Date — 1 January, 2014
The evolution of the diver’s watches from IWC continues. The 2014 Aquatimer collection from IWC Schaffhausen comes with inspired technical features, even more in-house calibres and a patented IWC bracelet quick-change system. For the first time ever, a haute horlogerie complication in the form of a perpetual calendar with a large digital date display appears in this watch family. Bronze likewise makes its debut as a metal for the case. The Swiss watch manufacturer is also launching four special editions in support of the work of the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Cousteau Society.
“The Aquatimer is a distinctively masculine, dynamic and professional sports watch line, with a tradition dating back to 1967,” explains Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. “The influence of legendary design elements and colours of the Aquatimer heritage is unmistakable. The design of the new generation, however, is more purist than that of its predecessors. It makes a powerful overall impression, effectively accentuated by the new, innovative rotating bezel,the hallmark of the IWC Aquatimer watches.” The fact that the new Aquatimer watch collection is being launched against the stupendous backdrop of the Galapagos Islands is no coincidence. “Very few regions on Earth are home to such a fascinating diversity of species, both on land and in the ocean, as this unique archipelago,” continues Georges Kern. “Our Aquatimer watches are the perfect companion for demanding expeditions above and below water, and are entirely in their element in this natural paradise. But the massive extent of the threat posed to this World Heritage Site is also clear to us.” IWC Schaffhausen pledges itself to ecologically responsible behaviour and pursues a corporate strategy based firmly on sustainability. As a manufacturer of top-quality watches that stand for lasting value, the Swiss company feels a very special obligation to help preserve the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. It therefore supports and sponsors the Charles Darwin Foundation and its research organization, which adopts a scientific approach to the challenges on the Galapagos. IWC brings the same commitment to the Cousteau Society, which dedicates itself to continuing the research work of Jacques Cousteau (1910–1997) and the preservation of the world’s seas. With his unique photography and film work depicting the rich diversity of marine life, the French deep-sea diver brought “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”, as his most popular TV series was known, to the homes of millions of people worldwide. A passionate engineer, inventor, researcher and film-maker, he heightened awareness of the need to protect the blue planet as no one else has done.
For the first time ever, a model from the IWC diver’s watch line is equipped with a perpetual calendar, a genuinely haute horlogerie complication. The Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW379401) is a genuinely big watch from two points of view. On the one hand, there is the IWC-manufactured 89801 calibre with perpetual calendar and large digital display for the date and month, a feature very much in the Pallweber tradition of 1884. On the other, the flagship of the new collection – which is limited to just 50 watches, incidentally – comes with an impressive case diameter of 49 millimetres. This makes the Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month the second-largest wristwatch in IWC’s history, after the Big Pilot’s Watch of 1940. Following in the footsteps of the GST Deep One of 1999 and the Aquatimer Deep Two of 2009, the Aquatimer Deep Three in titanium (Ref. IW355701) is the third generation of IWC’s diver’s watches to feature a mechanical depth gauge. Both the depth gauge and the rotating bezel system have been continuously developed and improved. During a dive, the blue depth indicator moves to show current dive depth, while the red maximum depth indicator remains at the maximum depth attained, down to a maximum of 50 metres. The Aquatimer Deep Three thus provides a complete backup system to a dive computer. Built for extreme depths, the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 (Ref. IW358002), water-resistant to 200 bar, continues IWC’s tradition of manufacturing timepieces that can withstand extraordinarily high pressures for both amateur and professional divers. Its titanium case and minimalist design are reminiscent of another iconic IWC model: the Ocean 2000, created by Ferdinand A. Porsche in 1982. The Aquatimer Automatic 2000 features the rugged IWC-manufactured 80110 calibre with Pellaton winding system. With the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “50 Years Science for Galapagos” (Ref. IW379504), limited to 500 watches, IWC honours the 50th anniversary of the Charles Darwin Research Station, a scientific institution set up by the Charles Darwin Foundation. The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands” (Ref. IW379502), which comes with identical technology, has been an expression of IWC’s commitment to the threatened archipelago. Both watches are powered by an IWC-manufactured 89365 calibre and have an attractive black rubber coating. With the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Charles Darwin” (Ref. IW379503), IWC Schaffhausen traces the journey of the well-known naturalist to the Galapagos Islands. Here, Darwin collected the evidence that formed the basis of his theory on the origin of species. As a tribute to this event, and for the first time ever, IWC Schaffhausen makes use of bronze for a watch case: the metal alloy was one of the materials typically used in shipbuilding at that time. This special edition is also equipped with the IWC manufactured 89365 calibre.
