HANDS-ON: The IWC Ingenieur gets a modern makeover that better honors its past with new Automatic 40Zach Blass
- Four new IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 watches – three in steel one in titanium
- Better reflects the design codes of the original 1976 Gerald Genta Ingenieur SL ref. 1832 design
- Uses latest IWC-manufactured 32111 calibre with a power reserve of 120 hours
We have long remained in throws of the integrated steel sports craze. But, while the IWC Ingenieur designed by Gerald Genta in 1976 has long been a deep cut favourite, the modern Ingenieur has struggled a bit in getting support by today’s buyers. This is likely due to the fact that as the collection evolved, IWC began to deviate further and further away from the original to a point where the through line was only clear to the most down the rabbit hole enthusiasts. Today, IWC has made a smart move – snapping things back closer to the original ref. 1832 with their new IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 collection
By no means is this a 1:1 revival, but seeing Genta’s 1832 and the Automatic 40’s we have today side by side it is immediately clear that the new pieces are descendants of the original. All of the ambiguity has been removed from the equation. The few differences are largely subtle. Its case profile has a bit more of a dramatic curvature, and the bezel screws are now more symmetrically aligned. This is because the screws are actually functional, and must remain in the same exact place across all of production. You also have crown guards protecting the crown, while the original did not. The IWC Ingenieur we have today clearly balances the aesthetic codes of the original, with modern refinements that allow the new Ingenieur Automatic 40 to be very competitive in the modern marketplace.
Three of the models are cased in familiar stainless steel, but one is cased in lightweight titanium to further offer a modern edge. Dimensionally, all of the new Ingenieur watches clock in at 40mm in diameter, 10.8mm thick, and a slender-wrist friendly 45.7mm lug-to-lug that will allow the watch to be neither to small or too large for the majority of wrists.
The new “grid” texture of the dial leans into the high-tech engineer aura of the collection, resulting in a distinct and attractive pattern which adds depth visually. The pattern, which consist of small lines offset by 90 degrees to each other, is created by a stamp that is pressed into a soft iron blank and then galvanized to achieve its final colour. This pattern is only broken by a thin outer ring that has nice thin concentric texture with a printed minutes track, and the framed date complication at 3′. In stainless steel, the watches are offered with black, silver-plated, and aqua dials. Of course, the aqua dial will definitely stand out the most with its teals green hue. Again, smart move by IWC in regard to balance. The black and silver-plated dials will speak more to those who emphasize versatility and vintage purity, whereas the aqua dial will win over those who are looking for a modern edge that will catch the eye. Everybody wins.
In titanium, IWC has opted to uphold a more monochromatic aesthetic with a grey dial – a stealth tool watch that means business. All of the dials, regardless of case material and dial colour, utilize a full set of applied hour indices, have the 3′ date complication, and have three central hands. The central hours and minutes hands, like the applied hour indices, are filled with SuperLuminova® for visibility in darkness. The central running seconds hand, however, does not utilize luminous material.
While IWC has emphasized interchangeable straps as of late, all of the watches are outfitted on bracelets evocative of Genta’s original styles. In the akin-to-the-Nautilus format, the bracelet continues the predominant brushed finish of the case with broad polished centre links and outer shoulders that continue the bevelled/polished lines of the case flanks. It is secured to the wrist via a butterfly folding clasp. As they refer to it, an “h-link” bracelet, it has been designed to be more slender and ergonomic than ever before with thinner links and a newly designed middle link attachment to the case that foregoes the nose shaped horns and provides a better fit on the wrist.
Beneath a solid caseback, and resting within a soft iron cage in the spirit of the original to protect against magnetism, you have the recently introduced IWC-manufactured automatic calibre 32111 which offers a full five days, or 120 hours, of power reserve. The 4Hz calibre, as I already mentioned, includes a date complication and also includes a hacking seconds functionality so it can be accurately synchronized to a reference clock upon setting. This is a huge upgrade for the category, as when you compare the new IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 to other Genta-designed references like the Royal Oak and Nautilus, integrated superstars like the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, or even the entry-tier Tissot PRX Powermatic 80, the Ingenieur Automatic 40 offers the longest power reserve of them all.
Aesthetically speaking the watch is far more approachable than it has ever been in recent years, and the Genta through line will definitely have people more interested in acquiring one for their collections. The higher pricing of the IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 may cause some to pause, but, all things considered, I would go so far as to say, especially factoring in the latest-gen calibre, that the collection is a very competitive entry for those seeking out an integrated sports watch that has provenance, robust performance, and an attractive look and feel.
IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 pricing and availability:
The IWC Ingenieur is available now for enquiries. Price: A$17,300 (stainless steel), A$21,700 (titanium)
|Model||Ingenieur Automatic 40|
|Case Dimensions||40mm (D) x 10.8mm (T) x 45.7mm (L2L)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel or titanium|
|Water Resistance||100m (screw-down crown)|
|Configurations||Ref. IW328901: Stainless steel case, black dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliques, integrated stainless steel bracelet with butterfly folding clasp
Ref. IW328902: Stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliques, integrated stainless steel bracelet with butterfly folding clasp
Ref. IW328903: Stainless steel case, aqua dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliques, integrated stainless steel bracelet with polished centre links and butterfly folding clasp
Ref. IW328904: Grade 5 titanium case, grey dial, black hands and appliques, integrated grade 5 titanium bracelet with butterfly folding clasp
|Movement||IWC-manufactured automatic calibre 321111|
|Power Reserve||120 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|
|Availability||Available now for enquiries|
|Price||A$17,300 (stainless steel)