Although with its water resistance rating of just 100 meters the 2014 IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW379401) is not the first watch to be recommended for a serious diver, the new member of the legendary Aquatimer family still looks appealing thanks to its sexy “digital” display of the 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 the rubberized alligator leather strap, the watch will be officially revealed later this month when the Manufacture 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 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 into.
The black dial is supported by a 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!
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (IW379401) 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
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, perpetual calendar, chronograph
Case: Titanium, rubberized
Bezel: 18-karat rose gold
Crown: Black rubber
Size: 49.00 mm
Case height: 19.00 mm
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