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History of IWC Ingenieur

By Greg Kelly December 22, 2017

Since its original release more than 60 years ago, the IWC Ingenieur has not only undergone numerous redesigns to catch up with the changing times, but has also broadened its watch family. Despite the diversity, the collection is unified in the spirit of the original model from 1954, and continues to provide functional timepieces made to withstand challenging environments and magnetic fields.

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph

 

Launched in 1954, IWC’s Ingenieur is a testament to the brand’s innovative spirit and top quality craftsmanship. Developed specifically to meet the demands of scientists and engineers working in magnetic environments, IWC pioneered the field of anti-magnetic watches.

The Ingenieur came into being in the early 1950s, when IWC’s Technical Director at the time – Albert Pellaton set out to devise a method of protecting the delicate movements of a watch from the negative effects of magnetism. To this end, the Ingenieur was developed to ensure unparalleled functionality and robustness by bringing together the most durable materials including titanium, and stainless steel. The original wristwatch communicated a sporty masculinity while retaining IWC’s characteristic elegance.

Apart from a functional and remarkably durable case, the watch was also equipped with an equally impressive movement. Implementing the Pellaton automatic winding system, created by IWC’s Technical Director, the Ingenieur featured the very first bidirectional automatic movement which guaranteed outstanding precision.

IWC Ingenieur SL

 

1967 saw the release of the new Ingenieur Reference 866. This was the second generation of the watchmaking icon from Schauffhausen. It largely retained the basic lines of its predecessor, while offering a more contemporary look in a sportier style.

In subsequent years, the watch remained largely the same until its great redesign carried out by Gérald Genta in 1976. The renown Swiss watch designer offered the Ingenieur a complete makeover in line with his characteristic aesthetic. Like that, the legendary IWC watch joined Genta’s proud legacy of cult timepieces including Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, and the Patek Philippe’s Nautilus.

The redesigned Ingenieur became an instant success, appealing to professionals and watch aficionados alike. With its skyrocketing sales, the watch sustained its position as one of the brand’s bestselling watches.

Genta’s SL was the first of the ‘new’ Ingenieurs. It came in a sporty steel case that combined the 1970s styling with the technical specifications of the original model. The Ingenieur SL featured the addition of five visible screws on the watch’s bezel, similar to Genta’s Royal Oak’s bezel screws. This element became ingrained in later editions of timepiece, and reappeared in the IWC Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium.

Although the watch echoed its predecessor from 1954, it marked a definitive departure from the thick case of the original, replacing it instead with a sleek sports-inspired stainless steel case with exposed screws on its bezel, and an ultra-modern bracelet. Furthermore, the watch communicated modern masculinity through its increased size. Now measuring 40mm x 38mm, the Reference 1832 diverged from the traditionally classic demeanour and replaced it with a bold modern look emblematic of the 70s and 80s.

IWC most recently redesigned the Ingenieur in 2005, offering a mixture of the outspoken, eye-catching design of the Ingenieur SL with the size of a modern sports watch. Additionally, the watch communicates a more dynamic edge to honour the brand’s partnership with Mercedes-AMG.

In 2013, the Ingenieur watch collection was widened yet again with the release of the Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon. This remarkable watch comes in a platinum and ceramic case. Its patented constant-force mechanism is integrated in the tourbillon and guarantees an extremely precise rate.

IWC Ingenieur Constant Force Tourbillon

 

Finally, in 2017 IWC launched a refreshed Ingenieur returning to the iconic round design of the first generation. The flagship of the new collection featured a digital perpetual calendar, a chronograph function and a 45-millimetre case is made from 18 karat red gold.

Since its original release more than 60 years ago, the IWC Ingenieur has not only undergone numerous redesigns to catch up with the changing times, but has also broadened its watch family. Despite the diversity, the collection is unified in the spirit of the original model from 1954, and continues to provide functional timepieces made to withstand challenging environments and magnetic fields.

Images ©: Header. Motor Trend  1. Watch Me Ride  2. World Tempus 3. The Jewellery Editor    

 

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