designed. As you can see on the images we took, the dial is extremely legible, even in low-light conditions. The hands are quite big and filled with lume, it is very easy to read the time despite all the white printing on the dial. The register at 12 o’clock shows the recorded hours and minutes from the chronograph (one might assume it is an extra timezone, it is not). The large white second hand is for the fly-back chrono and the small hand in the register at 6 o’clock indicates the running seconds.

The 24-hour hand is black with a red tip. On the picture below, you will see that the preferred timezone is Anchor and it’s between 10:10 or 10:09. The 24-hour hand points to the ’10’ on the 24-hour scale on the dial, telling us it is in the morning (10am). The bezel shows you that Anchor has Daylight saving, hence the small S in front of it.

The caseback of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950 is a solid stainless steel one, with a Junkers Ju 52 “Iron Annie” plane engraved. This Junkers was in action from 1931 to 1952, both for civilian and military service. With a bit of pride I can tell you that we Dutchies gunned down 295 (an entire year’s production’ of these Junker Ju 52 planes) in May 1940. According to a historian on WWII, this might have resulted in “the lack of sufficient numbers of aircraft most probably heavily influenced the decision not to invade England following the Battle of Britain.”. Well, at least the engraving is nicely done on the caseback here.

For frequent travellers that cross a few time zones, it is an excellent timepiece. For pilots, the fly-back chronograph is an interesting complication as well. It doesn’t have a slide rule bezel to do all these useful calculations (fuel consumption etc.), but I assume any modern aircraft will indicate these things. I at least hope so. A chronograph is always welcome to time the entire travel, or parts of the route, etc. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezone Chronograph 3950 is one of the few new travel watches I’ve seen being introduced or revamped this year (the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time 5164R in rose gold is another one, in a totally different price range).

The official retail price for the IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph 3950 is €13.500,- Euro (including taxes) / $11,900.- USD. It doesn’t come cheap, but the world time mechanism / user-friendliness and the fact that it has a manufacture caliber, wonderful finishing on the case and a Santoni strap makes it an interesting watch nevertheless. The watch comes with a folding clasp.