IWC Aquatimer Automatic Watches For 2014 Hands-On

IWC Aquatimer Automatic Watches For 2014 Hands-On

IWC Aquatimer Automatic Watches For 2014 Hands On   hands on

Many of you already know that IWC watches chose 2014 to be the year of the Aquatimer. That means a revisit and reinvention of their popular dive watch collection with a focus on what has worked in the past while trying to set aside what hasn’t been as effective. aBlogtoWatch announced the 2014 Aquatimer collection here, and later offered additional details on the expansive new Aquatimer collection here. The overall collection includes a variety of case sizes, materials, movements and prices. Nevertheless, the cornerstone of a good tool diver is a well-made, affordable, three-hand automatic.

With that said I’d like to explore the most basic and probably highest-volume seller of the 2014 Aquatimer dive watch collection that is simply known as the Aquatimer Automatic. This is the first major refresh in the timepiece family since 2009 and a return to classic tool watch proportions and feel. At 42mm wide the Aquatimer Automatic watches wear boldly with widely space lugs and a deep dial. It feels like a larger watch than it is when you wear it. Nevertheless, it is positively miniscule compared to the largest watch in the 2014 Aquatimer collection that is a rather massive 49mm wide – but that is material for a different Aquatimer article.

IWC Aquatimer Automatic Watches For 2014 Hands On   hands on

The last round of Aquatimer models was very nice with a sapphire crystal bezel and great legible look. Nevertheless, it was missing something very important to any IWC watch. That thing was an ability to be worn in situations above and beyond diving or sports. The return to a more sober yet technical look is very much a modern theme for IWC overall. The bezel is now steel, and while you may miss the idea of having a more durable bezel material, design really counts here. The carefully refined shape of the new Aquatimer is as much retro as it is very modern. The bezel on these models have been directly inspired by the Porsche Design, designed Ocean 2000 timepiece that IWC produced in the early 1980s.  As you may know the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 (not pictured in this article) is a sort of thematic follow-up to the 2000. It isn’t but it is nevertheless a very desirable piece. More down to earth is one of the four basic Aquatimer Automatic models.

The watch comes in a polished and brushed steel case with an either black or light silver dial. IWC makes use of two colors of SuperLumiNova lume with one tone being white and the other being an light marine green. This latter color is in each of these Aquatimer Automatic models and since I’ve never lived with a watch that prominently uses this color before, it is hard to tell whether or not it is a color you’d like to see every day. Both colors are used on the dial as neither of these watches is purely monochromatic even though there is no real dominant third color. Still, the more or less two-tone look of the dials helps them be more classic in persona. There is a small splash of color in the form of the tip of the seconds hand which is a nice, and not distracting touch. In fact, that color is only distinctive on the silver-dialed model (where it is yellow). In any event, it is easy to see how a mixture of modern looks with classic style and design principles goes into making a strong, yet not overly “loud” looking watch.

IWC Aquatimer Automatic Watches For 2014 Hands On   hands on

IWC Aquatimer Automatic Watches For 2014 Hands On   hands on

The dial of the new Aquatimer Automatic alone is very pleasant, but in a boring case it would not save a design. IWC really focused on the case and the overall wrist-presentation of the Aquatimer which helps assert much of its value. A great example is the rotating bezel system called “IWC SafeDive.” In person it works so nicely. The piece is designed with a quasi-internal bezel, but one that is operated using the outside bezel. The outside bezel turns in both directions and has a ratcheting operation. Meaning that it turns freely in one direction, but turns the inner rotating bezel in the other direction. The inner bezel conforms to a series of 60 clicks and it is simply a pleasure to operate in this innovative and fun to use “case complication.”

We’ve speculated a lot about the function of the left-hand “crown” on the opposite side of the case. It first looked like a helium escape valve and it also looked somewhat like a locking system for the SafeDive rotating bezel. While it isn’t actually something one can operate, it is related to the bezel system. Apparently there is some gearing in there, and the small holes are to allow water to escape after the watch has been submerged in water. As an legit diver, the Aquatimer Automatic  should perform well if called upon for a dive. The case is water resistant to 300 meters and the dial is very legible. In fact, most all of the Aquatimer models this year make good actual dive watches though some might prove too precious to beat around. These great-feeling steel tool watches remind you that they are ready for action while in many ways also being simple, casual timepieces. On a bracelet the Aquatimer Automatic with the black dial could easily be a watch worn with a suit.

 

IWC Aquatimer Automatic Watches For 2014 Hands On   hands on

IWC Aquatimer Automatic Watches For 2014 Hands On   hands on

18 comments
CreationWatches
CreationWatches

Excellent watches with best designs and features. IWC watch will definitely rock in market.



