If you keep an eye on fresh products from IWC and are also a fan of the world’s most popular racing series, you probably know that the Swiss watchmaker sponsors the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team and have also probably noticed the gorgeous, cool as Arctic ice IWC Ingenieur Racer Automatic Chronograph that was announced back in December 2012. Well, the brand decided not to limit its onslaught to just one F1-themed watch. Behold the new IWC Ingenieur Carbon Performance limited edition (Ref. 3224).
It is not the first time that a major Swiss watchmaking brand offers a watch that has most of its parts crafted of high-tech carbon-fiber material.
Five years ago a proof-of-concept Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Carbon Concept Tourbillon and Chronograph was released that had its body and even parts of mechanism crafted from forged carbon fiber.
In 2010, Hublot, which is also known for its passion for non-traditional, high-tech materials, introduced an ultra-expensive Hublot King Power Ayrton Senna Limited Edition model that, too, combined carbon-fiber with scratch-proof ceramic.
Heck! Even Graham started manufacturing its limited edition Chronofighter Oversize Score Baja 1000 that had its signature trigger-style chronograph push-piece made of carbon.
Well, it looks like IWC was certainly pushed hard.
Judging by their official press release and high-resolution images that accompanied it, the new watch has almost all of its visible parts made from so-called “wet” carbon fiber. Although not as cutting-edge as the aforementioned forged carbon (which is considerably lighter, but is also easier to shatter), the material is still as light as a feather and looks almost as cool as Halle Berry.
Used to make the bezel, the (outer?) body and even the dial face, the material is combined with matte black ceramic (crown and crown guards), as well as titanium (screws and case-back ring).
The materials provide enough contrast for their well-known IWC Caliber 80110 in-house automatic caliber that features a somewhat kitschy oscillating weight decorated with three stylized motor pistons. I am not sure, but it looks like the parts of the “pistons” are crafted from white gold or some other relatively heavy metal to ensure better, more efficient winding of the mechanism.
So far, the watch is planned to be issued in two versions that will only differ from each other with colors chosen for stitching and minute track numerals. Available with either red (ref. IW322402) or yellow (ref. IW322401) accents, each version will be issued in only 100 individually numbered pieces.
What worries me here is the price. According to the Swiss watchmaker, they plan to offer these beauties with MSRP of $26,500, which sounds a bit impressive even despite the high-tech material they used for the model. I mean, a watch crafted from gold will retain its value for a long time (well, at least before they have discovered a low-cost lead transmutation technology, which is reasonably far away), while costs of forged carbon fiber, ceramic and all that is mainly dictated by advances in available technology and there is a good chance that in twenty years or so watches crafted from carbon fiber will sell a dime a dozen, like it happened with plastic that was kind of expensive back in the fifties.
Well, a luxury wristwatch was never a good investment anyway.
IWC Ingenieur Carbon Performance (Ref. IW322401 and IW322402) specification
Price: $26,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, IWC Caliber 80110, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 28
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 44 hours
Movement decoration: Geneva stripes, circular-graining, skeletonized oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Black carbon
Crown: Black ceramic
Size: 46.00 mm
Case height: 14.50 mm
Dial: Black carbon
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Black, luminous
Water resistance: 120 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with textile inlay with yellow or red nylon stitching depending on the model
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides