Picture this: in 2016, you felt inclined to buy one of these strictly limited-edition-only IWC Ingenieur watches, thinking it's a one-time opportunity to get a new-old take on the Ingenieur... Well, worry not if you haven't, because IWC today is launching essentially the same watch with a few basic aesthetic tweaks along with three completely new models - a time-only, two chronograph models, and a chronograph perpetual calendar - in what is now a new IWC Ingenieur collection.
As a newcomer and the entry-level model, we have the IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 as seen above, with references IW357001, IW357002, and IW357003 starting at just under $5,000 and going up from there as you upgrade for a steel bracelet or a solid 18k red gold case. Inspired by the IWC Ingenieur reference 666, the very first Ingenieur that dates back to 1955, the silver dial version on black leather looks closest to its predecessor.
It's a little-known fact that before the Ingenieur was launched in 1955 IWC had produced some military pilot watches with soft-iron cages so as to protect the movements from the ever stronger magnetic fields present in the ever-more developed and better-equipped cockpits of the 1940s. Ditching the pilot watch DNA the IWC Ingenieur was a handsome-looking dress watch designed more for - you guessed - engineers than pilots. The collection received its most notable overhaul in 1976 when Gerald Genta redesigned it – but that's a different story.
All this was to say that things are going back to basics in the same way as we discovered with the old-new Da Vinci (hands-on here): the IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40mm, closest to the original among the four new models, offers a good conservative size (most notably the same as a Rolex Submariner) with an "IWC caliber 35111" beating inside. The 35111 is a base Sellita SW300 which in turn is an ETA 2892 clone, which helps explain some of the price difference between the Ingenieur Automatic and the Submariner. It runs at 4Hz and offers 42 hours of power reserve, ensuring that it won't be a top pick for those looking for a more modern movement in this price segment.
The IWC Ingenieur Chronograph is basically the non-limited re-release of last year's limited editions – references IW380802, IW380801, and IW380803 as seen above. They are a modest 42mm wide, clad in stainless steel or 18k red gold and sport what is an ample 120m depth rating. Inside is what we're told to be an all-new movement called the IWC Caliber 69375.
It is designed to be a relatively high-quantity-production automatic chronograph caliber with a 7750-like layout but having a column wheel replacing the cam-actuation system being the most notable difference. Operating frequency remains 4Hz, and power reserve is 46 hours so other specs are quite close to the famed workhorse chronograph caliber. Aesthetics-wise what's new about it compared to last year's limited edition is that it now has the massive and always impressive IWC winding rotor with large cutouts and beveled edges as opposed to the rather underwhelming stamped piece that was present on the 2016 models. Based on last year's comparable models expect the IWC Ingenieur Chronograph's price to start from around $7,200.
The IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport is a titanium-clad, 44mm-wide alternative to the aforementioned triple-register sporting a more complex IWC Caliber 89361. It offers a more impressive 68 hours of power reserve, a more advanced automatic winding system and the more sophisticated display of chronograph hours and minutes on one sub-dial at 12 o'clock.
A neat design detail is the lightning seconds hand at six o'clock, set as a reminder of the Ingenieur logo (and the central seconds of a Milgauss, perhaps). In this high-contrast, legible, but arguably not-so-sporty black and white, the IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport will be a limited run of 500 pieces – but we wouldn't be surprised to see different versions come along sooner rather than later.
The heavy-hitter in the new-for-2017 collection is the IWC Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month, a 45mm-wide and 17.5mm-thick piece in 18k red gold, based on what is a truly impressive movement, the IWC Caliber 89800. Built on the same 89000 foundations as the Chronograph Sport, this piece further adds a perpetual calendar to the mix, spiced up with digital indications for the month and date at 2 and 10 o'clock, respectively. A neat design tweak is how the apertures are framed by what appear to be sub-dials – although the functionless tracks on their periphery might come across as a design no-no in the eyes of watch design purists.
From the back, it does look comparable to other 89xxx chronographs, as the perpetual calendar's module has naturally been fitted onto the dial side (otherwise, you'd have all the important displays and indications way below the plane of the dial, not to mention that the chronograph bits reserve the back of the movement anyway). For now, it is available in this version with a silvery-white dial limited to 100 pieces.
This latest extension of the round-again IWC Ingenieur collection is a sensible move unless you are one of those who picked up a limited edition last year thinking that was a rare opportunity. From the 40mm-wide automatics through the chronographs, these make for a solid core collection while the perpetual calendar continues to impress with that special movement. The IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport very explicitly lacks colors (most likely to not clash with the limited edition of 2016) rendering it more safe than exciting of a design. Prices for all the different IWC Ingenieur references and model variations, we will add as soon as IWC makes them available. iwc.com