While it’s more then 1,5 month to go to the SIHH 2013, new models are being released almost daily. And so does IWC… however they don’t simply introduce a new model, no, they complete revamp an entire collection, like they did last year with the Pilot’s Collection.
This year it’s the Ingenieur Collection and the best news is the (re-)introduction of the new Ingenieur Automatic. A self-winding, 40 mm stainless steel homage to the original Ingenieur designed by Gerald Genta in 1977. Not only does it have killer looks, it also herald a return to the true functional integrity of the Ingenieur; being able to withstand magnetic fields up to 40,000 A/m.
For now IWC announced three new 40 mm large Ingenieur Automatic model; finally a reduction in size! What is also remarkable, is the height of these models, as it’s just 10 mm!! This means the new Ingenieur Automatic will be more comfortable then the previous Ingenieur models.
Inside, well protected by a soft-iron inner case, ticks caliber 30110, which is actually an ETA 2892. It is the very same movement as can be found in the new IWC Mark XVII that was introduced at the SIHH 2012. This self-winding movement beats with a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) and offers 42 hours of power reserve.
Back in time – the first Ingenieur watches
When IWC launched the first Ingenieur in 1954, it was considered a tool watch, because it had a soft-iron case around the movement, to protect it negative influence from magnetism. Although it had looks that we would call dress-watch now-a-days, measuring around 36 mm in diameter, it wasn’t until 1976 before the Ingenieur got a significant upgrade.
Well known designer Gerald Genta, also responsible for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, did the same trick as on both aforementioned watches; he designed a steel sports watch with integrated steel bracelet. This can actually be considered a typical Genta trademark. When IWC introduced the Ingenieur SL ref. 1832 in 1976 it wasn’t an instant hit to put it mildly. It was produced from 1976 to 1984 and in total 543 pieces in steel were produced (ref. 1832) and just 55 pieces in gold (ref. 9232). It’s safe to say that these watches are HIGHLY collectible these days and prices for a good example are around € 10.000 Euro!
Perhaps the reason for it’s disappointing success was the fact that it doesn’t wear comfortable. The Ingenieur SL ref. 1832, nicknamed Jumbo, has a thick case, measuring 14 mm in height, and a rather stiff bracelet. The links close to the case were thick and didn’t bend enough, to ‘wrap’ around the wrist. A reason for the ref. 1832’s thickness is probably the movement, being caliber 8541. Later Ingenieur SL models featured a slimmer movement, based on the ETA 2892/A2, and became slimmer in total.
The new Ingenieur Automatic also features a rather thin case and although the anti-magnetic protection by a soft-iron case is significant, it hasn’t influenced the thickness of the case. Of course the design has been updated and looks more contemporary, but many of the main design features are still intact.
The most obvious is of course the bezel with the 5 bores, which originally served to hold the bezel firmly in position. The bezel is slightly chamfered and features an integrated step to make the watch look even slimmer. All the surfaces of the case feature a matte finish, except various edges that are polished, giving the Ingenieur showing that the Ingenieur is designed with a lot of attention to detail. Compared to the Ingenieur SL, the crown is larger and is now a screw-in crown. Also new are the generously sized protective shoulders around the crown.
While I usually prefer black dials, I totally overwhelmed by the silver/white dial of the new Ingenieur Automatic. The down-sized diameter, the height of just 10 mm, the return to full “Ingenieur-functionality” withstanding up to 40,000 A/m and even design-wise back to the Getnta-roots. I’m in love and if the price is right, I want one fast; the new Ingenieur Automatic is über-sexy!
Other details are perfectly visible on the photos (or computer rendered images) and I’m very much looking forward to seeing this new collection in January at the SIHH. One last mood-photo and the specifications of all three new models.
IWC Ingenieur Automatic – Ref. 3239 – Mechanical movement with quick set date function, central hacking seconds, soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields up to 40,000 A/m
- Calibre: 30110 (ETA 2892/A2 build according to IWC specifications)
- Frequency: 28,800 A/h / 4 Hz
- Jewels: 21
- Power reserve: 42 h
- Winding: automatic
- Water-resistant: 12 bar or 120 meters
- Diameter: 40 mm
- Case height: 10 mm
- Glass : sapphire, flat, antireflective coating on both sides
Ref. IW323902: stainless-steel case, black dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliqués, stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp
Ref. IW323904: stainless-steel case, silver-plated dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliqués, stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp
Ref. IW323906: stainless-steel case, silver-plated dial, rose-gold-plated hands and appliqués, stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp
Make sure to check out the IWC ‘in-house’ forum (here) for more updates.
After the SIHH 2013, which will take place from January 21-25, I’ll publish some “live” photos and photos of the new Ingenieur on the wrist. This article is written by Frank Geelen, executive editor for Monochrome Watches.