The Aquatimer is a distinctively masculine, dynamic and professional sports watch line, with a tradition dating back to 1967.
—Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen
In 1971, for his film “The Dragons of Galapagos”, the best known pioneer of marine research Jacques Cousteau undertook an expedition to the remote islands in the Pacific to study the behaviour of the marine iguanas. In honour of this enlightening journey of discovery, IWC unveils the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau” in stainless steel (Ref. IW376805). Thanks to the more discreet colours and shapes, the Aquatimer Chronograph in stainless steel (Refs. IW376801/IW376802/IW376803/IW376804), with a black or silver-plated dial, also cuts a fine figure in everyday use. The purist design of the dial leans heavily on that of the first Aquatimer of 1967, but offers a more contemporary interpretation. With a case measuring 42 millimetres in diameter, the Aquatimer Automatic in stainless steel (Refs. IW329001/IW329002/IW329003/IW329004) is the smallest member of the diver’s watch family. The watch, with its three hands, is available in four versions, with a black or silver-plated dial, complemented by a matching black rubber strap or stainless-steel bracelet.
IWC CEO Georges Kern sums up the comprehensive relaunch of the Aquatimer watches as follows: “The new Aquatimer collection has undergone a carefully orchestrated process of technical and optical development. The sophisticated external/internal rotating bezel makes the watch easier to use than ever before and guarantees even more safety during dives. The design of the sports watches is uniquely modern and unmistakably bears the hallmark of IWC. Other features that boost the quality and value of the line are the inclusion of more IWC-manufactured calibres and, for the first time ever, the use of bronze in a case. And with complications such as a perpetual calendar with large digital date and month display as well as a mechanical depth gauge, the Aquatimer line has now taken a leading position in the world of haute horlogerie.”
“The 2014 Aquatimer collection perfectly epitomizes the concept of evolution: remaining successful is all about continuous development,” says Goris Verburg, Director Marketing & Communication IWC Schaffhausen. “That’s the reason why we gave the watch family its first comprehensive relaunch since 2009, without altering its DNA. We retained the qualities our customers appreciate so highly in the Aquatimer watches – the fact that they’re robust and elegant, as equally well suited to diving or an expedition to the Galapagos as to a business meeting. The combination of sport and adventure, outstanding technology and masculine appeal embodied by the diver’s watches perfectly reflects the central message of IWC ‘Engineered for men’.”
The most conspicuous technical modification in the new Aquatimer generation is the innovative external/internal rotating bezel complete with IWC SafeDive system. The mechanism combines the advantages of an internal rotating bezel, which engages precisely in steps of one minute and protects the mechanism against dirt and seawater, with the ease of use of an external rotating bezel that can be moved simply by a diver wearing gloves or with cold fingers. A sliding clutch system connects the two rings by the rotation of the external bezel being transmitted to the inside of the case and the internal bezel. For safety reasons, the internal bezel only moves anticlockwise. This ensures that, even if a diver were to move the bezel accidentally, zero hour – the time at which he can return safely to the surface without the need for decompression stops – would not be exceeded. The Super-LumiNova®* coating for the dive time scale on the internal bezel guarantees excellent legibility at all times, no matter how poor the visibility. The two colours, which glow in the dark, are also an aid to orientation on the dial: green for displays relevant to dive time, blue for the hour display.
The 2014 Aquatimer collection perfectly epitomizes the concept of evolution: remaining successful is all about continuous development.
—Goris Verburg, Director Marketing & Communication IWC Schaffhausen
Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC, explains the design of the new Aquatimer watches: “The choice of less vivid colours and the functional design of the dial reference the first Aquatimer released in 1967. By contrast, we took our inspiration for the gently rounded and recessed grips on the external bezels from the legendary Porsche design of the Ocean 2000 of 1982. The new rotating bezel mechanism gives the current Aquatimer collection overall a more sophisticated look and feel, despite the addition of a protective cover for the sliding clutch system on the left-hand side of the case. The polished and satin-finished surfaces likewise enhance the high-quality appearance of the watches. Apart from this, I’m personally delighted that by using bronze we’ve managed to integrate a very attractive and living material into IWC’s repertoire of case materials.”
