At Long Last, IWC Drops A New Ingenieur Collection
IWC just released a brand-new collection of Ingenieur sports watches with integrated bracelets. This is an iconic form factor in the brand’s rich history, so a return to the stage makes a great deal of sense. For Watches and Wonders 2023, IWC finally delivered the long-awaited successor to the model that debuted in 1955 — or, more accurately, to Gérald Genta’s 1976 redesign of the Ingenieur. This new collection follows the sports-watch template that Genta set in the 1970s.
We get a total of four new IWC Ingenieur references, three in steel and one in Grade 5 titanium. The steel model comes in black (IW328901), silver (IW328902), and aqua/Petronas (IW328903) dial variants. The titanium model (IW328904) has a slightly darker gray dial.
IWC Ingenieur — Historical perspective
IWC released the Ingenieur in 1955. For the debut model, the brand took a relatively traditional watch design and made it resistant to magnetism. Antimagnetic materials were used in the movement, and a soft iron Faraday cage was built around it. This consisted of a soft iron plate under the dial as well as a full ring around the movement and a plate on the back. The result was a watch that was exceptionally insensitive to magnetic fields. Therefore, it was deemed perfect for engineers, scientists, doctors, and so on, hence the name Ingenieur.
Perhaps the most iconic version was the ref. 666, which is now highly collectible. It looks nothing like today’s release, however. The template for the new Ingenieur was set in the 1970s. None other than Gérald Genta was tasked with a redesign of the Ingenieur in 1976. He gave the watch a sporty new integrated-bracelet design and labeled it Ingenieur SL (Steel Line). It is safe to say, then, that the Ingenieur belongs in the list of OGs in this genre, alongside the Royal Oak and the Nautilus.
The Ingenieur received another refresh in 2005 when IWC introduced more aggressive styling and a new caliber. This line met its end in 2017 in favor of a lineup of pre-Genta-style non-integrated-bracelet Ingenieurs. Those made up the entire Ingenieur collection until today. With all the hype surrounding the genre, it was only a matter of time before the Genta style would return. I am happy to share that it has today.
The new IWC Ingenieur design
This new Ingenieur very clearly builds upon that original Genta DNA. The new watches are quite faithful to their forebears, which is a good thing. IWC has taken a careful and conservative approach to finding a new but familiar look. One thing that immediately jumps out to me is the elegance of the new version. Compared to the old ref. 3227, it feels a lot more refined and subtle. It dials down the brutalist vibes just enough to be significantly more versatile as an everyday watch.
The new model still has the characteristic five holes in the bezel. This time, however, they are fitted with screws, ensuring perfect alignment at all times. Don’t fret that the rugged aesthetics have gone completely down the drain, though. The new model has some beefy crown guards to emphasize that this is still very much a sports watch.
The dials feature a rather pronounced striped/checkerboard pattern stamped into the metal. It provides a deep texture, but I am sure it will divide opinions among prospected buyers. It is, however, in keeping with the technical vibe of the Ingenieur line. A more straightforward glossy or matte dial would perhaps be a bit too dainty for an IWC Ingenieur.
New Ingenieur specs
The new Ingenieur comes in one size — 40mm. This is right on trend and, commercially, the best size that IWC could have picked. Most fans of smaller watches can live with a 40mm sports watch. Equally, fans of larger watches might see a sub-40mm size as a no-go, but they can live with 40. This is, in my eyes, the safest bet in today’s market. I have had a chance to try the new Ingenieur on my 17cm (6.7″) wrist. I am happy to report that it has a great fit and stance, even on my smallish forearms. The 10.8mm thickness and 45.7mm lug-to-lug are excellent too.
Inside, we find IWC’s caliber 32111. This is IWC’s version of a Richemont group caliber with a 120-hour power reserve, 28,800vph beat rate, central seconds, and a date at 3 o’clock. The accuracy has not been specified at this point, but it is, of course, housed in a soft iron cage.
The new Ingenieur features a screw-down crown and a water resistance rating of 10 ATM. The new bracelet no longer features micro-adjustments, unfortunately. The aqua version has polished center links, whereas the black and white versions are fitted with brushed center links for a more subdued aesthetic. The Grade 5 titanium model has a largely media-blasted finish. Combined with the black hands and indices, it gives the titanium model a very cool, ominous look.
I was happily surprised when I saw the first images of the new Ingenieur. I really like the slightly subtler and more refined aesthetic. It is equally great to see IWC sticking to Genta’s original design language without becoming lazy. There is always a fine balance to strike when reintroducing a brand hero. I feel that IWC has more than succeeded here from a design perspective.
Some details, like the crown, the brushing, and the chamfering on the case, felt ever so slightly subpar for this segment. The bracelet did not feel as rock-solid to me as some of the competition. And let’s face it, this is a highly competitive segment.
My pick of the four would be the titanium model. I really like the darker tone paired with the media-blasted surfaces. We will surely spend some more time handling these new IWC Ingenieurs soon, so stay tuned for a more elaborate report.
Pricing and availability
The steel models (black: IW328901, silver: IW328902, and aqua: IW328903) are priced at €12,900. The titanium model (IW328904) comes in at €16,100. All will be available soon through select IWC boutiques. The watches are covered by a two-year warranty, which can be extended to six years by registering for the My IWC Care Program. For more information, visit the official IWC website.
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