During the past decade or so, the IWC Aquatimer has lived a very discreet life since the brand’s promotional activities were mostly dominated by the Pilot’s and Portugieser collections. A dive watch with a classic look, solid construction and original internal bezel construction, the Aquatimer has long been underappreciated. In order to bring the watch back into the game without changing much to its design, IWC has decided to apply the same recipe it used with the new Mark XX Series and new Pilot Chronograph 43. So here’s the 2022 IWC Aquatimer Automatic Collection, now equipped with a 5-day power reserve movement.
As you can see from our side-by-side comparison above, the evolution of the IWC Aquatimer Automatic is minimal… Or, to make it simple, almost nothing has been changed when it comes to the design, specifications or case dimensions. It’s all down to the new movement. As such, the basic concept of the Aquatimer Automatic remains unchanged. There might be some minor changes regarding the size of the fonts or some details of the finishing, but that’s all you can expect from a design perspective.
The new (and old, in this instance) Aquatimer Automatic is a 42mm dive watch with a 14.10mm thickness. The shape of the case is a signature element of this collection, which relies on a specific construction of the rotating diving bezel. While most dive watches on the market feature an external bezel, the Aquatimer has an internal 60-minute scale printed on an angled flange. But here again, it’s not like your usual “compressor-like” watch, where a secondary crown actuates this rotating element. Here, IWC has implemented a mechanical connection, which doesn’t require unscrewing or actuating a crown (always a risk for water to enter the case). The external bezel rotates, and as you move it, thanks to a mechanism encapsulated at 9 o’clock, the internal bezel rotates accordingly.
The rest of the watch is classic, with a steel case, finished with brushed surfaces and some polished accents. The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal with AR coating, the crown is screwed, and so is the solid steel caseback. Altogether, this gives us a comfortable 300m water-resistance.
One of the evolutions concerning this 2022 IWC Aquatimer Automatic Collection is about dial options. Previously only available with a black dial (at least from the permanent collection), IWC now adds a blue edition with a sunray-brushed finished surface, paired with a textured blue rubber strap and closed by a pin buckle (reference IW328801). The matte black model is still present, either with a matching rubber strap (reference IW328802) or with a brushed stainless steel bracelet closed by a folding clasp (reference IW328803). All are equipped with a practical quick-change system. As for the dial and handset, no evolutions are to be noted, and the three models feature large hands and markers filled with white Super-LumiNova.
It’s inside the case of the 2022 IWC Aquatimer Automatic that things really change. In the past, these watches were powered by the calibre 30120, a 4Hz automatic movement with a 42h power reserve sourced from ETA or Sellita (either a 2892-A2 or an SW300-1). This year, this movement has been replaced by the calibre 32111, a movement produced at Richemont Group’s ValFleurier facilities and whose architecture is shared with Panerai and Baume & Mercier’s Baumatic. The main advantage of this movement, which is meant to replace ETA calibres with identical dimensions, is to have a highly improved power reserve of 120 hours (or five days). It beats at 4Hz, and even if it’s hidden under the caseback, it’s decorated with Geneva stripes and perlage.
These new members of the IWC Aquatimer Automatic family are part of the permanent collection and are available now from retailers, boutiques and online at iwc.com. The retail price is EUR 6,300 on a rubber strap and EUR 7,350 on a steel bracelet. For more details, please visit iwc.com.