The first Ingenieur (Ref. 666), a simple watch with three hands, raised the bar with its minimalist design, which IWC continued to refine from 1967 with the Reference 866. “The new collection is very much inspired by these early Ingenieurmodels, so the watch family is definitely going back to its roots. The influence is clear to see in the simple round case as well as in the dial with its striking hands and indices with luminescent elements,” explains Christoph Grainger-Herr, the new CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. The Ingenieur family now has a striking vintage character while keeping a lighter and more elegant appearance. The new collection covers a lot of bases with three automatic models, four IWC-manufactured chronographs and a limited-edition reference with perpetual calendar.
The Ingenieur Automatic (Ref. IW357001/IW357002/ IW357003) is a simple watch with three hands, a date window at 3 o’clock and a 40 mm case. Three versions are available. Two of the models feature a stainless-steel case and rhodium-plated hands and indices. The first one (Ref. IW357001) has a silver-plated dial and a black alligator leather strap, and the second one (Ref. IW357002) has a black dial and a stainless-steel strap. The third version is the Reference IW357003, which has an 18-carat red gold case, a silver-plated dial, gold-plated hands and a black alligator leather strap.
The Ingenieur Chronograph (Ref. IW380801/IW380802/ IW380803) houses the new IWC-manufactured 69375 calibre with a bidirectional pawl-winding system, which has a power reserve of 46 hours. Two of the versions are avail¬able with a stainless-steel case and strap: one features a silver-plated dial and gold-plated hands (Ref. IW380801), while the other has a blue dial and rhodium-plated hands (Ref. IW380802). The stainless-steel strap has been newly developed especially for the Ingenieur. It is comfortable to wear and has a fine-adjustment clasp inte¬grated into the buckle. The third version comes in 18-caratred gold with a slate-coloured dial, gold-plated hands and a black alligator leather strap (Ref. IW380803). All these watches feature a see-through sapphire back that provides a view of the 69375 calibre.
The Ingenieur Chronograph Sport (Ref. IW380901) is driven by the IWC-manufactured 89361 calibre and is limited to 500 watches. The 44 mm titanium case, black dial and black calfskin strap create an overall impression of sporty elegance. The small seconds hand in the shape of a lightning bolt at 6 o’clock is a reminder that a soft-iron cage protects the movement against the negative influence of magnetic fields.
Due to our friends at IWC, I was lucky to get my hands on a few of their very first pieces available to examine in the USA. As I attended events with it over the last couple of weeks, it received lots of attention from fellow watch journos and enthusiasts alike. The design was praised– and many agreed that it had been the highlight of this new Ingenieur collection. Even though the price/movement discussion came up often, most agreed that the value proposal weighed heavily in its favour. I know I do not speak for myself when I say we would all love to find a version with an in-house movement in the near future, but are scared of what the price tag might seem like on one. Right now this is the sole “re-edition” 70’s Genta masterpiece available fresh for below (and in this instance, well under) $15K, making it a true bargain.Despite its value, the greatest appeal of this new 3239 Ingenieur for me personally is entirely in its layout. As a fan of Genta’s classic design speech, I am impressed with the sincerity of this homage. Modern flourishes from the dial and hands don’t detract from the vintage styling, and also the piece wears quite comfortably on the wrist. Much like everything IWC is putting out, the finish and fit are magnificent. Finally this is a winner of a timepiece, along with a suitable successor to the classic Ingenieur SL. The IWC Ingenieur mention 3239 that I review here was introduced in 2013, IWC’s year of this Ingenieur. You have to understand that IWC is restyling an whole collection, every year, to keep it up-to-date and fresh. So in 2013, IWC introduced quite a few new Ingenieur versions. From a simple straight-forward stainless steel model to a carbon version and a platinum model with endless calendar.
The top-of-the-range model is the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW381701). The per¬petual calendar automatically recognizes the different lengths of the months, including the leap day occurring every four years. It is extremely easy and convenient to ad¬just using the crown. The IWC-manufactured 89800 calibre also features a chronograph function. The timepiece with a 45 mm 18-carat red gold case, silver-plated dial, black hands and black alligator leather strap is limited to 100 watches.