• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1357

    Important Watches

    17 November 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 276

    IWC. An unusual NATO-olive anodized aluminium automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, date, bracelet and Mecca compass


    Price Realised  


    IWC. An unusual NATO-olive anodized aluminium automatic wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, date, bracelet and Mecca compass
    Signed IWC, International Watch Co., Schaffhausen, Porsche Design, ref. 3510, case no. 2'284'043, manufactured in 1982
    Cal. 375 nickel-finished lever movement, 22 jewels, NATO-olive dial, luminous baton numerals, luminous hands, centre seconds, date window, circular NATO-olive hinged case opened by depressing two buttons in the lower lugs, revealing a compass and a mirror with the Arabic inscription of various cities, NATO-olive IWC link bracelet and aluminium deployant clasp, case, dial and movement signed
    39 mm. diam.

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    With photocopies of IWC technical description of reference 3510, 1980 catalogue illustration and instruction sheet for the "Mecca compass".

    According to the Archives of IWC, the present watch was delivered to one of their retailers in Geneva in September 1982.

    This watch is an exceedingly rare example of IWC's celebrated compass model. Made with three different references, the first series launched in 1978 with reference 3510 was also the first model produced by IWC in collaboration with Porsche Design.

    The majority of the watches were cased in black anodized aluminium, an exceedingly small series was available in "NATO-olive green". Mainly fitted with a "normal" compass, a very small number of the already rare "NATO-green" examples were available with a "Mecca" compass. Whereas a common compass features a 360 degree indication, the "Mecca" or qibla compass indicates the direction of prayer. In Islam, this direction is the qibla, pointing to Mecca. The names of various world cities are printed in Arabic scripture onto the crystal of the compass. The lower part is fitted with a rotating disk again with the names of various cities in Arabic. The actual location is set by turning the white pointer to it. The wearer of the watch then has to turn around until the red compass hand points to the red dot on the edge of the compass, thus facing the direction of Mecca.

    As anodized aluminium is rather delicate, it is difficult to find watches in excellent condition, such as the present watch.

    We are indebted to Mr. Christian Niemann, Horologist, Service Data Management of IWC Schaffhausen, for his valuable help with researching and providing of documentation for this watch.