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SIHH 2014: The Rebirth of the IWC Aquatimer

by Robin Lim on February 4, 2014

In this year’s SIHH 2014, IWC have launched nine new variants to revamp their Aquatimer range.

The previous generation of Aquatimers were launched in 2009, so it was no surprise that IWC have decided that it is time to inject some new lease of life into their diver’s watch range this year. Nine different variants were launched for their Aquatimer range this year.Out of the nine variants, four of them are limited editions which are dedicated to Charles Darwin, the Galapagos, and Jacques Yves-Consteau. The new Aquatimers feature the latest IWC SafeDive system (the external/ internal bezel mechanism), improved movements, a quick bracelet change system, and newer case designs (and materials). For selected models, they feature several complications that were unprecedented in the previous generations of the diver’s watch as well.

 

The IWC Aquatimer Automatic (Ref. IW329001/ IW329002/ IW329003 / IW329004)

acquatimer

The IWC Aquatimer Automatic is the least complicated watch in the Aquatimer range. It is a three hand diver’s watch, and is cased in stainless steel. There are several versions of the Aquatimer Automatic, which includes a combination of either the black or silver-plated dial, and matched with a black rubber strap or a stainless steel bracelet. Fitted in the 42mm case is the IWC 30120 calibre movement, which features a 42 hour power reserve and a date display.  A simple, but versatile watch that has the ability to rise up to many occasions.

 

The IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 (Ref. IW358002)

aquatimer-2000

The IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is the Rolex DSSD (Deep Sea Sea Dweller) equivalent of the Aquatimer. As the name suggests, it has a water-resistance level of up to 2000m, or the ability to withstand pressure of up to 200 bar. This is more than 6 times the water-resistance level of the Aquatimer Automatic, which is capable of going into waters of 300m in depth. It features a titanium case, and a “reduced” design, which was inspired by the iconic Ocean 2000. At 46mm, it is 4mm larger than the Aquatimer Automatic. However, it is much thicker than the basic Aquatimer, at 20.5mm. Beneath the thick case is the IWC 80110-calibre movement, which features a 44 hour power reserve and a date indicator. This only comes with a black rubber strap, but it certainly compliments the hardy looks of the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 very well.

Between the Aquatimer and the Aquatimer 2000, there are not much differences aesthetically. There are subtle differences, such as the design of the dial, indices and the bezel. Even though the differences are not really pronounced, but the Aquatimer 2000 looks more aggressive. If the price difference is not drastic, I would pick the Aquatimer 2000 any day. It looks more masculine and rugged, as compared to the Aquatimer. Definitely a watch that is fit for an alpha male.

 

The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph (Ref. IW376801/ IW376802/ IW376803/ IW376804)

Next in line would be the Aquatimer Chronograph. On top of telling the time and the date, the Aquatimer Chronograph has an additional chronograph complication, as well as a day indicator. There are several versions for this variant too; it comes in either black or silver-plated dials, and it is complimented with a choice of a black rubber strap or a stainless steel bracelet. In the 44mm stainless steel casing is the IWC 79320-calibre movement, with a 44 hour power reserve. It is surprisingly uncluttered, even with the addition of several sub-dials and a day indicator. It is, however, 3mm thicker than the basic Aquatimer Automatic, due to the additional chronograph module. A slightly chunkier watch, but the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph is definitely more rugged-looking than its predecessor.

IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “50 Years Science for Galapagos”(Ref. IW379504)

aquatimer-blue-numerals

The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “50 Years Science for Galapagos” is one of the four limited edition pieces that was launched by IWC. It was to honour the 50th Anniversary of the Charles Darwin Research Centre. What stood out was the colour scheme; the blue luminescence pays homage to the exotic blue-footed booby, a kind of bird that is found in the Galapagos. The IWC 89365-calibre that it runs on lacks the day indicator, but it compensates by having an integrated flyback function and a 68 hour power reserve. It is cased in a special matte black rubber coating too. Overall, it looks cool. With only 500 pieces, this is also a rare piece too. But somehow, it just lacks the final killer touch, which I just couldn’t describe what it is. D-oh!

 

IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands” (Ref. IW379502)

aquatimer-on-mat

The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands” is another limited edition piece that pays homage to the Galapagos. With the exception of the black and white colour scheme, there are not much differences between the two watches. As compared to the former, the ‘Galapagos Island” edition looks less special. This, however, would be more attainable than the “50 Years of Science for Galapagos” though.

 

IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Charles Darwin” (Ref. IW379503)

aquatimer-bronze

The next piece, the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Charles Darwin”, contain the same movement as well. The main difference would be the casing; it is in bronze alloy, which is a first for IWC. I would say I prefer the “Expedition Charles Darwin” among the four limited editions pieces, simply because the bronze alloy casing stood out. It certainly gave the watch more weight, aesthetically and kinetically. It makes the watch substantial, without being too ostentatious. It would be a good choice for individuals who want something different, without being too brash or flashy.

 

IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau” (Ref. IW376805)

aquatimer-cousteau

The last special edition would be the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau”. There is not much difference between this and the Aquatimer Chronograph; it features the same movement and the same casing. The difference would be the caseback design, and the “Cousteau” colour scheme which features a sea-blue dial with a coral-red seconds hand at the 9 o’clock subdial. Even though the difference in the colour scheme of the dial is subtle, the sea-blue dial does give the watch a unique touch. Something slightly different from the common Aquatimer Chronographs, but not too unorthodox. Clearly, it is another restrained piece, but in a good way.

 

The IWC Aquatimer Deep Three (Ref. IW355701)

deep3

The IWC Aquatimer Deep Three is the third generation of the IWC diver’s watches to feature mechanical depth gauge. During a dive, the blue depth indicator moves to show current dive depth, while the red maximum depth indicator remains at the maximum depth attained, down to a maximum of 50 metres.

deep3-side

The maximum depth indicator can be reset by a button, which is placed at the “2 o’clock” level at the side of the case. Like the Aquatimer Automatic, it features the IWC 30120-calibre movement. Although it is similarly sized like its predecessors at 46mm, it is lighter as the case is made of titanium. Although it has a water-resistance level of only up to 10 bar, it compensates by having a cool complication and a striking colour scheme. It is certainly a timepiece that would definitely stand out from the crowd.

 

The IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW379401)

aquatimer-perp-dial

Saving the best for the last, this is the IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month, the flagship of the Aquatimer range. Unlike the previous Aquatimers that we have featured above, this variant is very special. Running the watch is the IWC 89801-calibre movement, which features a mechanical chronograph, a perpetual calendar, a large double-digit displays for date and month, a leap year display, a stopwatch and a flyback function.

aquatimer-bronze-movement

It features a 68 hour power reserve as well. All these complications are compacted into a 49mm case that is made up of 18-carat red gold and rubber-coated titanium. This is certainly very unique- not many watchmakers have placed so many complications into a diver’s watch. The digital date display is an engineering marvel too- it devised a quick-action switch that would store enough energy to advance the month display discs singly or simultaneously, without affecting the movement’s energy. A mind-boggling piece, aesthetically and mechanically. An extremely stunning watch, and with only 50 pieces, this is definitely a rare one too.

 

The IWC SafeDive System

Created and patented by IWC, the external/internal rotating bezel and the SafeDive system was devised to combine the advantages of using an internal rotating bezel with the ease of operating an external rotating bezel. The sliding clutch, at the “9 o’clock” position of the watch, facilitates the rotation of the internal bezel. The user has to simply turn the external bezel to operate the internal bezel. The internal bezel moves anti-clockwise, to prevent the diver from overshooting the amount of diving time that he/ she has been allocated to. The internal bezel is also coated with Super-LumiNova to ensure legibility in the dark.

After looking through the offerings of IWC in this year’s SIHH, what are the pieces that have actually tugged your heartstrings? Do share your thoughts and opinions with us!

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