Unveiled early this year at SIHH 2014, the IWC Aquatimer Deep Three Titanium (Ref. IW355701) is perhaps the first tool watch that actually looks great. Its lightweight titanium case is meticulously crafted and features a much elaborated high-tech finish. With its easy-grip rotating bezel and crisp (although a bit busy thanks to its mechanical depth gauge display) dial, the wristwatch would look very organic in a sci-fi movie like Oblivion or maybe even Prometheus.
The new IWC Aquatimer Deep Three Titanium (Ref. IW355701) professional diving watch can be called an evolution of the impressive Aquatimer Deep Two model that the Swiss brand has released more than five years ago. Although, unlike some other tool watches that boast water resistance ratings of up to 3000 meters, this particular specimen is rated for a lot less exciting pressure of just 10 BAR, it is still offered as a “complete backup” to an electronic dive computer: even if an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear explosion somehow gets to you when you are deep under water on a serious mission, this massive gadget is supposed to keep working.
Released earlier this year together with the gorgeous Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW379401), the watch features a lot higher level of refinement especially if you compare it to a lot more modest Deep Two.
While the latter was mostly just a normal IWC diver with a nice and rare complication, the former looks like a true piece of art.
Of course, its main selling point is not the design, but the mechanical depth gauge, which is activated with a pressure plate located at the back of the titanium case. Designed to measure depths of up to 50 meters, the gauge features a split indicator that lets you know your current depth (the blue chip) and the maximum depth that you reached during your stay under water (the red one). For the kind of divers that work (or have fun) at bone-crushing depths that require following a thorough decompression procedure, the functionality must be quite handy I suppose.
While this new diving companion is a bit thicker than the previous iteration of the timekeeper, it is in fact a bit lighter because the harder, but denser stainless steel of the original has finally been replaced for more scratch-prone titanium. Thanks to the use of the featherlight metal, the watch will not only be more comfortable on a wrist, but will also cause you less discomfort for those rare situations when you will have to sleep wearing this 46 mm monster.
As the name of the mechanism implies, the IWC Caliber 30120 is based on a good old ETA 2892 family of automatic movements with some of their critical parts replaced with those that better suit the high standards set by IWC. Some may find the choice of base caliber not particularly exciting, but this is supposed to be tool watch, remember? If you plan to actually use it as a backup device for real diving, you need the mechanism to be robust and reliable, not just merely “collectable”. If its minimum recommended street price of $19,000 doesn’t scare you away, I say go for it, we only live twice.
See also: Edox HydroSub North Pole Limited Edition
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
IWC Aquatimer Deep Three Titanium (Ref. IW355701) watch specification
Price: $19,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 30120, base ETA 2892, IWC SafeDive, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 21
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, mechanical depth gauge (max 50 meters)
Case material: Titanium
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Rubber
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 46.00 mm
Case height: 16.50 mm
Lug width: No data
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with titanium pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides, convex
Case back: Solid, engraved