In addition to the perpetual calendar with its large digital display for the month and date, one of the outstanding watchmaking achievements in this year’s collection is the mechanical depth gauge and pressure-resistance to 200 bar. Overall, the line benefits from three new chronograph references with IWC-manufactured movements. Furthermore, most of the previous models have significantly higher pressure-resistance. From now on, all Aquatimers will feature the traditional fish symbol showing pressure-resistance in bar on the back of the watch. The new, patented IWC bracelet quick-change system is not only very practical – the change from stainless-steel bracelet to rubber strap and vice versa is quick and easy – but also very safe. The bracelet is attached to the locking bar from above and engages audibly. To release it, the locking lever is pressed outward with the thumb and the bracelet pushed upward to disengage it. In the corrugated rubber strap, the first segments are so flexible that the strap adjusts itself effortlessly to fluctuations in the girth of the wrist experienced at high temperatures or when diving. In its XXL version, the corrugated strap can even be worn over a drysuit. The bracelets used in the 2014 Aquatimer collection are interchangeable.
Man’s dream of diving is probably as old as his dream of flying. In the 1960s, his fascination with the underwater world led to unprecedented efforts to explore newfound depths systematically. The growing popularity of amateur diving challenged the watch industry to develop diver’s watches that were water-resistant, robust and, above all, totally reliable. Time management under water is critical: a diver’s health – or even life – can depend on it.
In 1967, IWC launched the Aquatimer. Water-resistant to 20 bar, the company’s first diver’s watch founded a watch family whose success has continued unabated to this day. Initially, the manufacturer went for an internal rotating bezel, which was set using a second crown situated at “4 o’clock”.
The first result of a 20-year partnership with designer Ferdinand A. Porsche was the compass watch with automatic movement developed by IWC Schaffhausen in 1978. In the early 1980s, further cooperation with the designer of the legendary Porsche 911 led to the first military diver’s watches. Parallel to this, and from 1982, IWC began producing the similarly designed Ocean 2000 sports diver’s watch. It was the first series-built diver’s watch in a titanium case with tested pressure-resistance to 200 bar. At this time, IWC was the only company in the world capable of milling titanium. The lightweight, corrosion-resistant and virtually indestructible material is particularly suitable for diver’s watches. In 1997, IWC rolled out the GST sports watch line, which rapidly became a symbol of ruggedness combined with tried and tested suitability for everyday use. A year later, IWC reinstated the traditional Aquatimer name and launched the Aquatimer GST Automatic 2000 in titanium, and tested to resist pressures up to 200 bar, as part of the new sports watch line. The inventive spirit of IWC’s engineers then led to the GST Deep One in 1999. This eye-catching diver’s watch in its titanium case was the first IWC watch with a mechanical depth gauge.
The combination of sport and adventure, outstanding technology and masculine appeal embodied by the diver’s watches perfectly reflects the central message of IWC ‘Engineered for men’.”
—Goris Verburg, Director Marketing & Communication IWC Schaffhausen
In 2004, the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 was first unveiled to the public. Like the original 1967 Aquatimer, it had an internal rotating bezel that was set via a self-sealing crown at “4 o’clock”. That year also saw the launch of the Aquatimer Split Minute Chronograph, a diver’s watch equipped with a separately operable split-minute hand that functions independent of the chronograph. This was the globally unique extra function of a split-minute hand that could be switched on or off under water at any time, at depths of up to 120 metres. In 2008, IWC’s year of the Vintage Watch, the Aquatimer Automatic reappeared in the same guise as the original 1967 Aquatimer. This was no pretty showcase piece, but a genuine working instrument for tough underwater assignments.
