TITANIUM ALUMINIDE – A MATERIAL USED IN MOTORSPORT
When it comes to the use of state-of-the-art high-tech materials, the competition in both watchmaking and motor racing is fierce. For the first time ever, IWC Schaffhausen unveils a watch case made of titanium aluminide (TiAl) and underscores its passion for innovative solutions. IWC discovered the use of titanium for the watch industry as a case material as early as 1980. In motor racing, titanium aluminide is used for pistons and valves: this is because the alloy is lighter and tougher than pure titanium and very well suited to the extreme temperatures generated in the combustion chamber. Machining this high-performance material for case blanks is a major technological challenge. A team of specialists at IWC worked on it for 3 years until they mastered the process to perfection. Push-buttons, screw heads and the crown and its protective shoulders on the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month are made of black high-tech ceramic (zirconium oxide). IWC was also the first watch manufacturer to use this antimagnetic, acid-resistant and scratch-resistant material for a case – that of the Da Vinci Ceramic (Ref. 3755) – back in 1986. Composites using ceramics have established themselves for the use of brake discs in Formula One™ because of their resistance to heat and to mechanical wear and tear. The combination of titanium aluminide and ceramicin the case is not only an indication of IWC’s engineering prowess but also of the special affinity between the Ingenieurwatches and motor racing.
QUICK-ACTION SWITCH DELIVERS MAXIMUM POWER
When a Formula One™ driver needs more power, he simply presses the hybrid boost button on the steering wheel to unleash all his engine’s potential. At the end of the year, the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is called upon to advance two date and two month display discs as well as the leap year disc. Unfortunately, it cannot simply push a boost button. Mastering the technological challenge presented here took a team of Iwc Ingenieur Preis Replica watchmakersand design engineers no less than 4 years. They developed a mechanism to store the energy separately: a quick-action switch, as it is known. Every night, when the date display advances, this sophisticated mechanism siphons off a little of the energy, stores it and then discharges it precisely at the end of the month. At the end of the year, five display discs – including the one for the digital leap year display – have to be advanced simultaneously. Needless to say, this must have no effect on the watch’s accuracy, even if the tension in the mainspring is almost exhausted or if the chronograph is also activated at the same time.
The innovative “watch-within-a-watch” was designed for the rapid, intuitive display of stop times between a minute and 12 hours. While stop times up to 60 seconds are shown conventionally by the central chronograph hand, the hours and minutes recorded by the stopwatch can be read off on the totalizer at “12 o’clock” as easily as reading the time on an analogue display. The integrated flyback function allows wearers to return the running stopwatch hand to zero and to start another timing sequence immediately. To turn this practical chronograph function into reality, the design engineers equipped the IWC-manufactured 89802 calibre with a particularly efficient automatic double-pawl winding system. The movement consists of 474 individual parts and can build up a power reserve of 68 hours. As an acknowledgement of IWC’s involvement with motor racing in 2013, the rotor takes the shape of a wheel rim and can be seen through the transparent sapphire-glass back on the reverse side of the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. The attractive black rubber strap with textile inlay ensures that the watch is extremely comfortable to wear and has a long service life.
Mechanical chronograph movement – Stopwatch function with hours, minutes and seconds – Hour and minutecounters combined in a totalizer at 12 o’clock – Flyback function – Small hacking seconds – Perpetual calendar – Large double-digit displays for both the date and the month – Leap year display – Screw-in crown – See-through sapphire-glass back – Rotor in the shape of a wheel rim
Frequency 28,800 A/h / 4 Hz
Due to our buddies at IWC, I had been lucky to get my hands on one of their very first pieces available to examine in the USA. As I attended events with it within the past few weeks, it received lots of attention from fellow watch journos and enthusiasts alike. The design was praised– and many agreed it was the highlight of this new Ingenieur collection. Although the price/movement discussion came up often, most agreed that the value proposition weighed heavily in its favor. I know I don’t speak for just myself when I say we’d all love to see a version with an in-house motion in the not too distant future, but are scared of what the price tag might look like on a single. Right now this is actually the sole “re-edition” 70’s Genta masterpiece available fresh for under (and in this instance, well below) $15K, which makes it a real bargain.Despite its value, the greatest appeal of the new 3239 Ingenieur for me is completely in its design. As a lover of Genta’s classic design speech, I’m impressed with the sincerity of this homage. Modern flourishes from the hands and dial do not detract from the vintage styling, and the bit wears quite comfortably on the wrist. As with everything IWC is setting out, the finish and fit are spectacular. Ultimately that is a winner of a timepiece, along with a suitable successor to the timeless Ingenieur SL. Price is $6,600. The IWC Ingenieur mention 3239 I review here was introduced in 2013, IWC’s year of the Ingenieur. You need to understand that IWC is restyling an whole collection, each year, to keep it fresh and up-to-date. In 2013, IWC introduced quite a few new Ingenieur models. From a simple straight-forward stainless steel model to a carbon version and a platinum model with endless calendar.
Power reserve 68 h
Materials case in titanium aluminide, black dial with sapphire-glass inlays, black rubber strap with textile inlay, pin buckle in titanium Glass sapphire, flat, antireflective coating on both sides
Water-resistant 12 bar
Diameter 46 mm
Case height 17 mm