Although with its water resistance rating of just 100 meters the new IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW379401) is certainly not the first watch to be recommended for a serious diver, the new member of the legendary Aquatimer family still looks quite appealing thanks for its sexy “digital” display of date and month.
Featuring an always winning combination of machine-brushed rose gold for its remarkably massive body (the new member of the Aquatimer collection measures whole 49 millimeters in diameter and is 19 millimeters high) and bezel and matte black of its semi-skeletonized dial, control elements and rubberized alligator leather strap, and matte black, the watch will be officially revealed later this month when the Swiss watch manufacturer will open its booth at the upcoming SIHH 2014 event.
As you can see, the chosen color theme is supported with a rose gold easy-to-grip bezel, rose gold elements of the dial (those including golden rims around the vertically aligned sub-dials) and the crown at 9 o’clock, which is supposed to operate the inner rotating bezel behind the glare-proof sapphire crystal.
As I have already mentioned in the lead, the wristwatch is rated for only ten atmospheres of water resistance, so it is clearly NOT a diving watch, however the 60-minute scale on the bezel serves more than a mere element of decor: you can at least use it as a simple timer device, especially if you are into Pomodoro time-management technique that so many people obsessed with their productivity are really into.
The black dial is supported by black setting crown and chronograph push-pieces, as well as with black rubber-coated titanium body and a rubber strap of the same color.
A little bit busy with so many design elements struggling to get your attention, the dial nevertheless allows you to easily grip all the necessary information at a single glance, although I can imagine that the view of the date window can sometimes be completely obstructed by the collection’s signature wide, baton-shaped hour and minute hands.
Compared to the last year’s IWC Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month that was equipped with the same complication, the new diver, too, makes the calendar disks at 9 and 3 hours almost completely visible, but covers them not with semi-opaque pieces of sapphire, but with meticulously executed mesh grilles reminding me of classic British sports cars and giving the watch a lot more purposeful, more energetic appearance.
While many watches with perpetual calendar complication usually look extremely overloaded with indicators, this one doesn’t overwhelm the person that admires it with informational tidal waves. Thanks to the mesh grilles that allowed the date and month indicators to nicely blend into the dial and a perfect choice of a font face for the numerals, the chronograph counter at 12 hours, which is ideally balanced by a small seconds display (it also shares its space with a leap year indicator), looks absolutely organic here: a rare feature for a diving watch with so many complications.
Only fifty of these timekeepers will be ever made, but even that may well be too much since IWC plans to charge impressive $56,000. Yes, it’s a huge chunk of rose gold, and the in-house movement that ticks inside it required a great deal of R&D to design and some expensive machinery to actually make, but, oh, this thing is pricey!
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: n/a
IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW379401) watch specification
Price: $56,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 89801, adjusted to five positions, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 51
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 68 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, perpetual calendar, chronograph
Case material: Titanium, rubberized
Bezel material: 18-carat rose gold
Crown material: Black rubber
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 49.00 mm
Case height: 19.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Black, open-worked
Hour markers: Luminous, rose gold
Hands: Luminous, rose gold
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber with an alligator leather inlay and a titanium pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire