Date — 21 January, 2013
Since the start of their cooperation in 2004, IWC Schaffhausen and Mercedes-AMG have forged a strong partnership. The precision, efficiency and manufacturing quality of AMG cars and the Ingenieur watches from IWC hold an irresistible appeal for technology enthusiasts. In 2013, IWC is dedicating the Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic to the two companies’ many years of cooperation.
Mercedes-AMG, the high-performance brand owned by Mercedes-Benz and domiciled in Affalterbach, Germany, makes the most powerful series-production models in the company’s portfolio. At irregular intervals, AMG adds a highlight to its range with the “Black Series”, which is inspired by motorsport. Formula One™ fans are also familiar with Mercedes-AMG from the Official F1™ Safety Car that has featured regularly on the world’s racing circuits since 1996. Despite being made for the track, a “Black Series” vehicle from AMG boasts all the features typically found in a genuine Mercedes-Benz: quality, reliability, everyday practicability and a long service life. They are the same attributes that apply to the new Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic timepiece from IWC (Ref. IW322503, IW322504). This is no coincidence: after all, the engineers and technicians in Schaffhausen and Affalterbach share the same passion for handcrafted precision technology at the very highest level.
IWC’s designers created the Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic as a tribute to its namesake. One of the two versions of the watch is finished entirely in elegant black, with the exception of the white hands and indices. But the “Black Series” models made by the car manufacturer are available not only in black. This explains why a second version of the watch features a brown dial, beige hands and appliqués as well as a rubber strap with a brown alligator leather inlay. The purist design of the watch, with its three hands, is an expression of the philosophy jointly held by IWC and Mercedes-AMG: uncompromising performance, functionality and no gimmicks. Some of the surfaces have a high-gloss, piano-lacquer-like finish while others are silky matte. This intriguing interplay ensures that the timepiece is an attractive eye-catcher. Clear-cut, meticulously aligned contours underscore the watch’s chic, sporty appeal.
Inspired by the high-performance ceramic disc brakes found in premium AMG vehicles, the case (water-resistant to 12 bar) of the Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic, including the bezel, crown and solid protective shoulders, is made entirely of black zirconium oxide. IWC discovered the high-performance ceramic for the watch industry back in 1986 and, as a result, has the technological expertise needed to machine this extremely hard material. In view of its hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, the case blank can be machined only with diamond-tipped tools, which register 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. Apart from being extremely scratch-, heat- and corrosion-resistant, zirconium oxide is skin-friendly and weighs about 30 per cent less than steel, making it ideal for watch cases.
The purist design of the watch, with its three hands, is an expression of the philosophy jointly held by IWC and Mercedes-AMG: uncompromising performance, functionality and no gimmicks.
Ten titanium screws with striking ceramic heads hold the two sides of the case securely together, referencing the DNA of the modern Ingenieur watches. This is because the original five bores in the bezel – the brainchild of world-famous watch designer Gérald Genta – were inspired by diving helmets, which were secured to the diver’s suit by screws. In the mid-1970s, IWC commissioned him to design the legendary Ingenieur SL, whose decidedly technical appearance has given the Ingenieur family its face and left its stamp to this day.
Rather like an AMG Mercedes vehicle, which is as much at home on the track as it is on the road, the Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic is ideally equipped to meet the stresses and strains of everyday use and of extreme situations. This is thanks, not least, to the IWC-manufactured 80110 calibre, one of the most rugged movements manufactured by the Schaffhausen-based company. It boasts an integrated shock-absorption system, which effectively protects the rotor bearing against impacts and vibrations. Before an IWC movement earns the right to be called “shock-resistant”, it undergoes a daunting series of tests lasting weeks, during which all the parts are subjected to forces of up to 5000 g (the unit used to measure the earth’s gravitational pull). The watch is thus well equipped to withstand the breathtaking acceleration of the current SLS AMG Coupé Black Series: from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds.
A glance through the transparent sapphire-glass back at the watch’s precision “high-performance engine” reveals a movement with Pellaton winding, 44-hour power reserve and blackened rotor, underscoring the watch’s technical appeal. Geneva stripes and circular graining adorn the bridges and parts of the bottom plate. The rubber strap with its calfskin or alligator leather inlay combines the attraction of a genuine eye-catcher with the wearability and durability of rubber.
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