Months after SIHH 2014, and I am only now able to discuss my hands-on time with my favorite new IWC Aquatimer watch for this year. Out of all the new Aquatimer watches (it was year of the diver, after all, at IWC) the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 ref. IW358002 (aka ref. 3580) is my top pick as a dive watch nerd. Based on the design of the iconic 1982 IWC Ocean 2000, the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 incorporates some of the Ocean 2000’s 80s sci-fi elements with the comforts of a modern watch.
All of this comes at a time when my love for dive watches is high, but I am unsure about my feelings for very deep diving watches. The problem is that I am unable to really reconcile my appreciation of the technology of an ultra deep diver with their sheer practical futility. The IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is water resistant to 2000 meters, and it shows it with a chunky case and very thick sapphire crystal. The issue is that I can’t really think of any circumstance where a human, even in some type of suit, can dive that deep.
A “professional dive watch” must be water resistant to 300 meters. In today’s world of “ultra divers” 300 meters is barely anything to applaud. The Rolex Submariner does 300 meters without a sweat and is Rolex’s entry dive watch model next to the much deeper diving Seadweller or Deepsea. Having said that, 300 meters is really the limit of how deep most divers will ever go. In fact, according to Wikipedia, 318 meters is the deepest anyone has ever gone using Scuba equipment.
According to the same page on deep diving, the record for a dive depth is 534 meters, and a bit lower at 610 meters using a military atmospheric diving suit. OK, so for Comex and a few other specialized private or military applications diving to 600 meters may be an occasional possibility, albeit ripe with dangers. That means all the 1000 meters dive watches technically have reason to exist. So what about all the 2000 meter plus dive watches like the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000? What purpose do they have aside from being really cool?
That is a good question. Sometimes I like to imagine that my ultra deep dive watches are like little submarines, and I pretend that if set them loose in the ocean, they will dive deep and them come back to the surface to tell me the tale. In fact, when it comes down to it, these watches might fare best when hitching a ride on an actual submersible, but they won’t be much use down there. So why do we still love these ultra divers? Maybe you can share your opinion in the comments below.
Living out my submariner fantasies with the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 would be simple enough as it plays the part well. The design and construction lead you to believe that diving to 2000 meters is a likely possibility, and that one needs to be prepared (at all times). Thankfully, IWC is there to help right? We covered the more basic three-hand IWC Aquatimer watches for 2014 here hands-on. You can see how the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 models builds on this design into something a bit more interesting for the enthusiast.
While IWC’s new 2013 Aquatimer collection starts at 42mm wide in size, the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is 46mm wide and produced from titanium. It also happens to be a rather massive 20.5mm thick! Yet it is totally wearable and I can’t help but love the concept, especially given the nods to the 1980s IWC and Porsche Design, designs. One thing that I am not sure of is how much the aquamarine color of the hands and hour markers will fare over time. There is an immediate unique coolness to them, but I wonder if over time people will simply want them to be colored white. Mind you, nothing is stopping IWC from producing any number of other versions of the IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 in the future, but it is a question I have. What do you think about the enduring value of the dial’s color scheme?