Many people may find it surprising that IWC Schaffhausen dedicated its entire collection this year to Aquatimers. However the company, that showcased its first diving watch in 1967, is an extremely active supporter of saving marine wildlife. The brand committed to ecologically responsible corporate behaviour is a keen supporter of the research and conservation activities of the Charles Darwin Foundation established to preserve the environment and eco-system of the Galapagos archipelago.
The Galapagos Islands and the surrounding waters are part of the Unesco World Heritage and serve as an endless source of inspiration for IWC. Those who have dived or even snorkelled before and have experienced the magic of the turquoise waters, home of unbelievably colourful and diverse sea creatures, and the unique silence under the waves will find it easy to understand why IWC has stood behind these efforts.
The theme of the IWC Shchaffhausen booth at SIHH was the underwater world – upon entering I found myself 20 metres deep with hammerhead sharks circling above my head. A column of bubbles rose to the ceiling of the entire construction where above the waves, birds flew by. It was truly impressive and immediately evoked the incomparable calm of diving.
IWC favoured scuba diving fans this year and surprised them with a number of new models and technical innovations. The in-house movements, the material usage, the construction of the dials and the patented IWC bracelet quick-change system all serve the needs of divers, and the watches are at once worthy companions of their owners even on land.
The first military diving watch was born in the early 1980s as part of a co-operation between IWC and Ferdinand A. Porsche, then sports diving watches also appeared. “The first Porsche that can dive” slogan is a good expression of the highly functional design and technical merits of the watch. The 42 mm diameter Aquatimer Automatic with stainless steel or black rubber straps in black or silver-plated dial is a staple piece of the collection. Naturally like the other models, this watch is also equipped with the innovative Safe Dive system being a combination of external/internal rotating bezel. The titanium cases were tested for pressure-resistance to 200 bar. The lightweight, corrosion-resistant and virtually indestructible material is particularly suitable for diver’s watches.
The titanium Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is not only a companion for ambitious amateurs but also for professional divers, this is signified by the engraved classic diving helmet worn by deep-sea divers on the reverse of the dial. The watch case hides an IWC-manufactured 80110 movement; the 46 mm- diameter ensures the easy readability of the dial. The size and construction of the rotating bezel makes it easy to use even in neoprene gloves. The size of the rubber strap allows the watch to be worn on the wrist above the neoprene and dry suit too.
The more refined colours, size and shape of the Aquatimer Chronograph makes it wearable also on a business meeting, not only in the depths of the sea. The strap comes in a stainless steel or black rubber option with a black or silver-plated dial. The models dedicated to the Galapagos Islands and its researchers are also part of the Chronograph family, these are limited edition pieces with a more striking design.
With the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “50 years science for Galapagos” IWC is paying a tribute to the 50th jubilee of the Charles Darwin Research Station. It has rubber-coated stainless steel case and special “electric” blue Luminescent elements on hands, dial and internal rotating bezel.
The “Galapagos Islands” version also has a 44mm case and 68-hour power reserve; it is waterproof to 30 bars. On the dial there are white numbers and signs with two bright yellow smaller indicators.
Via the Aquatimer Chronograph edition “Expedition Charles Darwin” and the “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau” models the brand pays homage to the two giants of science.
Charles Darwin, the developer of the evolutionary theory studied wildlife on the group of islands that were virtually untouched at the time. Darwin was unbelievably mesmerised by the rich diversity of species on the islands. After his time on the Galápagos Islands, he mentions in his diary that he feels to have gotten closer to the “secret of secrets”, how new creatures appear on the Earth. His famous quote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” is dated to this time too. The model bearing his name features his portrait engraved on the reverse of the case. The use of bronze for the case can remind the wearer of the vessel famously used for Darwin’s expedition, HMS Beagle, which took him to the Galapagos Islands.
Captain Cousteau, a renowned French oceanographer, explorer and film-maker who devoted his life to discovering the seas. The “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau” film from 1971 commemorates the fantastic voyage of discovery to the Galapagos. During the winter of 1942-1943 Cousteau together with Émile Gagnan invented Aqua-Lung, the diving regulator used today.
The sea-blue dial of the watch with a coral red seconds hand in the sub-dial at “9 o’clock” and black rubber strap are perfect accessories on the piece dedicated to one of the greatest sea lovers.
Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month
The 50-piece limited edition Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is quite a large 49 mm diameter 18-Carat red gold and rubber-coated titanium watch, with black rubber strap with alligator leather inlay. The motifs on the date and month discs on the dial evoke submarine filters. Strong elements are the extra-large numerals of the perpetual calendar, which is mechanically programmed until 2100. One of the functions of the watch was inspired by the marine iguanas of the Islands. The animals are famous for operating their bodies in an energy-efficient way, for example they can slow down their heartbeat in cold water. Preserving and storing energy is also an interesting challenge of fine watchmaking. In order to rotate display discs, such as the large month disks of Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital’s the watch requires additional energy. Therefore, IWC developed a “quick-action” switch, which is a self-contained energy storage that charges itself throughout the month continuously and releases its accumulated power at the end of the month to move the month disks.
Aquatimer Deep Three
One of a more useful complication underwater is the depth gauge, which has been the feature of Aquatimer Deep Three for 3 generations. It is situated on the left half of the inner circle and includes two indicators: the blue showing the actual depth (up to 60 metres) and the red for the maximum depth achieved during one dive (up to 50 metres). The max depth indicator can be reset to the starting position by the click of a button. The timepiece inherited the Safe Dive rotating bezel.
Photo credits: IWC Schaffhausen, Loupiosity.com.
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