There wonât be manyÂ Replica Watches UK released this year that take their design cues from a piece launched in the early 1980s, much less whole collections. That thought in mind, IWCâs decision to ingrain its latest line-up with the look of a model launched in the decade that traditional watchmaking forgot is a bold one.
But for all that the early 1980s are remembered by theÂ Omega Replica watches industry rather as you would the feeling of falling off a bike as a child, the decision stacks up. The 80s model in question is Ferdinand A. Porscheâs Ocean 2000, a piece penned for IWC in 1982 thatâs become a collectorâs forum favourite for its gritty aesthetic and the Teutonic efficiency of its form.
IWCÂ Replica Watches booth at the SIHH 2014.
ÂŠ MichĂ¨le Brunner
The news is that itâs those same qualities that come to the fore in the brandâs new Aquatimer collection, launched this week at SIHH. Now, prepare yourselves â this is not IWCâs prettiestÂ Replica Watches family. Not by far. But then it never has been. And on speaking to Christian Knoop, IWCâs creative director and the brains behind the new concept, you quickly get the impression thatâs sort of the point anyway.
âWe had two main objectives when we were thinking about relaunching the family,â says Knoop. âOn the one hand, we wanted to bring more manufacture Manufacture movements to the Aquatimer line, and on the other we wanted to upgrade the line in terms of function and aesthetics, and to find something that would give it an IWC USP.â
That USP is not in decoration or mechanical innovation. And certainly not in prettiness. Instead, itâs it lies in a novel, ingenious system found in each of the new Aquatimer models that allows the user to adjust the watchâs inner rotating bezel by turning its outer bezel.
âIWC is known for an inner rotating bezel,â says Knoop. âThe first diverâs watch we launched in 1967 had an inner rotating bezel, which was operated with a second crown. This became the signature element for IWC diving Replica Breitling watches for many decades.â
The exceptions to this rule, he points out, were the GST of the 1990s and the previous Aquatimer collection, which broke with IWC convention by featuring an outer rotating bezel.
âWeâre taking the best from both worlds and creating a new technical function, for which weâve filed a patent,â he says of the system, which is known as SafeDive. âThis delivers exceptional functionality, but also a very particular aesthetic, which sets our watch range apart from the rest of the market.â
The gearing system behind the function is tucked away under a covering that sits on the case at 9 oâclock (which has been mistaken for a second crown or a helium valve by some early theorists â it isnât), except on the 46mm titanium Deep Three, where itâs been rotated to 4 oâclock to balance the design, which includes a depth gauge reset button at 2 oâclock.
The SafeDiveâs outer bezel rotates in both directions, but only engages with the inner bezel when turned anti-clockwise, ensuring the usual dive-time securities provided by a traditional uni-directional turning bezel.
Aesthetically, the bezel is the spit of the design featured on the Ocean 2000. Knoop has said before that he feels itâs his responsibility as the current custodian of the IWC look to keep one eye on the brandâs heritage and one on its future, and here heâs been faithful both to the history books and to his own mantra.
There are nine different models in the new line-up (an increase on the five launched in 2009), some of which have to be seen to be believed. Chief among those is the flagship Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month, a 49mm hunk of titanium thatâs both an elite expression of haute horlogerie and a utilitarian tool capable of keeping track of the inconsistencies of the Gregorian calendar while 120 metres underwater. For those questioning the logic behind the combination, Knoop describes this piece as a collectorâs item â only 50 will be made.
Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month
As Just as collectable, you would imagine, will be the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition âExpedition Charles Darwinâ, which is cast in bronze, a material IWC is using for the first time.
Given its organic qualities â ie that itâs soft and oxidises quickly, changing colour and developing a patina in a surprisingly short amount of time â it might come as a surprise to some that IWC, a brand normally associated with words like precision and engineering, has embraced bronze. âThe way bronze ages over time brings a new dimension to the range of materials we offer,â says Knoop. âAnd I believe people will appreciate that.â
Itâs no ordinary bronze, though. According to Knoop, IWC has sourced a rare bronze alloy thatâs â50 per cent harder than the materials our competitors are usingâ. Exact details remain under wraps, but itâs certified biocompatible and hypoallergenic.
Links to Darwin feature in two further models, both of which will support the Charles Darwin Foundationâs work on the Galapagos Islands, a partnership IWC have fostered since the launch of the last Aquatimer collection in 2009.
The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition â50 Years Science for Galapagosâ has been made to mark the 50th anniversary of the Charles Darwin Research Station and is limited to 500 pieces. Itâs coated in rubber, as is the non-limited Aquatimer Chronograph Edition âGalapagos Islandsâ. All three feature IWCâs in-house 89365 chronograph calibre.
IWCâs relationship with the Cousteau Society now dates back 10 years and two Aquatimer collections. The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition âExpedition Jacques-Yves Cousteauâ continues the tradition ofÂ Fake Watches celebrating the great marine conservationistâs life.
Aquatimer IW376805 Chronograph Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Beyond these, there are core collection chronograph and automatic models, the latter of which will be the smallest in the range at 42mm. The 46mm Grade 5 titanium Aquatimer Automatic 2000 completes the set â as the name suggests, itâs water-resistant to an impressive (but unnecessary) 2,000 metres. Note the use of titanium in the collection â IWC (together with Porsche) pioneered the material in watchmaking in the late 1970s and Knoop has faithfully brought it back after a brief hiatus.
None of the new Aquatimers features a helium escape valve, an interesting development. âWe discussed this point,â says Knoop. âOur view is that this function is for deep-sea divers, who stay in a helium enriched atmosphere before they dive. The divers who go for really deep dives and need helium escape valves make up a very small percentage, so we decided it wasnât worth integrating them into this watch.â
That, despite the commendable logic, is clearly one of many bold decisions behind this bold new collection, a collection that in the Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month features the second largest watch IWC has ever made.
âWe wanted to have a collection that can be immediately identified as typically IWC,â says Knoop. âWe wanted to do something that has this very technical, but at the same time typical purity IWC is known for. There are an incredible number of diverâs watches out there â we wanted to have something that can not only be identified as IWC, but which will stand out immediately.â
3 Aquatimer watches exhibited at the SIHH 2014
ÂŠ WorldTempus /MichĂ¨le Brunner