IWC has released three limited editions of the Ingenieur, which usher in some potentially exciting changes
The watches were shown at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, a get-together for motorsport enthusiasts held every year, for which IWC is the official timing partner. It is also associated thanks to its tie-in with Mercedes AMG; several vintage F1 cars were shipped over by the brand for the Meeting.
Holding pride of place among the three new watches is a “74th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood” special edition Ingenieur which, aside from being something of a mouthful, is a red gold, 42mm chronograph, limited to just 74 pieces. It is accompanied by the IWC “Rudolf Caracciola” Ingenieur special edition, a stainless steel chrono limited to 750 pieces, and named in honour of the 1930s racing driver, and the IWC “W125” Ingenieur limited edition, cased in titanium and named for the Silver Arrows car driven by Caracciola, also limited to 750 pieces.
While normally the release of three limited edition watches at exactly the same time as Baselworld would have been likely to sink without trace, these new Ingenieurs have more to them than their rarity; most likely, they indicate the direction the Ingenieur (and possibly other IWC chronographs) will take in the next few years.
As can not have escaped your attention by now, they are nice and round, for a start, with tapered lugs. This marks a return to a more classic aesthetic for the Ingenieur, departing from the current range’s chunky, integrated design. They’re also smaller than the current-gen Ingenieur chronos, at 42mm instead of 45mm. That’s because they house a new in-house chronograph movement from IWC, calibre 69370.
This is the first movement from the forthcoming 69000 family, a new generation of chronograph tractor movements that has been developed over the past few years by IWC. We don’t know everything about cal. 69370 yet: we can tell you that it’s an automatic chronograph movement with a 46-hour power reserve, beating at 4Hz. It’s not a flyback or split-seconds (as other chronographs in the current Ingenieur family are) – but a good old base chronograph that IWC will introduce in other families as and when the time is right.
In the January 2015 issue of QP we wrote about the relaunch of the Portugieser range, and the introduction with it of the calibre 52000 family of movements. That was the first of three new movement families to be created under IWC as it seeks to reduce – or eliminate entirely – its reliance on ETA ebauches, which are used in the time-only Ingenieur, Pilot’s and Aquatimer watches.
The 69000 movements will be stage two of this project, with a set of calibres designated 42000 set to follow; the 69000 family will all be chronograph movements, while we understand the 42000 series will have just time and date functions. Whether the 69000 chronographs will eventually replace the 89000 family (which house the more advanced flyback and split-seconds chronos) remains to be seen.
For now, we would venture to guess that the Caracciola and W125 models in particular may hold some hints to a potential January 2017 redesign of the Ingenieur – returning us to a more classic style (as the Pilot’s range did this year) with round cases and more traditional pushers, as well as a 3-6-9 dial layout in favour of the current 12-6 chrono display. All three new watches come with quilted calfskin leather straps, hacking seconds, sapphire casebacks and a date display at 3 o’clock.