Last year, IWC revamped its Ingenieur collection, introducing several new pilot’s watches. This year, it focused on diver’s watches, with eight new references in its Aquatimer collection, including a chronograph, an automatic, three special editions dedicated to the Galapagos, two technical dive watches and a chronograph perpetual calendar.
IWC honored its commitment to preserving the Galapagos Islands, a World Heritage site, with three limited editions, the highlight of which is the Aquatimer Expedition Charles Darwin Bronze. Bronze is a rarely used case material, probably because it takes a patina, which really only seems appropriate in the sports watch category. Panerai did it a few years ago with the Bronzo, to high acclaim, and IWC does it this year with the Darwin special edition. Bronze is in fact especially ideal for diver’s watches, since it is uniquely salt-water resistant – in this case to 300 meters. The watch is a nod to Charles Darwin’s exploration of the Galapagos Islands in 1835. His portrait is etched in the caseback. It contains automatic caliber 89365 with a 68-hour power reserve and a new internal/external rotating bezel.
The other two Galapagos themed watches are the Galapagos Islands 50th Edition, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Islands, and the Jacques-Yves Cousteau Edition, which commemorates the French researcher’s expedition to the islands in 1971. Another highlight of the new collection is the Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar which, at 49mm, is the second largest in the entire IWC collection, after the Big Pilot 1940. In addition to a digital calendar, it has a flyback chronograph function and a small hacking seconds. The mesh like grill over the date month disks is a great aesthetic touch, very sporty for a perpetual calendar. It is a limited edition of 50.
There are also two serious dive watches are the Aquatimer Automatic 2000, with a 46mm titanium case, and the Aquatimer Deep Three, with a mechanical depth gauge. All of these watches benefit from the IWC quick change bracelet system, which I tried out on a couple of models during the SIHH without breaking a nail, and that means anyone can do it.