Redeveloped from the ground up, the 2009 Aquatimer collection underscored IWC Schaffhausen’s aspirations to a position at the top of the world of mechanical watchmaking. The most conspicuous new feature on the diver’s watches, which were bigger overall, was the external rotating bezel with its inset sapphire glass. Its lower surface has several coats of Super-LumiNova®*, which ensures that divers are able to read off their dive time even when light and visibility conditions are poor. The Aquatimer Chronograph in 18-caratred gold attracted attention because it was IWC’s first diver’s watch in a case made of a precious metal. The Aquatimer Deep Two succeeded the GST Deep One and impressed with its precise mechanical depth gauge, which showed current dive depth as well as the depth attained in the course of a dive, to a maximum of 50 metres. The Aquatimer Chronograph featured imposingly solid technology with an eye-catching coral red or signal yellow arc for the first quarter-hour combined with a dark blue or black dial. In 2009, the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands” in its rubber-coated case appeared for the first time and has been an indispensable part of the collection ever since.
IWC’s work with the Charles Darwin Foundation goes back to 2009, when the scientific world celebrated Darwin’s 200th birthday. “We are very grateful for the support we have received from our long-term partner IWC Schaffhausen,” says Swen Lorenz, CEO of the Charles Darwin Foundation. “The cooperation with IWC has enabled us to push ahead with important protective and research measures, and to make our cause better known worldwide.” With two new Aquatimer Chronograph special editions – “Galapagos Islands”(Ref. IW379502) and “50 Years Science for Galapagos”(Ref. IW379504) – IWC has dedicated two very special timepieces to the Charles Darwin Foundation and helps sponsor its indefatigable efforts by channelling part of the proceeds from sales to the charitable organization and its Research Station.
IWC became a partner of the Cousteau Society as early as 2004, and supports the organization in its establishment of marine protected areas. This is widely accepted as one of the most effective methods of protecting the fragile underwater world from over-fishing, poaching and environmental destruction. With Jacques Cousteau, IWC Schaffhausen shares not only a technological pioneering spirit and passion for perfection, but also the commitment to an intact environment worth living in. For this reason, in 2014, IWC Schaffhausen will devote another special edition – already the sixth – to the visionary who championed the cause of the oceans: the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau” (Ref. IW376805) is a memento of the Calypso’s fantastic voyage of discovery to the Galapagos archipelago in 1971. Part of the proceeds from sales of each watch goes to the benefit of the Cousteau Society and helps ensure that the legacy of this committed environmental activist is fulfilled.
The Galapagos Islands lie 1,000 kilometres west of Ecuador. Their remoteness and special climatic conditions have created a world of fauna and flora that is unique worldwide. Because of the very different conditions prevailing from one island to the next, natural selection has produced animal and plant species that are unknown anywhere else on the planet. Around 40 per cent of the animals living in the Galapagos, such as the giant tortoises, the marine iguanas and the famous Darwin finches, are endemic to the islands. Together, they helped Charles Darwin, who visited the islands in 1835, to formulate his theory of evolution on the origin and mutation of species by natural selection and adaptation. The waters around the islands, too, teem with an abundance of life, supported by various ocean currents such as the cold and nutrient-rich Humboldt Current, the warm North Equatorial Countercurrent and the Cromwell Current, which is a relatively warm 17 degrees Celsius. They are a paradise for whales and Galapagos sharks, sea lions, penguins and manta rays – and, of course, for divers, who can find areas with more species than most other oceans in the world. In 1978, UNESCO declared the Galapagos Islands a World Heritage Site. Ecuador declared 97 per cent of the total emerged surface area a National Park as early as 1959. In 1998, a marine reserve was created around the Galapagos. In 2001, the World Heritage Site was extended to include the Galapagos Marine Reserve and became one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. There can be no doubt that the removal of the Galapagos Islands from UNESCO’s Red List in 2010 was a partial success. Nevertheless, this living laboratory of evolution is critically endangered by, among things, invasive animal and plant species, settlement, growing tourism and illegal fishing. The survival of the mangrove finch, one of the Darwin finch subspecies, is threatened by an introduced species of fly. At present, just 70 of these intelligent birds, which can even use tools to obtain food, remain. The Charles Darwin Foundation does all it possibly can to preserve these animals and plants on the Galapagos. For 50 years, the international non-profit organization has maintained a scientific Research Station on Santa Cruz, the second-largest island in the archipelago. Over 100 scientists, students, teachers and volunteers from all over the world work tirelessly to research the indigenous flora and fauna and to preserve the Galapagos World Heritage Site from destruction. On top of this, the Station trains national park rangers, organizes seminars for teachers and students, publishes the findings of its research and acquires donations.
* IWC Schaffhausen is not the owner of the Super-LumiNova® trademark.
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