Date — 12 September, 2011
With the new Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium (Ref. 3765), IWC’s specialists in Schaffhausen have excelled themselves. A masterpiece of engineering in the truest sense of the term, it comes with a design and operating features that outshine every other model identified by the word “Ingenieur” between the stylized bolt of lightning on the dial – in itself, a symbol of watchmaking at its very finest. A new, top-of-the-line model in a legendary watch family with roots that go all the way back to 1954/55. And which, for over half a century, has put its stamp on a watch brand that has always had a penchant for state-of-theart technology.
But let us start with the unusual feature. Only very rarely in the family’s history has titanium – a high-tech material virtually predestined for the purpose – been used in an Ingenieur. Apart from a few simple models in the 1980s and 90s, it was found exclusively in the Mercedes AMG® series. Otherwise, the nod went to stainless steel, either polished or satinized, which is a much less demanding but optically more pleasing material than its decidedly greyer counterpart. Those who prefer steel, of course, have a certain disadvantage in that from a certain size and volume a watch inevitably becomes something of a burden, albeit a welcome one, especially if combined with a bracelet. The Ingenieur Mission Earth model, for example, including its steel bracelet weighs in at a hefty 245 grams. “Heavy metal” in the truest sense of the term. And made for men who have no objection to being reminded that they have a watch on their wrist.
And yet IWC has more know-how and experience than any other watch manufacturer with titanium: a metal that is tough, resilient, antimagnetic, practically indestructible and unusually biocompatible. It all goes back to the time when the company – working closely with wellknown designer F. A. Porsche® – caused a stir in the rather classical Swiss watchmaking industry by making a case for a high-quality watch from a metal other than steel, gold or platinum. The first titanium chronograph, unveiled in 1980, was a huge success. Together with other big models like the Porsche Design by IWC Ocean 2000 diver’s watch (Ref. 3524), or later the Porsche Design by IWC Compass Watch (Ref. 3511), likewise made of grey titanium, it marked the advent of a distinctly sporty style in watch case manufacture that found many imitators.
Engineering is the fine art of transforming technical challenges into inspired solutions. The definition also applies when its subject is a watch
Back in the late 1970s, however, no one on the market was in a position to produce that kind of case. Which is why the company’s technicians and engineers set about making it themselves. IWC amas sed the expertise it needed for the difficult machining and thermal treatment of titanium from aerospace experts all over Europe.
And most of the time since then, even after cooperation with Porsche Design came to an end in the late 1990s, watches made of this futuristic material have always had a place in the collection: initially in the GST family and then in the newly released Aquatimer line, where it featured primarily in the oversized and extremely rugged models designed for professional use. Titanium is essentially a piece of the brand’s in novative legacy, together with other high-tech materials like ceramic. Indeed, the latest version of the Da Vinci Chrono graph Ceramic (Ref. 3766) fittingly combines the two materials.
Now comes the new Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium. Weighing just 130 grams, it will not only take a load off the wearer’s wrist but also comes with a host of watchmaking features that have never before been found in an Ingenieur. First and foremost of these is a complication in the form of the chronograph’s splitseconds hand, also occasionally referred to by its French name, the “rattrapante”.
At IWC back in the late 1980s, Kurt Klaus and Richard Habring redesigned several features of what was in principle already a very old mechanism. Essentially, they ensured that it was more reliable, with a view to integrating it in the Da Vinci and the legendary Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph. To this day, the “Double Pilot’s” has remained the epitome of a technically sophisticated men’s watch, with the “no-frills” design that typifies the IWC philosophy. For the brand’s de votees it is a discreet – if unmistakable – mark of distinction. What Klaus and Habring had achieved was to make a rather sensitive mechanism completely suitable for everyday use. And it has gone on proving this, day after day, ever since. Because two striking watches built to withstand extreme conditions, the Pilot’s Watch Spitfire Double Chronograph (Ref. 3718) and the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition Top Gun (Ref. 3799), are both equipp ed with it.
A double chronograph is not, as the name may suggest, two separate chronographs in a single watch, but one in which the stopwatch function has been enhanced to include the aforementioned split-seconds hand. Put more simply, when the pushbutton is pressed to start the chronograph, i.e. to connect it to the movement, two central seconds hands, one on top of the other, start moving. A standard chronograph has only one central seconds hand. Each time it completes a revolution, the minute counter at 12 o’clock advances, counting up to 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the hour counter at 6 o’clock moves forward half a gradation to indicate the passing of half an hour and the 30-minute counter starts all over again. This way it is possible to record an aggregate result – even one that is interrupted several times – and for this there are many practical uses.
This simple time measurement procedure is exactly the same with a double chronograph. And you would not even notice the existence of the second central chronograph hand. However, i t makes it possible for the user to record a second time within a given minute. If, when the chronograph is running, the user pushes the third button at 10 o’clock, one of the chronograph hands – the top one – stops running while the second one continues. In this way, it is possible to record two different short periods of time. If the split-seconds button is pushed again, the split-seconds hand catches up with the chronograph hand instantaneously, whether it is moving or stationary. It – literally – runs after it. The French term for the hand, “rattrapante”, comes from the word “rattraper”, meaning to run after or catch up.
Technically speaking, this “watch in a watch in a watch” may seem simple enough, but from a watchmaking point of view is rather demanding and therefore relatively rare. Fascinating as it may be, it is not the kind of function designed for constant use but more as an interesting diversion. Its construction calls for a wealth of watchmaking experience. The IWC design also eliminates the minor risk that the mechanism will not work if the button is pushed too gently or hesitantly.
The new Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium with the time-tested 79230 calibre in its 45-millimetre case comes with a surprisingly bold new look. For the first time ever, the five typical bore holes, which in the past were used to remove the bezel with a special tool, have been replaced by five stainless-steel screws that are given a special, black ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon) coating. This detail alone significantly changes the appearance of the Ingenieur’s case and gives it an even more striking technical appeal. Mechanical engineering in its purest form. Equally eye-catching are the black components used to operate the watch: the buttons of the double chronograph, the crown and its protective shoulders. These are vulcanized, employing the same technique as the one used to apply the outer skin to the black diver’s watch, the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Islands (Ref. 3767). This is not a stylistic gimmick for the sake of appearance but an ideal way to make the important operating components better to feel and grip.
And finally there is the watch’s new face. The striking, bar-like appearance of the embossed indices is in keeping with the style associated with this watch family. The day and date display is in its usual place at 3 o’clock, but for the first time ever all the chronometer’s counters are blue, which makes them easier to read and provides a contrast to the dominant black of the dial. All in all, a harmonious combination in this timepiece. The counters, in other words the subdials for the minutes and seconds, and the small hacking seconds display are all recessed into the dial. And the luminescent material in the spaces between the rhodium-plated hands and hour indices is black. It reveals its indispensable role for a watch like this only when darkness falls. In order to reduce weight and height, which in this case is 16 millimetres, the watch does away with a soft-iron inner case. An Ingenieur that does its name credit, in terms both of functions and looks.
The double chronograph
A split-seconds or double chronograph is a chronograph with a mechanism that has been modified to allow it to record two different times within a given minute. The times of two runners, for instance. In the normal chronograph as found in the 79230 calibre used in this watch, a long, slim central seconds hand is mounted on top a large arbor, which also carries the so-called chronograph second wheel. When the start button is pressed, this wheel is connected to the movement and starts to run. When stopped, the wheel is disconnected from the movement and ceases to turn. In the split-seconds chronograph the chronograph second wheel arbor takes the form of a thin tube. Running through this is a second arbor which, on the dial side, carries the split-seconds hand above the main chronograph hand. In the movement, this arbor is connected with the split-seconds wheel. To stop this (the purpose of pressing the third button), a clamp grips the split-seconds wheel and holds it firmly.