The new IWC Big Ingenieur Chronograph watch was first presented this January at the annual SIHH-2009 industry event that was held in Geneva, Switzerland. Although as cold and impartial as a man can be, I must confess however that this gorgeous timekeeper currently tops my list of IWC’s Most Wanted Watches being second only to the recently revealed IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month time measuring device.
Founded in 1868 by an American entrepreneur Florentine Ariosto Jones (it is now a part of the vast empire of Richemont International SA group,) the Swiss watchmaker is not particularly old by the local standards.
However, compared to some “legendary” trademarks that went tits up in the second part of XIX century and were resurrected 1990s by “international investors” on the wave of interest to Swiss watches, the International Watch Company went through more than 140 years of its history without major disruptions.
More than that, its current model range is based on models that were introduced in the first half of the XX century and had decades to mature and evolve, like a very good vine.
The IWC Ingenieur family of watches, for example, was introduced more than fifty years ago.
Being IWC’s first self-winding timepiece with an antimagnetic shield, for the three consecutive generations it was an icon of a clean and simple watch designed to serve daily needs of men “with occupations”.
The watch gained a lot of extra weight, became bigger and bolder, and… duller.
Although IWC’s marketing keeps calling the Jumbo Ingenieur a “classic” model, in reality it was a disaster. The watch just didn’t sell.
Nevertheless, all consecutive Engineers feature the same gargantuan proportions of the first Jumbo. Fortunately, the latest models look more like bodybuilders in a great shape rather than sumo wrestlers in a mid-season.
Just like most modern Engineers, the watch features a pair of prominent baton-shaped hour and minute hands, a black dial with an inner part decorated in a brick-like pattern and applied “Ingenieur” and “IWC Shaffhausen” logos, and a pair of chronograph dials on the 6 and 12 o’clock.
Hour indices are also hand-applied and filled with some fluorescent agent. Its bezel features a tachymeter scale that serves a purely decorative purpose.
Generally, it looks like the next iteration of the Ingenieur Automatic Chronograph 3725-01 model, but more elegant and subtle.
Inside its large case (it is 45.5mm in diameter and 14.5mm thick) is ticking an in-house IWC 89360 self-winding caliber with a power reserve of 68 hours.
First revealed two years ago and originally designed by Stefan Ihnen for the Da Vinci family of watches, the caliber is a Porsche 911 in the watchmaking world where the omnipresent Valjoux 7750 movement is just a practical and mass-produced VW Golf.
All in all, the watch leaves an impression of a very masculine timepiece, making your average metrosexual human being feel uncomfortable with its weight and size and mojo.
Like all Engineers, this model features a highly legible dial, a pair of easy to operate push-pieces and a reasonably big crown. Well, those tiny hands on the chronograph dials could have been a trifle larger as well as the seconds hand and the date window, but overall this is a beautiful watch.
Company stays mum about the watch’s price, but I would guesstimate that they will charge around €6,000 for the stainless steel model and closer to €10,000 for the IWC Big Ingenieur Chronograph in rose gold. Potential pricing for the platinum version gives me the shivers.
IWC Big Ingenieur Chronograph specification:
Price range: $40,000 for the gold and $70,000 for the platinum
Movement: IWC Caliber 89360, automatic, in-house, Swiss Made
Complications: Chronograph, date
Power reserve: 68 hours
Case material: Rose gold or platinum or stainless steel (ref. IW378406), transparent caseback with sapphire crystal
Case dimensions: 45.50 mm
Case height: 14.50 mm
Water resistance: 12 ATM (120 meters)
Strap: Brown alligator leather with a folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective