Date — 21 January, 2013
The Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month comes with a large date display, a sporty design and a case made of titanium aluminide. Like the hybrid boost button on the steering wheel of a Formula One™ car, its quick-action switch supplies maximum power precisely when it is needed at the end of the month.
The sight of an original MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS steering wheel is intriguing – and not only for motorsport fans. Dozens of displays, levers and buttons are arranged in the tiniest of spaces. At first sight rather confusing, they are so clear to the driver that he can operate them intuitively, even at speeds of up to 300 kph. The instrument look was the source of inspiration for the designers and engineers at IWC when they created the new Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW379201). The black-and-white dial looks every bit as complex as a Formula One™ steering wheel. Four totalizers are grouped around the central axis, dominated by the oversized numerals in the perpetual calendar, which shows the date and month on a large digital display. The perpetual calendar is one of the most impressive mechanisms ever invented by IWC Schaffhausen. The angular numerals underscore the technological aspects of the chronograph. Cut-out sections in the middle of the subdials reveal the arbors of the sophisticated disc mechanism. The 4-year leap year cycle is also shown digitally. On top of this, there is another new feature in the design of the perpetual calendar: the dial has semi-transparent sapphire-glass inlays over the date, month and leap year discs, which enable the wearer to observe the complex interplay of the discs as they advance. On New Year’s Eve, the five displays begin to move simultaneously. It is a complex technological feat that no lover of mechanical complications will want to miss. The perpetual calendar is mechanically programmed to take the 29th day of February into account every 4 years. Only on 1 March 2100 will it require intervention by a watchmaker, because that year breaks with the conventional 4-year cycle and will not be a leap year. Despite its complicated mechanism, the perpetual calendar can be set easily using the crown.
The perpetual calendar is one of the most impressive mechanisms ever invented by IWC Schaffhausen.
When it comes to the use of state-of-the-art high-tech materials, the competition in both watchmaking and motor racing is fierce. For the first time ever, IWC Schaffhausen unveils a watch case made of titanium aluminide (TiAl) and underscores its passion for innovative solutions. IWC discovered the use of titanium for the watch industry as a case material as early as 1980. In motor racing, titanium aluminide is used for pistons and valves: this is because the alloy is lighter and tougher than pure titanium and very well suited to the extreme temperatures generated in the combustion chamber. Machining this high-performance material for case blanks is a major technological challenge. A team of specialists at IWC worked on it for 3 years until they mastered the process to perfection. Push-buttons, screw heads and the crown and its protective shoulders on the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month are made of black high-tech ceramic (zirconium oxide). IWC was also the first watch manufacturer to use this anti-magnetic, acid-resistant and scratch-resistant material for a case – that of the Da Vinci Ceramic (Ref. 3755) – back in 1986. Composites using ceramics have established themselves for the use of brake discs in Formula One™ because of their resistance to heat and to mechanical wear and tear. The combination of titanium aluminide and ceramic in the case is not only an indication of IWC’s engineering prowess but also of the special affinity between the Ingenieur watches and motor racing.
When a Formula One™ driver needs more power, he simply presses the hybrid boost button on the steering wheel to unleash all his engine’s potential. At the end of the year, the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is called upon to advance two date and two month display discs as well as the leap year disc. Unfortunately, it cannot simply push a boost button. Mastering the technological challenge presented here took a team of IWC watchmakers and design engineers no less than 4 years. They developed a mechanism to store the energy separately: a quick-action switch, as it is known. Every night, when the date display advances, this sophisticated mechanism siphons off a little of the energy, stores it and then discharges it precisely at the end of the month. At the end of the year, five display discs – including the one for the digital leap year display – have to be advanced simultaneously. Needless to say, this must have no effect on the watch’s accuracy, even if the tension in the mainspring is almost exhausted or if the chronograph is also activated at the same time.
The innovative “watch-within-a-watch” was designed for the rapid, intuitive display of stop times between a minute and 12 hours. While stop times up to 60 seconds are shown conventionally by the central chronograph hand, the hours and minutes recorded by the stopwatch can be read off on the totalizer at “12 o’clock” as easily as reading the time on an analogue display. The integrated flyback function allows wearers to return the running stopwatch hand to zero and to start another timing sequence immediately. To turn this practical chronograph function into reality, the design engineers equipped the IWC-manufactured 89802 calibre with a particularly efficient automatic double-pawl winding system. The movement consists of 474 individual parts and can build up a power reserve of 68 hours. As an acknowledgement of IWC’s involvement with motor racing in 2013, the rotor takes the shape of a wheel rim and can be seen through the transparent sapphire-glass back on the reverse side of the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. The attractive black rubber strap with alligator leather inlay ensures that the watch is extremely comfortable to wear and has a long service life.
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