The IWC Ingenieur Titanium is Genta in the 21st century The IWC Ingenieur Titanium is Genta in the 21st century

The IWC Ingenieur Titanium is Genta in the 21st century

Fergus Nash

Although we’ve already taken a hands-on look at the new IWC Ingenieur 40 range, a substantial piece of the puzzle was missing from the collection. As much as its overhaul was based around returning to the style of the 1976 original, the spirit of the Ingenieur is to push technology and explore scientific utility. Given that the use of titanium in watch cases has only really been popularised in recent years, the ultimate bond between retro design and modern tastes has to come from the IWC Ingenieur 40 Titanium.

The case

The previous iteration of the IWC Ingenieur was quite a departure from the 1976 redesign by Gérald Genta, and that version was an even wilder departure from the very first Ingenieur in 1955. In reverting the overall aesthetic to that of the 1970s model, many contemporary features have been included to showcase the lineage and development of the range. For example, the bubble-like curves have been refined into something more shapely by tightening up the edges and elongating the lugs. This way, it looks a little bit more like retro inspiration rather than retro-futurism. The kitschiness is also tamed with a female end link on the integrated bracelet, helping the case to feel less jarring.

From an engineering standpoint, the titanium Ingenieur is an extremely capable watch. It may not break any records with its 100 metres of water resistance or magnetic resistance, however, those features are essential when working around electronic equipment or potentially greasy workshops. The added crown guards encourage wearers to risk scrapes and bumps, knowing that scratches in the metal aren’t going to prevent any functionality. The use of grade 5 titanium allows for an extremely comfortable wrist experience, backing up the lightweight material with friendly dimensions. The 40mm diameter is paired with a 45.7mm lug-to-lug length and a height of only 10.8mm. Aesthetically, the modern touches include a sandblasted soft-matte finish and a 5-screw bezel that remains symmetrical, unlike the original.

The dial

It’s hard to believe that the very first IWC Ingenieur had a dial which would make it a dress watch by today’s standards, and now the Ingenieur 40 displays something totally contemporary. Although the grid effect was used on the dial of Gérald Genta’s 1976 references, it has been scaled up in both size and concept here. The cuts in the alternating squares create deep troughs of texture, elevating the dial beyond whatever colour is applied to it. The grey tone of the titanium model is particularly apt, bringing out the duller lustre of the metal compared to steel. Complicated textures can sometimes make dials harder to read, however IWC have ensured legibility with more textural and shading contrast. The baton hands, applied hour markers and date window are surrounded by thick black borders, and the minute markers have been elevated from the dial on a smooth chapter ring.

The bracelet

Integrated bracelets have come a long way since the 1970s, despite then being at their stylistic zenith. The bracelet of the IWC Ingenieur 40 again trades soft curves for rigid lines, playing into the high-tech mood of a modern science-themed watch. The titanium is brushed with slight polished chamfers for a touch of decoration, and the links are solid enough to feel strong despite their lightweight properties, finished in a folding butterfly clasp.

The movement

A lot has changed for IWC since 1955, however there is still one thing that links the newest Ingenieur to the original from nearly 70 years ago. In order to achieve significant magnetic resistance of 40,000A/m, the movement has been covered by a soft iron shield. This incorporation of a Faraday cage is one of the simplest and most effective solutions for anti-magnetism, but IWC have excelled in including it while keeping the watch’s overall thickness down. Produced by ValFleurier, IWC’s Richemont relative, the calibre 32111 is a movement with great specs. There aren’t many bells and whistles or complications other than the date, however a 4Hz beat rate and generous 120-hour power reserve are enough to satisfy.

IWC Ingenieur 40 Titanium pricing and availability

The IWC Ingenieur 40 Titanium is now available from IWC retailers. Price: A$21,700, US$14,600

Brand IWC
Model Ingenieur Automatic 40
Reference Number IW328904
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 10.8mm (T) x 45.7mm (LTL)
Case Material Titanium
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Grey cross-hatch
Lug Width Integrated
Strap H-link titanium bracelet, butterfly clasp
Movement IWC 32111, ValFleurier-made, automatic
Power Reserve 120 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability Now
Price A$21,700, US$14,600