IWC Ingenieur Silberpfeil
Celebrating Mercedes-Benz glorious history
IWC has paid due reverence to the Mercedes Silver Arrows of the 1930s with the Ingenieur Silberpfeil.
I have recently returned from touring Europe with my family. As a self-confessed workaholic, I made several trips to watch factories, and even the odd museum or two, as I sought inspiration for further editorial.
It was whilst visiting Stuttgart that I decided to visit the fabulous Mercedes-Benz Museum. Over the years, I have owned a few cars bearing the iconic three-pointed star and appreciate their thorough engineering and reliability. However, it was whilst at the museum that I was reminded of the road and race cars of my youth.
I recall the Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 being the car my fellow car-obsessed peers would talk about in the school playground. It seemed to be the epitome of luxury and performance. It was with a sense of nostalgia, that I admired the car of my youthful dreams.
The Silver Arrows
Despite a few wrinkles on my furrowed brow and my children describing me as old, I was not around when Mercedes-Benz created their legendary cars of the 1930s. However, I do remember thumbing the pages of books as a young boy, staring at the images of the Silver Arrow W25 as well as other incredible machines bearing the silver colour scheme.
I am pleased to report the Silver Arrows of the 1930s are presented in pristine form at the museum and their resplendent paintwork basks wonderfully in the halogen ceiling lights.
The Silver Arrows dominated their era with their prodigious performance. This was a period when motorsport was incredibly dangerous and men risked their lives in the pursuit of podium glory. Today, whilst motorsport continues to be dangerous, the safety record is much improved. The industry has repeatedly strived to improve both the safety of competitors and spectators alike through the on-going engineering.
IWC has paid due reverence to the Mercedes Silver Arrows with the Ingenieur Silberpfeil. However, the watch is not unduly nostalgic in style but appears contemporary in appearance despite featuring a dial which replicates the turned dashboard of the W25.
There are several models within the recently updated 2013 Ingenieur range that I have written about on ESCAPEMENT, including the Ingenieur Automatic and the high-end Ingenieur Constant Force Tourbillon, but on balance I think the Silberpfeil is my favourite.
On first acquaintance at SIHH in January 2013, other models engaged with me more readily. However, repeated exposure to the Silberpfeil has seduced me and it is now my preferred model from the range.
The Silberpfeil is available with a choice of brown dial or silver-plated dial. The latter is my preferred choice. The perlage presented, whilst reminiscent of the W25 car dashboard, provides a connection with the movement. The circular-grained motif is normally applied to the mainplate of a watch movement and I particularly like how the pattern features centre-stage on the dial. It connects the wearer with the engine of the watch and will resonate with every man who has lifted the bonnet of a car to admire a V8 powerplant.
Whilst the Silberpfeil name doffs its hat to the Mercedes cars of the 1930s, this watch is very modern in both its appearance and specification.
With a self-winding movement, the IWC-manufactured 89361 Calibre features a flyback chronograph. The movement harnesses the latest evolution of the Pellaton winding system, bestowing the watch with a 68-hour power-reserve.
Two black subdials are presented on the dial, both utilising contemporary fonts. The subsidiary seconds display is located at 6 o’clock with the date presented within. The upper subdial below noon displays hour and minute counters.
The hands are black, partially open-worked and feature white luminous material whereas the central chronograph hand is presented in bright red, aiding legibility. A tachymeter scale frames the dial. The “USP”, to use marketing speak, is the clarity of the dial. It is very simple to interpret despite the numerous details presented.
The chronograph pushers are rectangular in form and align with the crown protector, conferring a smooth profile to the right hand vertical flank of the watch.
A brown calfskin leather strap, with bonded rubber on its inner surface completes the handsome ensemble.
IWC have sought inspiration from their engineering partner MERCEDES AMG Petronas Formula One Team and revisited Mercedes illustrious racing heritage with this particular model.
I like the Silberpfeil for the tactility of the crown and pushers. The dial is simple to interpret despite the various functions displayed. I wish the watch was fitted with a sapphire caseback to allow the wearer to see the movement within, however, there are other models in the range which provide this feature.
The presentation of perlage on the dial provides a connection between the exterior of the watch and the engine within is particularly appealing.
- Model: IWC Ingenieur Silberpfeil
- Reference: IW378505 (silver dial) IW378511 (brown dial)
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 45.00 mm; height 14.5 mm; water resistant to 12 bar (120 metres); sapphire crystal to front; solid caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds; date; flyback chronograph.
- Movement: 89361 calibre, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 38 jewels; power reserve 68 hours
- Strap: Black rubber strap with brown calfskin inlay presented on a stainless steel pin buckle.
IWC support CarFest South and feature the new Ingeneiur Silberfeil at the event
Radio 2 DJ and presented Chris Evans conceived his charity event CarFest a few years ago to raise funds for BBC Children In Need. Evans, a self-confessed car enthusiast, helped to bring together a profusion of classic and new cars in one place for the delectation of spectators and competitors.
IWC Schaffhausen sponsored the Drivers Lounge at CarFest South 2013. They were the only watch brand supporting the event, that took place from 23 to 25 August 2013 at Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire, home of former Formula One world champion Jody Scheckter.
The Drivers Lounge was provided for the use of drivers and teams for briefings prior to embarking on the challenging and arduous hill climb route. Moreover, the Drivers Lounge provided a comfortable sanctuary to recuperate during the event for the drivers and teams to rest in between their sessions.
Several VIP guests attended the event including friends of the brand, Boris Becker, Robert Di Matteo and Nick Fry.
Earlier this year, IWC commenced a three engineering partnership with MERCEDES-AMG Petronas. This latest charity event is yet a further example of IWC underpinning its relationship with motorsport and reinforcing the links between horology and octane-fuelled excitement.
IWC displayed the new Ingenieur Silberpfeil at the event as well as unveiling a very special Silver Arrows from 1954/55, the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow W 196 R, made famous by the driving prowess of racing legend Juan Manuel Fangio.
Test driving at Hockenheimring in 1955, The multiple world champion Juan Manuel Fangio and “The Blue Wonder” racing car carrier from Mercedes-Benz with a W 196 R Formula 1 racing car on its loading platform.