This week we start with a photo of an IWC Ingenieur Laureus, that was made by Dimer and immediately caught my attention. A good reason to dig a bit deeper in the history of the IWC Ingenieur.
The photo shows the IWC Ingenieur Laureus, which is in fact an Ingenieur Automatic from the Vintage Collection with a blue dial and a special engraved case back. This is already the fifth special edition IWC dedicated to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
When IWC launched Ingenieur in 1954 and it was considered more as a tool watch than as a piece of haute horlogerie. Perhaps tool watch has a bit of a negative connotation, because nowadays this term is generally used for bigger and more rugged watches. The first Ingenieur was more seen as a ‘civilian’ version of the IWC Mark XI, one of the ancestors of the modern IWC pilot collection. Both watches had a soft-iron core around the movement, to protect negative influence from magnetism, however the Ingenieur was equipped with an automatic winding movement.
Although the Ingenieur was a sort of a tool watch, it was produced for the civilian market and thus it was offered in a variety of ‘elegant’ dials in 18 carat gold en gold/steel cases. The IWC Ingenieur from the Vintage Collection resembles one of the first versions, reference 666A with the space between the double slash marker at the 12 o’clock position (photo above is borrowed from the IWC forum). Same, same, but a little different, because the vintage Ingenieur reference 666A does not have a date.
Also the size is different. The more modern Ingenieur measures 42 mm in diameter, while the vintage Ingenieurs had various diameters between 36.5 – 37.2 mm. Now-a-days this is considered small, but at that time the Ingenieur was actually a rather large for watch. This was due to the the soft iron casing.
By the way, did you know that the comes from the Swiss thunderbolt icon that warns of an electrical current’s presence? IWC has chosen the thunderbolt to represent the Ingenieur’s anti-magnetic abilities, because of its special soft iron shield construction to protect the watch against magnetic fields. For a very, very thorough history of the dial variations on vintage IWC Ingenieurs I can recommend to read the article by Larry Seiden, Marco Schönenberger and David ter Molen.
The Ingenieur Automatic Edition Laureus Sport For Good Foundation is limited to 1,000 watches. Check the IWC website to read more about IWC’s 2011 edition for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
The first photo of this post was taken by Dimer, who work for Ace Jewelers.