Here is a short review of my Ingenieur ref.3227 after exactly 3 months of ownership.
I don’t think it’s necessary to give background information on this watch, as I have done this in the past (here and here) and you can read all about the vintage Ingenieurs (including the 1976s SL) on this page by Larry Seiden, Marco Schoenenberger and David ter Molen.
Although this purchase might seemed as an impulse three months ago, I always had a weak spot for the IWC Ingenieur. The packaging and the manuals that come with this watch are very nice. The black box with its leather interior keeps the watch in place perfectly. However, who is going to use it anyway once you put the watch around your wrist? The watch comes with two small bits that need to be used for removing and adding links or the whole bracelet of course. The system of adding and removing links and/or the entire bracelet is a piece of cake with the nice spring-system on the backside of the bracelet. You have to press the small button in the middle of the link with one of the included tools and with the other tool you press/drive the pin out of the link (from the side). Of course, you still need to be careful to prevent some serious scratches on the watch. Due to the satin finish, this watch is unfortunately a scratch magnet.
Although the weight of this watch is incredible, the watch does wear very comfortable. However, I realise that this is something very personal. I have a rather ‘flat’ wrist and I do know that some people with a little ‘bump’ at the end of their wrist might feel the watch a bit too much at the end of the day (right Monochrome?). Right now, I wear the watch on an IWC soft strap with an IWC buckle. This perhaps helps the bumpy people out. The soft strap was initially made for the AMG versions of the Ingenieur, but it will fit the regular Ingenieur perfectly. I also informed over at ABP-Paris(custom made straps from France) for a customized leather strap for the Ingenieur, but at that time, they didn’t have a sample of the watch to base their strap on. I would love to have an alligator strap for my Ingenieur as you’ll find it on the Big Ingenieur (ref.5005). Perhaps they will have the possibility to make one in the future.
In comparison to my other favorite watches, sports Rolexes, the Ingenieur wins big time when it comes to the bracelet. Although I really love my sport Rolexes and don’t have anything against their bracelets, the clasp and the ‘solid’ feel of the IWC bracelet is superior. However, my Rolex bracelets and clasps never failed on me. So perhaps the flimsy feel does not represent the quality of the bracelet.
The Ingenieur is a watch for the people that enjoy the 1970s stainless steel luxury watch that Gerald Genta designed. To put it in other words: you either love it or hate it. There is nothing much in between. The out spoken design is not loved by many, so don’t expect a lot of ooohs and aaahs from people that are not into watches the same level you are. As Gerard Nijenbrinks put it in an older blog posting here, ‘these are watches which you don’t like at first glance; you have to grow into them’. He was talking about the Vacheron Constantin 222/Overseas, PP Nautilus and AP Royal Oak Jumbo, but I feel that this comment also goes for the IWC Ingenieur SL and the modern versions like mine.
The movement inside the Ingenieur is IWC’s in house caliber 80110. A common misunderstanding seems to be that this movement is based on ETA/Valjoux 7750. It’s not. As ‘Vorollo’ put it on the IWC forum over at TimeZone: “The original target was to get a highly robust, easy to service and maintain movement which plays in the same “durability-field” as e.g. the Rolex 3135 and the new JLC calibers 972/975/977 etc. Following this target, IWC decided to choose the proven 7750-base as a source of inspiration. Therefore, the 80110 became a mixture of the strengths of the solid 7750-construction and the legendary IWC pellaton winding system, accompanied by IWC’s general quality standards and production knowledge.” So, the 7750 was used as a ‘source’ of inspiration. That’s fine by me, because that is a solid movement that has been around for some time now. The famous 7750 ‘wobble’ is not present with IWC caliber 80110, that would probably have kept me from buying it if it was the case. Another fact is that no components between 7750 and 80110 are replaceable/interchangeable.
As I already wrote, up to this day I am not very satisfied with its accuracy. Luckily, I don’t have to rely on a accurate watch, but it can get annoying if you have to adjust your mechanical watch a bit too often. However, I do love the craftsmanship on the movement. As you can see below in the picture made by Ivy Goodlett, it is really a beauty.
Another neat feature of this watch, and that’s why it is being called ‘Ingenieur’, is that it is protected against highly magnetic sources. Is this of any use during my ‘daily operations’? As KronosBlog wrote “If you have a boring life and enjoy good health, by that I mean; no travel, no court visits (Fratello: think metal detectors) and no trips to hospitals close to magnetic scanners, then you should be alright”. Anyway, KronosBlog also mentions that perhaps the real additional value for the average Joe (with all due respect) is the fact that it also protects the inner workings of the watch against (LARGE) speakers belonging to a powerful HiFi system or kitchens featuring induction cooking. If you don’t have a watch like the Ingenieur (or for example the Rolex Milgauss) with protection against magnetic sources, put away the watch before you start making that schnitzel in your inducton kitchen.
To sum things up, this watch gets a lot of wrist time. The large stainless steel case and heavy bracelet make it a watch that seems to be suited for casual wear. However, the watch goes very well with a suit as well. This watch is quite versatile and blends in perfectly with almost every occasion. A business meeting, making espresso on a sunday morning or a holiday. It doesn’t matter. It works for me in all cases.
Yeah I know, the advertizement is for the Big Ingenieur 😉