January 21, 2014
by Ariel Adams
To be honest I was skeptical about the light colored dial version learning that it was a light silver and not white in tone. I still really like white sport watch dials, but I can also appreciate the treatment IWC gave this watch. The silver dial not only has highly contrasting elements but the matte finish prevents it from playing with the light too much which is good. The alternative of when silvered dials play with too much light is how otherwise good tool watches can go real bad. Just don’t forget that a generation before these watches, Aquatimers were regularly decorated with yellow, orange , and blue. Anyhow, after seeing the silver dial in person I really found that I like it. It has a lot of the same high-contrast elements as a white dial but also a color that seems to meld in with the steel of the case.
Available on a strap or bracelet, IWC totally redesigned their strap quick-change system after just one generation of the older versions. Admittedly the new system is much better than the finicky prior one on older Aquatimer models. IWC doesn’t include more than one strap with each watch, and the straps require a special lug otherwise they won’t attach to it. That might prove to be an issue with people who like to attach their own lugs to their watches. The bracelet and strap however are quite good. The neat integration between the bracelet links mixed with its slim profile make for a chic and modern interpretation to the classic dive watch bracelet. The rubber straps are of a great quality as well, and what I like about them aside from their texture and design is that they are pliable and thin which makes for a really comfortable fit.
If there is anything one can say about the Aquatimer Automatic is that it is unpretentious and very wearable. These models have non- in-house made movements that keeps the price down even lower. With a solid build quality and good design, I am happy when the major brands release something primed for a more mainstream luxury consumer consumption.
Inside the Auqatimer Automatic is a base Sellita or ETA automatic watch that IWC claims to regulate and alter. They refer to them as their calibre 30120, and movements such as this have been a hallmark of affordable Aquatimers for years. IWC also places a date on the dial which isn’t at all surprising, but it is placed in a way that is discreet and does not interfere with reading the dial.
While there is a lot to love in the greater 2014 Aquatimer watch collection it is the basic three-hand that is statistically going to be a major seller next to the chronograph (which we will cover elsewhere). The 42mm wide and 14mm thick case is really a great size for most men that further enjoys a very versatile design which should work for many people’s tastes. IWC continues to refine their products in a way that the core of each collection has a huge potential number of owners. Only with very high-end or limited edition models does IWC choose to get a bit more experimental with their design. Also good news is that fans of the new Aquatimers won’t need to wait that long before they hit stores. The Aquatimer Automatics are due to ship in a month or two.
The entry level priced models are the IWC Aquatimer Automatic ref. IW329001 (black dial) and IW329003 (silver dial) watches on a rubber strap priced at $5,750. Price goes up for the bracelet on the ref. IW329002 (black dial) and IW329004 (silver dial) watches prices at $6,750. iwc.com