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IWC Ingenieur Automatic Limited Edition 2012 Ref IW323311
Horology with a high cocoa content
I have reached a stage of my life where my loving wife keeps a watchful eye on my health and in particular my diet. She fears my waistline will never cease expanding, my arteries will harden, diabetes will beckon and my zest for life will be prematurely curtailed.
Invariably Mrs Davies is on a virtuous campaign to deprive me of the fatty and sugary foods I love. However, occasionally her pious crown slips and she dispatches me to our local convenience store. She needs her fix of chocolate.
I say chocolate, but her preferred brand is vegetable fat with little cocoa content. I have clearance from ground control to share my wife’s calorific cravings but always select masculine, Swiss chocolate with 70% cocoa content.
It is refined with a deep rich hue, a brilliant lustre and texture to titillate my tastebuds which the premium pricing justifies.
Whilst holding a limited edition IWC watch at The Watch Gallery, Selfridges thoughts of the fruit from cacao tree spring to mind or to be more precise the luxuriant packaged products that result in my favourite occasional treat. The IWC Ingenieur is Swiss, luxurious and in this limited edition variant, presented in a rich brown hue born to induce my salivation.
The “regular”, and I use this word carefully, IWC Vintage Ingenieur is presented with a black dial on the steel cased variant. But this limited edition, features a brown dial and corresponding strap.
Only 500 models have been produced worldwide and only 36 pieces will be made available in the UK, sold exclusively by The Watch Gallery.
The watch harks back to the mid 1950’s and the brown dial has an endearing personality with an understated appeal.
Silver coloured applied batons indicate the hours. At noon twin batons stand to attention like two guards on sentry duty.
In between the hour markings are delicate dots to indicate minutes. In the bright light, they look like miniscule diamonds, twinkling with a comely brilliance. Adjacent to each baton are luminious dots, greater in diameter and vividly visible in dim light.
Hour and minute hands are dauphine shaped, lined with luminescent material. The central seconds hand is silver and slender, save for the red triangular tip which subtly adds a flourish of colour.
At 3 o’clock a date aperture is presented.
At the most southerly position of the dial, the most special words are presented, “Swiss Made”. These words confer competence and skill synonymous with this landlocked mecca of horology and chocolate.
The case diameter of 42.5 mm is perfectly judged. It is not too large nor too small. In recent years many purchasers of watches have sought large cased watches, myself included, and many of my favourite timepieces are 46 mm or more in diameter. However, this watch would not suit a larger case as it would confuse the character of the watch. This watch is a rarefied timepiece with a restrained persona. It is not garish or brash, but is the reserved sartorially suited gentleman in the corner of the room in quiet conversation.
Polished and satin brushed surfaces harmoniously feature. The bezel and caseback are highly polished. The caseband and lugs are satin brushed save for the underside of the lugs which share the gleaming shine of the caseback.
The caseback is fitted with a sapphire crystal to allow hungry eyes to view the kitchen. I always enjoy seeing the movement as it permits admiring eyes to observe the finishing of the movement. Traditionalists may not share my opinion and will mourn the omission of the soft-iron case of the original watch, but then again we are not all the same, some people prefer milk chocolate.
The conventional shaped lugs embrace a rich brown alligator leather strap fitted with an IWC branded pin buckle. A satin brushed finish completes the handsome ensemble.
Convenience is bestowed by a self-winding movement, the 80111 calibre, featuring the famous Pellaton automatic winding system.
The rotor is finely finished and is tastefully decorated. Conventional Côtes de Genève motif features straight lines, but this model has brushed lines arranged in a series of arcs following the profile of the case. Originality has not eschewed comely craftsmanship.
Circular graining is pleasingly presented on the main plate and reinforces the ubiquitous sense of quality as you handle the timepiece.
A central hacking seconds is a nod to vintage IWC watches which punctuate its history. It would prove invaluable to pilots on flying sorties when synchronizing watches. Pull out the crown and the seconds hand will stop.
The 80111 calibre owes much to the pursuit of continuous improvement with enhanced reliability and improved shock-absorption compared with the vintage model which provided the inspiration for this modern timepiece. The tough character of the movement makes it ideal for everyday wear.
My favourite Swiss chocolate is the product of timed-served expertise. The finest raw material is selected and then expertly processed. Processing, blending, refining, conching and tempering are the key stages where craftsmanship has huge influence on the resulting outcomes.
The same could easily be said about haute horology. This handsomely engineered timepiece embraces all the skill and expertise of the artisans based in Schaffhausen. The result is a masculine watch with a retro-feel, harnessing the latest know-how and presented with an attractive aesthetic.
I would anticipate this timepiece will be readily sold-out. Those who crave the august appeal of this limited edition IWC may have to run to the The Watch Gallery stores to secure one. Yet, in expending some energy and burning calories they can eat the finest chocolate with a clear conscience and enjoy a timepiece with a depurate form.
- Model: IWC Ingenieur Automatic Limited Edition 2012
- Reference: IW323311
- Case: stainless steel; diameter 42.5 mm; height 14.5 mm; water resistant to 12 bar (120 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; date.
- Movement: 80111 Calibre, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz) ; 28 jewels; power reserve 44 hours.
- Strap: Brown alligator leather strap fitted with steel pin buckle.