We started to preview the 2014 IWC Aquatimer watches here, and went hands-on with the Aquatimer Automatic watches here. IWC chose 2014 to be the year of the diver, so new Aquatimer models are aplenty. There are two chronographs, and those such as the Charles Darwin are the more exclusive of the two. Not only because they are special edition models, but because they contain in-house made IWC automatic chronograph movements. The others (while being more affordably-priced) contain base ETA/Sellita movements and are pretty nice unto themselves.
With that said, the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Expedition Charles Darwin contains the IWC caliber 89365 automatic movement that operates at 28,800 bph and has a power reserve of 68 hours. It has a bi-compax chronograph that measures up to 30 minutes and the date. This is not to be confused with the IWC caliber 89361 which is very similar but has two hands in the upper subdial allowing it to measure up to 12 hours, though these are both part of the case caliber 89000 movement family.
I happen to really enjoy the looks of the new Aquatimer collection that mixes traditional dive watch style with a nice modern twist. The 44mm wide case sits very comfortably on the wrist and I love the rubber strap with its retro-textured pattern. IWC uses rubber coated chronograph pushers as well as the crown that offer a grippy tactile experience as well as a warm which is separated from the coldness of the metal.
Don’t forget to further consider some of the great new features of the 300 meter water-resistant 2014 Aquatimer case. First is the newly developed quick-release system for the strap. Much improved over the previous generation system, the straps release easily, and fit very securely. The only downside is that you pretty much have to use IWC straps. Also, with the bronze version there is of course no bracelet option–so just the rubber.
Perhaps the best new feature of the case is the ratcheting diver’s bezel. Turning the outer bezel turns the inner bezel which is pretty cool, and while the outer bezel turns in both directions, only one direction turns the inner bezel (because it ratchets). IWC calls this their “SafeDive” system, and I think you’ll really like it.
We didn’t consider the new Aquatimer to be among the best watches at SIHH 2014 for no reason. IWC really did a nice job taking their core competencies and producing a revamped line of dive watches with a lot of appeal, style, and actual diver street (or sea) cred. The Expedition Charles Darwin edition of the Aquatimer Chronograph ref. IW379503 is a unique model that fits in the larger collection for the right consumer. In many ways it is beautiful and priced at $11,100. iwc.com