Date — 20 January, 2014
Charles Darwin wrote that the species with the best chances of survival are those that are most ready to adapt. Seen in this light, the prospects of success for the new Aquatimer Chronograph and the new Aquatimer Automatic from IWC Schaffhausen are very promising. Because compared with their predecessors, they have undergone a visible process of development; not only are they more elegant but also have considerably higher pressure-resistance.
On the steep, rocky coastline, where the glittering silver Pacific meets the jet-black igneous rock and the amphibious iguanas bask in the sunshine: here, at this rough interface of evolution, is where the Galapagos Islands are at their most typical. This coming-together of the elements inspired IWC’s designers to create the stylish black-and silver combination in the new Aquatimer Chronograph (Ref. IW376801/IW376802/IW376803/IW376804) and the new Aquatimer Automatic (Ref. IW329001/IW329002/IW329003/IW329004). The timepieces are available with black or silver-plated dials in four different versions, with a black rubber strap or stainless-steel bracelet. The purist dial design and the quarter-hour scale on the internal rotating bezel reference the first Aquatimer released in 1967. The slim, chamfered shape of the external bezel with its gently rounded and recessed grips, on the other hand, was inspired by the legendary Porsche design of the Ocean 2000 of 1982. The new external/internal 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 contribute to the watch’s premium-quality appearance. The choice of more discreet colours and shapes makes the 2014 Aquatimers equally suitable for diving or an expedition to the Galapagos as they are for a business meeting.
The new external/internal rotating bezel gives the current Aquatimer collection overall a more sophisticated look and feel.
From a technical point of view, the newly developed external/internal rotating bezel represents a remarkable leap forward in the evolution of IWC diver’s watches. For almost half a century, Aquatimers from Schaffhausen were fitted with either an internal rotating bezel or an external rotating bezel .And there were sound arguments in favour of both. One of the central functions of a diver’s watch is to allow you to see at a glance how long you have already been underwater, and to calculate simply how long your store of compressed air in the tank will last. To facilitate this, the triangle marking the start of the dive, the zero point, is synchronized with the minute hand. From now on, elapsed dive time can be read off precisely on the scale. On the internal rotating bezel found in earlier models, the zero point was set with the help of a second crown at “4 o’clock”: it was thus virtually impossible to move the bezel inadvertently. In addition, the luminescent coating beneath the front glass is perfectly protected against dirt and scratches. On the downside, a crown is not as easy to set as an external rotating bezel. IWC’s technicians therefore opted for an external bezel, which, for safety reasons, could only be rotated anticlockwise. This means that if a diver moves the bezel accidentally, he can only conclude that he has been underwater too long and should soon return to the surface: an annoyance, certainly, but harmless. The new external/internal rotating bezel with the IWC SafeDive system in the 2014 Aquatimer collection combines ease of use with safety. The rotation of the external bezel is transmitted via a patent-registered sliding clutch system to the rotating
bezel with a triangular index and dive time scale on the inside of the case.
In both watches, the increase in pressure-resistance from 12 bar to 30 bar provides a greater degree of safety when diving to great depths. Ticking away inside the 44-millimetre stainless-steel case of the Aquatimer Chronograph is the robust 79320-calibre chronograph movement with a 44-hour power reserve. It enables stop times and aggregate timing up to 12 hours and is a reliable companion even on long dives. Even in a redundant system, divers appreciate an ongoing indication that everything is functioning normally. In the chronograph, this job is handled by the permanently rotating seconds hand in the subdial at “9 o’clock”. Despite the three subdials and a day and date display, the dial is remarkably uncluttered.
With a case measuring 42 millimetres in diameter, the Aquatimer Automatic is the smallest member of the IWC diver’s watch family, and is powered by the 30120 calibre. In the models with the black dial, the displays relevant to the dive have a green luminescent coating. The three-handed watch with the silver-plated dial is particularly elegant. By daylight, the colour of the inset luminescent coating appears more discreet. In darkness and poor visibility conditions, the multiple coats of Super-LumiNova®* glow in two colours and guarantee excellent legibility.
Another extremely safe and practical feature is the new, patented IWC bracelet quick-change system for the 2014 Aquatimer generation, with which both models are equipped. It takes the hard work out of swapping from a stainless-steel bracelet to a rubber strap and vice versa. All the new Aquatimer wristbands are compatible with each other.
*IWC Schaffhausen is not the owner of the Super-LumiNova® trademark.
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