Value proposition, for those who really want a perpetual calendar with flyback chronograph but are not willing to shelve out the big bucks. Digital big date display is somewhat unique and an hours and minute counter in the same subdial helps reduce dial clutter and increase legibility.
The hybrid style of classic case with sporty dial might not be as palatable for some. The dimensions of the case 45 mm x 17.5 mm is not the easiest to pull off either.
IWC introduces its new Ingenieur line with the flagship Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. Limited production of 100 watches, the 18 k red gold timepiece stands out among the collection as the largest, heaviest and most expensive.
The Case and Dial
The watch measures 45 mm in diameter and 17.5 mm in thickness. Not for the faint hearted or thin wristed, the perpetual calendar packs a slew of functions with a digital date-month display and a flyback chronograph. Numerals and words on the dial use the signature IWC font, with a high degree of legibility. The hands and dial combination lean towards the sporty side, while the case is arguably classic. Noticeably, the bezel, now without the screws or decorations come across as rather thick, and tall. The polished finish of the case makes the watch look more dressy, and takes away some of its rugged appeal.
We like the design of the pushers and crown, with a nice curvature and press mechanism feel. The watch has a set of short lugs which makes it look more compact and round, less sleek than the Portuguese and but a lot more masculine. For most, it may take a longer period of acquired taste to get used to this hybrid look; this classic but not classic, sporty yet not sporty design.
The Ingenieur Perptual Calendar uses the IWC 89800 caliber; an automatic movement with a base used in the other flyback chronographs in IWC. The Perpetual Calendar module is added to the base caliber, which in part explains its thickness, and comes with a day, date, month, leap year digital display. The stacked wheel design as opposed to wheels on the same plane, (for e.g. those in Glashütte Original) also contribute to the height of the movement.
The signature Pellaton pawl-winding system is used, which is said to improve rotor winding efficiency. Technically, the movement is impressive and arguably economical in terms of complication to price. Similar complications by other brands easily start in the 6 digit price range. That said, it comes at a trade off in finishing and movement aesthetics. Finishing wise, much is left to be desired, in fact a closed caseback might be a better option. The movement beats at 28,800 vph (4 Hz) and has a power-reserve of 68 hours.
The Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is possibly the best value to complication watch in this category. Although stylistically, we much prefer the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph; which loses the digital mechanism, but is sleeker at 43 mm by 15.5 mm. In stainless steel, the Da Vinci is priced at about CHF 32,000 against the Ingenieur in red gold at CHF 49,500. When compared across brands, the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month stands out in terms of value. The closest competitor worth noticing is the Chopard L.U.C Perpetual Calendar Chrono at about CHF 88,000 which has a much better finish, and similar dimensions at 45 mm and 15.5 mm. But then of course, it is manual winding and about twice the price. Other brands with similar complications include A. Lange & Söhne’s Datograph Perpetual at 41 mm x 13.5 mm and Patek Philippe’s 5270 (hand winding, non-flyback and much more expensive). Both of which are significantly better looking but many times the price. That said, the point of bringing them up is to show how expensive this complication, perpetual calendar and fly-back chronograph usually is, and the approximate size of the cases needed to house the movement.
Specifications and Price
Price: CHF 49,500
IWC 89800 | Automatic | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Jewels: 52 | Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, month, perpetual calendar, flyback chronograph | Power-reserve: 68 hours
|Case & dial:
45 mm | 18k red gold | Thickness: 17.5 mm | Sapphire, convex, anti-reflective coating on both sides | See-through sapphire back | Screw-in crown | Silver-plated dial | Black hands and appliqués | Luminescent elements on hands and dial | Water-resistance: 12 ATM / 12 bar / 120 meters / 395 feet
Black alligator leather