Date — 3 December, 2012
IWC Schaffhausen set to enter the motor-racing season in 2013 as the Official Engineering Partner of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team. To mark their cooperation, IWC is launching the Ingenieur Chronograph Racer in stainless steel with an engraving of a Formula One™ racing car on the case back.
A perfect watch for the racetrack.
For one of the parties in the venture, time is a genuine ally; for the other, a powerful opponent. Nevertheless, the engineers and designers from IWC Schaffhausen and the mechanics with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team have the same vision: they repeatedly push the boundaries of mechanical engineering and redefine the limits of precision technology. The two companies have a name for this untiring quest for perfection: performance engineering. As part of this joint venture, IWC is dedicating the Ingenieur Chronograph Racer (Ref. IW378507, IW378508, IW378509, IW378510) to the Formula One™ racing team. Recording periods of time up to 12 hours, timing pit stops and calculating the average speed attained over a measured distance: there is virtually no time-related task to which the watch is not equal.
The set-up of a Formula One™ racing car and the assembly of a high-precision timepiece exemplify the art of engineering at the highest-possible level. They pose the same questions to watchmakers and racing mechanics: what will happen to one of the parameters if we change something about another? How can we make the powertrain even more efficient? And how can we assemble the individual parts – in an Ingenieur Chronograph there are over 300 of them, in a Formula One™ vehicle ten times as many – to produce the optimum result?
The development of the 89361 calibre is a perfect example of the crucial role played by passion and expertise in the quest to achieve a leading position in the Constructors’ Championship for watch manufacturers. A team of engineers at IWC Schaffhausen spent four years developing this superb movement. In the beginning was a vision: the members of the team wanted to develop a chronograph display that would eliminate the mental arithmetic needed to calculate recorded times of over one minute using both the hour and minute counters. In addition, they set themselves the ambitious goal of making the ingenious Pellaton winding system – one of the most outstanding watchmaking achievements ever to emerge from Schaffhausen – even more efficient. A solution to the first challenge was soon found. Recorded hours and minutes are combined in a single totalizer which has two hands and is read off like an analogue watch display: for example “8 hours and 52 minutes”.
Shorter recorded times, i.e. those less than a full minute, continue to be shown by the central chronograph hand. In order to put this simple but revolutionary idea into practice, IWC’s engineers had to develop a completely new movement based on the Pellaton winding system. They also found a brilliant solution to their second task. The mechanism, which is known as double-pawl winding, no longer has just two pawls in series but a total of four – two sets of double pawls – assembled diagonally to the pawl wheel. These transmit the push-and-pull movements generated by the rotor to the barrel. The arrangement eliminates dead spots during winding and boosts the system’s efficiency by a measurable 30 percent. Even if the chronograph displays a recorded time for a protracted period, the amplitude remains constant and the watch’s accuracy is unaffected.
Additionally, the pawls are not fitted with springs but designed as springs themselves, and rest against the pawl wheel with precisely the right degree of tension. The pawls are controlled by a miniature drive shaft – similar to the crankshaft in a car – which is set in motion by the rotor. For this reason, it is only logical that the 89361 calibre is now the driving force behind the Ingenieur Chronograph Racer.
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With the help of the tachymeter scale on the chronograph’s bezel, it is a simple task to calculate the speed of a car: if a measured distance of 1,000 metres is covered in 30 seconds, the tachymeter scale shows 120. The vehicle’s speed over the kilometre is thus 120 km/h. Thanks to the flyback function, pressing the reset button brings the stopwatch hand back to zero and immediately restarts timing, making it perfect for recording pit-stop times.
The Ingenieur Chronograph Racer is available with a slate-coloured dial and black totalizers or with a silver-plated dial, silver-plated totalizers and blue hands and appliqués. The red “60” in the chapter ring was inspired by the digital display on the steering wheel of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ racing car, which shows the selected gear, oil temperature and lap times during the race. The engraving of a Formula One™ racing car – a modern Silver Arrow, of course – decorates the case back.
The watch comes with a robust stainless-steel bracelet fitted with a special fine-adjustment clasp, which allows the wearer to make minor adjustments to the length of the strap at any time. All he needs to do is press gently on the button with the IWC logo in the middle of the clasp cover and to pull or push the bracelet slightly. The timepiece is also available with a sporty rubber strap with an alligator leather inlay. While the material on the upper side is very attractive to look at, the rubber on the inside makes the strap enormously durable and pleasant to wear.
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