IWC Ingenieur Collection: An In-depth Look

This week marks a highly anticipated date in the watch industry calendar, with the launch of IWC’s new pop-up Selfridges exhibition, in partnership with The Watch Gallery.

Ahead of the British Grand Prix, IWC is debuting an F1-themed installation in the Wonder Room Concept space, featuring a Mercedes AMG car simulator and the Ingenieur collection in full, including rare and never-before-pieces seen in the UK. So, with all eyes on the Ingenier, we asked watch expert Ariel Adams to explore the rich history of the iconic collection…

The Ingenieur has been a mainstay watch of IWC for decades. It started life as an engineer’s watch which included both legibility and anti-magnetic properties and was redesigned in the 1980’s as a higher-end mechanical sports watch, with the help of the late and legendary designer Gerald Genta. At the time, Genta was involved in designing some of the world’s most iconic sports watches, including the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus.

Later the Ingenieur grew up, literally, coming in impressive looking 45mm wide cases in various materials. It was the odd-man-out sports watch from IWC as the brand was never able to directly connect it with a lifestyle. IWC later found that success with many of its watches came from identifying them with particular lifestyles. The Aquatimer is their dive watch, the Big Pilot is their aviator watch, and the Portuguese is their classic sport watch. Where did the modern looking Ingenieur fit in?

From a design perspective the Ingenieur of today has always favoured boldness over elegance. It is among the most masculine watches made by IWC, and helps personify their missions as a producer of watches for men only.

For 2013, IWC re-invigorated the Ingenieur as their racing watch – something that felt appropriate. To kick off the new collection IWC even announced a new partnership sponsoring the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 racing team, including some limited edition watches to celebrate that relationship.

Among those are two limited edition Ingenieur watches in all carbon fibre cases as well as the ceramic Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic that is a beautifully high-tech looking watch with an in-house made IWC movement. Sporty and stealthy, they come in 46mm wide cases.

A more retro-inspired racing watch is the Ingenieur Silberpfeil, also a limited edition, the 45mm wide steel cases have either brown or silver-toned dials with perlage polishing that is reminiscent of the finishing on the dashboards of classic racecars.  It isn’t common to see watches with perlage dials, as the finishing is often used for movement decoration (if at all).

Probably one of the most popular new Ingenieur models is the Chronograph Racer which is also new for 2013 (pictured left). It features IWC’s fantastic in-house made caliber 89361 automatic chronograph movement with a double counter at 12 o’clock for both the chronograph minutes and hours. This leads to a neat two subdial look. Available with a few dial colour choices, this is IWC’s choice racing chronograph watch.

The most complex Ingenieur watch is the Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (pictured right). The all titanium case mixes with the semi-skeletonized dial for a beautiful industrial look that is also quite legible. The idea of the movement is to offer a mechanical perpetual calendar with digital displays for the date and month. It also happens to have a chronograph thrown in.

In total contrast to the larger 45 or 46mm wide Ingenieur models, IWC surprised everyone by releasing a new Ingenieur dress watch with the 40mm wide Automatic this year. Thinner and more elegant than its kin, the 40mm wide model is a testament to the 1980s Ingenieur and more suited to daily as well as formal wear. My choice pick in this collection is the white dialed version with the gold toned hand and markers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ariel Adams is founder and editor of world leading watch blog ABlogToWatch. He writes for Forbes.com and is a regular contributor to The Watch Gallery magazine. Read more articles by Ariel Adams>> Follow Ariel on Twitter or Google+.

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