There’s no hotter segment in modern luxury watchmaking than the integrated bracelet stainless steel sports watch. Brands from across the industry have made attempts of varying success at capturing this versatile and contemporary design formula while creating unique interpretations. For 2020 German marque Wempe has thrown its hat into the ring with not one, but 16 individual chronometer certified variations. The new Wempe Iron Walker line all shares a handsome and clean take on the integrated bracelet formula but splits the collection into four case styles. These include the flagship Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph, the super compressor style Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver, the standard three hand Wempe Iron Walker, and the smaller Wempe Iron Walker Women’s.
All four case styles and 16 models of the Wempe Iron Walker series begin with the same clean, sporty stainless steel case design. The overall form is angular, but not overly aggressive, with a pronounced downward angled plane at each end of the case in place of lugs. This geometric case design is accented by a pronounced polished chamfer running the length of both sides, breaking up the visual profile of the vertical case sides and adding a dynamic highlight in changing light conditions. Apart from this chamfer, the predominant finish is a smooth, even brushing, surrounding the characteristic tall and mirror polished smooth bezel. While far from the most avant-garde of the current crop of integrated bracelet sports cases, the Iron Walker’s elemental and conservative approach allows this design the versatility to work well in four very distinct guises. From here, the four case styles diverge, with the 42 mm Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph adding broad rectangular pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock and claiming 100 meters of water resistance. The 42 mm Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver opts for a 2 and 4 o’clock dual screwdown crown configuration, with a more robust water resistance rating of 300 meters. Without the need for added complications or water resistance above 100 meters, the core Wempe Iron Walker’s 40 mm case design can be made significantly flatter, compressing the overall height down to 9.75 mm. Likewise, the 36 mm Iron Walker Women’s sits at 9.75 mm thick with a more compact overall profile on the wrist.
Like the cases, all 16 variants of the Wempe Iron Walker follow the same core design principles. Each model begins with a set of clean pointed baton hands, paired with applied lumed rectangular indices. Also like the cases, this conservative and clean basic design allows for a wide range of expression across four divergent series. For the Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph, this look is augmented with an airy modernist outer tachymeter ring, a 3 – 6 – 9 o’clock subdial layout for the 12 hour chronograph, and a 4:30 date window. Each subdial is recessed and decorated with a sunburst finish, then highlighted with an outer polished ring for added visual dynamism. The Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph is available with either a medium blue sunburst dial, or a black and silver “reverse panda” layout. The Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver is perhaps the most striking departure from the core formula, with an eye-catching internal rotating dive bezel in two colors for easy reading at a glance. In order to ensure accurate legibility in low light conditions, the central seconds hand is given a lumed triangular tip as well. For the Iron Walker Automatic Diver, Wempe offers two dial variants – a black dial with electric blue accents, and a medium blue dial with white accents. The standard three hand Wempe Iron Walker keeps the basic design of the series pure, offering variants in white, black, and a sea blue sunburst. Lastly, the Iron Walker Women’s line offers the same dial experience of the 40 mm Iron Walker, with dials in white, black, and sunburst blue.
With so many variants of the series, Wempe uses three different chronometer rated movements for the Iron Walker line. The Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph is fitted with the tried and true ETA/Valjoux 7753 automatic chronograph movement, offering a 54 hour power reserve and 28,800 bph beat rate with in house fine adjustment by Wempe. For the Iron Walker Automatic Diver, Iron Walker Women’s, and standard Iron Walker, Wempe opts for the ETA 2892-A2 automatic movement. These are also fine adjusted by Wempe and chronometer certified, with a 50 hour power reserve and a 28,800 bph beat rate. Both the Iron Walker and Iron Walker Women’s can also be optioned with the ETA E64.111 Swiss quartz movement, providing 41 months of power reserve.
While the 16 variants of the Wempe Iron Walker series offer a wide array of dial designs, complications, and movements, all models share the same stainless steel integrated bracelet design. This sporty brushed H-link pattern tapers slightly, flowing directly into the case itself, and features polished bevels on each of the wide center links. These are finished with a signed folding clasp, which for the Iron Walker Automatic Diver also features a 17 mm diver’s extension.
While the design of the Wempe Iron Walker series may not be as aggressive as some of its contemporaries, the rollout of this series certainly is, with a wide array of models launched concurrently. This versatile and handsome line will be available from Wempe authorized dealers and online in May 2020, with MSRP for the Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph at $4,250, the Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver priced at $3,450, the three-hand Wempe Iron Walker starting at $2,050, and the Wempe Iron Walker Women’s starting at $1,950. For more information, please visit Wempe’s website.