BigMike213
BigMike213

That looks amazing with the silver dial!!

Inline5
Inline5

IWC is definitely over-reaching with this line. The automatic and 2000 will not age well with that  odd (although functional) protuberance at 9 o'clock. $6000 for a sellita.....wow incredible watch-making happening there. I like how the authors comment on the in house movement for the 2000...but its based off of the 7750, for 10K no less. Not that there is anything wrong with that movement (it is absolutely dependable), but IWC has lost their way. There is nothing other than the Portuguese chrono (which i have) that I would even consider from IWC anymore. All their pieces are monstrous and gaudy. They remind me of what Zenith went through and thankfully are coming out of. 

GBD
GBD

I really like the look of these, and the street price should be reasonable. The 9 o'clock shroud with holes is just a baffling add-on that will fill with sand and crud and presumably require frequent trips to the watchmaker to disassemble and clean. I don't really buy that there's gearing protruding from the case that just needed to be concealed; more likely that it's just a very ill-conceived design add-on.

Jonah76
Jonah76

Echoing some of the comments below I think this is understated but good looking. I like them on all the pictured straps.

For the pricing though IWC should really move on (huh huh) with the movement of their watches. At the same price point (and even lower) other manufactures are making their own. Has always smelled a little bit 'rip off'.

Piero
Piero

I am not a fan of this one... the design is a bit conservative, the price is very high for an ETA movement, the back of the watch has nothing interesting to show. Regarding the mysterious thing on the left, if it contains gears for the bezel movement  is it really wise to let salt water inside? Even with the holes some water stays in...

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

Very versatile watch. As its an IWC, it obviously is well designed and made with quality materials. Looking at it, it could be an everyday wear as well as a diver and then go to town in the evening. Its not flashy (or "blingy") and in my book that is a definite plus.

As to the "..the left-hand "crown" on the opposite side of the case"...not really sure what that is. Perhaps a better explanation for those of us who still just do not understand this accessory?


Good review and I like the new format. Definitely an improvement....so far....;)

spiceballs
spiceballs

Nice and I suppose its not an overly obvious diver (which might please some) but nothing outstanding for that sort of money.

rpsmith01
rpsmith01

I couldn't agree more about the limitations of the last model.  I had an Aquatimer Chrono and I really enjoyed wearing it, but it really didn't work with anything other than a T-shirt or when I was in the water.  I think this new model is more versatile without losing any of the tough tool watch looks.  I will seriously be considering the black dial with the bracelet.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

On the bracelet it wins, but there is just something off about that rubber... not sure, but do not want.

olifac3
olifac3

Sure the new Aquatimers have all the great features of a true diver, but I couldn't help but notice: does the steel bracelet feature a diver extension? It doesn't look like it does from the pictures. Hope you'll be able to clarify this. Thanks!

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

Mark took the words out of my mouth.  These new pieces from IWC are handsome and stylish while exercising restraint.  No little annoying niggles I wish I could change; it's a very satisfying package.  The bracelet looks great, built to very fine tolerances from the looks of it - no gaps.  Off-topic, i'm glad this new gallery system works on my older browser; the last one was frustrating.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

Nice looking. Sober and restrained but classy looking for a diver. I like the internal bezel operated the outer bezel. Very cool. Hope is it something that holds up and does not get clogged up with sand and dirt. Kinda pricey for a non-manufature movement watch. They are almost getting into Submariner territory with these prices.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@GBDI have no problem believing the wart on the left side is for gearing between the outer and inner bezels. The connection between them is no doubt a shaft (somewhat like a winding stem going into the case). Think of a more commonly seen extra crown on a case for turning an internal bezel. Make that crown a gear which engages with the external bezel and then cover it all up with that metal wart. But I still worry about cleaning. Cheers.

olifac3
olifac3

@DG Cayse  The unidirectional turning system for the hybrid inner-outer bezel is concealed under the left-hand crown. This vid was taken from the IWC Aquatimer webpage http://bcove.me/nteptuqb

GBD
GBD

@MarkCarson @GBD That's a good point. Now that you mention it, it's easier to conceptualize if you just imagine a standard dive bezel with teeth on the underside that bind with teeth on a crown that's used for the internal bezel, except it's all concealed in the case. I don't have an issue with the 9 o'clock nubbin itself (although other watches, such as the Kontiki Sport, did the same without one), but those silly holes would give me pause if I was considering a purchase.

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

@olifac3@DG CayseThank you - I did see that this is referred to as part of the "SafeDive" system, or something like that, on the IWC website. However, I was not able to find any further reference to it on their site.

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