IWC carbon fiber and ceramic Ingenieur watches-9

Perhaps IWC’s new 40mm wide Ingenieur dress watch was the most talked about new Ingenieur piece for 2013, but for those who like larger sport watches, these more simple-dialed Ingenieur pieces will fit the bill. Whether it is a phase or just because I like loud watches, I fully appreciate smaller dress watches, but simply have so little time in my life to wear them. When choosing a watch to wear on a daily basis, I tend to opt for three-hand sport watches that are at least 42-44mm wide. Knowing that about myself makes me pay close attention to those new watches that would probably see a lot of time on my wrist. At SIHH 2013, IWC debuted two such models, the Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic and the Ingeniuer Automatic Carbon Performance.

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Both of these watches have a lot in common. Most important to IWC is probably that they are each produced as part of the brand’s relationship with the Mercedes AMG Pertronas race team that competes in Formula 1 races. IWC more or less transformed the Ingenieur collection from a sort of manly science watch to a racing watch. Make of that what you will as the designs haven’t really changed. As I am not really into Formula 1, that connection is cool, but doesn’t make or break the deal for me. But since IWC put all that time and effort into working with the race team, it is worth mentioning.

The watches are also both 46mm wide, retaining the same shape and size as the outgoing Ingenieur models that I think are underrated in the IWC lineup. For me, these have always been cool and very much a symbol of what today’s IWC brand is all about. Of course, I will continue on that topic by saying that aside from materials used and colors, the watches are stylistically the same in terms of the case, dial, and straps.

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The final similarity is that the Carbon Performance and the AMG Black Series Ceramic both contain IWC’s in-house made caliber 80110 automatic movement. That movement is visible through the sapphire crystal display back and has a 44 hour power reserve. The 46mm wide case of the watches is water resistant to 120 feet and is not terribly thick at 14.5mm. On the wrist, the size doesn’t look too large, and the design of the case makes it rather comfortable on the wrist in my opinion. I’ve always sort of thought that the Ingenieur was among the more comfortable sport watches out there.

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The Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance is the limited edition piece out of the two I discuss in this article – and there are two versions of it. Pictured is the version with the yellow trim, but there is also an identical version that has red trim – which means red trim on the dial and red stitching on the strap. The yellow version is the ref. IW322401, while the red version is the ref. IW322402. Both are limited to just 100 pieces.

The Ingenieur Carbon Performance has a mostly carbon fiber case and dial, other bits are ceramic, including the screw heads. What impressed me was something that only people who know carbon fiber watches well will see – the look of the carbon fiber. Most carbon fiber watches have flat surfaces. This is because when you polish carbon fiber, doing a flat polish allows you to really see that “weave” look in the material. However, the case (and especially bezel), have a lot of curved edges that still have that weaved fiber look we associate with the material. Not sure how they did it but it looks pretty good.

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Despite the carbon fiber dial, legibility is still really good for the Carbon Performance models. While they will be rare and are limited, these are neat Ingenieur watches that help celebrate a popular material from high-end auto racing. The Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic watch is not a limited edition and has an all-black ceramic case and screw-ends. The black case and strap almost make it a “phantom” style watch, but legibility is retained on the dial (with the white hands and indicators) – a hallmark quality of all the best IWC watches. It is cool to see the black rotor against the movement as well.

Despite the “Black Series” name, there is a version of this watch that is not all black. The “all black” ceramic model is the ref. IW322503, while there is a sister watch that also has a black ceramic case but comes with a brownish dial (with orange indicators) and a brown calfskin strap. Out of the bunch my favorite piece for daily wear would probably be the Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic… in black. A good durable watch that is easy on the eyes, not particularly pretentious, but has a good level of street cred for anyone discerning enough to spot it. Prices for the two watches are actually wildly different, which will help ensure they are on the wrists of vastly different customers. The AMG Black Series Ceramic is $13,300, while the Carbon Performance limited edition models are a whopping $26,400. That is possibly the most expensive carbon fiber case around.

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