IWC unveils a quartet of 40mm Ingenieur Automatic 40s that pay tribute to Gerald Genta’s 1970s masterpiece. The watches are a 21st century update that continue the tradition of a sleek sporty watch with antimagnetic and waterproof prowess.
It almost seems like a bit of a cliché now when discussing integrated bracelet sports watches to always mention Gerald Genta. But, if the cap fits and all that. Genta truly was the godfather of this genre that is, as I’ve written about quite a lot over the past couple of years, a hot area for collectors. The Ingenieur story actually begins back in the mid-1950s, when it was produced as an antimagnetic watch intended for scientists. In the 1970s, however, with the advent of quartz watches, which were pretty much immune to magnetic forces and recovered straight away once exposure to the magnetic force was over, scientists and other people who might experience such elements could buy a cheap quartz watch and not be too troubled. However, IWC was convinced that the Ingenieur could still be relevant and asked Genta to give it a makeover.
The resulting watch, the Ingenieur SL reference 1832, whilst being part of the tribe of integrated bracelet sports watches of the era, very much had its own character and vibe. The bezel was flat and had five rivets and was a good size at 40mm. The dial had a basket-weave, waffle-esque look that added to the watch’s anti-magnetic properties. Like other watches of the era, the reference 1832 is known as the Jumbo and is thought to exist in only around 1000 examples.
Maybe the biggest change, and an aesthetically important one for those with a touch of OCD, is the bezel on the Automatic 40. The original’s bezel featured five recesses that screwed onto the midcase, meaning that the screws were never in the same place on different watches, unless by chance. Think of it like the logo on a winding crown never lining up with the case when fully screwed down, unless by fluke. The new watch’s bezel has five screws that actually affix the bezel to the case, having both an important technical and aesthetic role.
The dial also takes its lead from its 1970s forefather, with lines offset at 90 degrees that are stamped into the iron dial and then the dial is galvanised. This gives lovely structure to the dial, which itself is key to the watch’s antimagnetic properties. The three steel references have different dials, including black, silver-plated and aqua. The titanium model has a grey dial and black hands that accentuate the matte grey look of the watch, according to IWC.
Driving all four references is IWC’s in-house caliber 32111. The movement has an automatic pawl winding system and boasts an impressive 120-hour power reserve. The movement is housed in a soft iron inner case, that combined with the dial, gives the watch is anti-magnetic ability.
The new Ingenieur Automatic 40s take all of the styling cues of the SL and presents them in a delightful homage that will undoubtedly lead to some pretty impressive sell-outs and waiting lists. Forget that the market is telling that modern watches are softening. This will be a smash hit have no doubt. SO go on, get on the phone to your AD, there will be queue!
IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40
References: IW328901 (steel black dial) IW328902 (steel silver dial) IW328903 (steel aqua dial) IW328904 (titanium gey dial)
Movement: IWX 32111 automatic movement with 120 hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date.
Case: 40mm stainless steel or titanium
Dial: Black, silver plated or aqua for steel and grey for titanium.
Strap: Integrated steel or titanium bracelet with butterfly clasp.