BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
Next up in the downpour of IWC watches we’re currently experiencing is the collection of revised Aquatimers, IWC’s diving model. While it’s true that IWC is most known for making watches destined for the skies (I waxed lyrical about that in my previous articles which you can read by clicking here and here), IWC has a long history of making quality diving watches fit for professionals.
The discontinued model to the left next to the new version for 2022
The aforementioned changes to other watches in IWC’s range have been, well, minimal, to say the least. However, IWC has upped the ante and is clearly competing with Porsche for the title of “most same-ist looking design ever”, honestly, what changes have been made? IWC says that some small changes to finishes and fonts here and there have been made, but the only one visible to me in the press photos is that the notches on the bezel have changed position.
The Aquatimer features the same case dimensions as before, too, measuring 42mm x 14.1mm and is made from stainless steel, with either a brushed/polished bracelet to match the case or a rubber strap to match the dial colour (a choice of black or blue).
The dial is clearly laid out, as is vital for a scuba diver. Applications of lume on the hands, markers and bezel make all the difference in low light. I appreciate the colour-matched date window too. The real genius behind the Aquatimer is the bezel. Unlike a regular diving watch, the rotating diving bezel is underneath the dial. That is not uncommon, “compressor” diving watches have had that for decades. But, a compressor diver relies on a second crown, and all the additional risks of water ingress, to turn the inner bezel. On this watch, turning the outer bezel turns the inner one, and the watch is hermetically sealed so you can use the bezel while underwater without fear of water ingress (this is thanks to the chunk on the case at 9 O’clock, which I thought was a crown a long time ago). The water resistance is 300m.
The significant change to the Aquatimer is inside the watch, where the calibre 32111 resides. This replaces the ETA/Sellita calibres used before. Although it shares a lot of designs with those movements, it’s made by a Richemont-owned company called ValFleurier, which also makes movements for Baume & Mercier and Panerai. Richemont undoubtedly used this due to the Swatch Group’s decision to curtail the sales of ETA movements and their spares outside of the group, although this is taking time to implement. The 32111 has a 4Hz beat rate, automatic winding and a power reserve of 120 hours.
On a rubber strap, one of these will set you back €6300, but that jumps to €7350 on the bracelet.
Visit IWC here.