By John Galt
With many anniversary models or special edition being released by watch manufactures we sometimes become blasé about them, but every so often one comes along and stops you in your tracks and this is one such anniversary model from IWC.
Marking their 50th anniversary of the Aquatimer diver’s watches, IWC has released a special edition featuring a world first: a new case material Ceratanium.
This new case material developed by IWC is as unbreakable and light as titanium, but also has similarities as ceramic meaning scratch-resistant and extremely hard. Aesthetically wise this new case is very pleasing to the eye with its matte black colour, also offering excellent skin tolerance so not to irritate if worn for long periods of time.
The case and material experts at IWC have been working their expertise on their development of this particular new composite which based on a titanium alloy for more than five years.
First Introduced back in 1967, the first IWC Aquatimer diver’s watch was water-resistant up to 200 metres, which by modern day standards is low for a diver watch but back then it was one of only a handful that had the capabilities to go that deep, and also featured an internal rotating bezel for the first time for setting the dive time.
The new Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “50 Years Aquatimer” (ref. IW379403) is housed in a 49mm case while it may sound on the large size does wear well and given the new composite of the case doesn’t feel big and bulky. Housed in the new case is their in-house self-winding movement, Calibre 89801, which beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) and offers 68 hours of power reserve.
The dial is nice deep black with some of the components of the IWC-manufactured calibre 89802 has been coloured in the same deep black, such as the self-winding rotor. The technical features for this anniversary edition include a digital perpetual calendar which displays the date and month shown through semi-transparent dials with large numerals in the style of a digital watch, automatically recognising different month lengths and leap years.
The energy required to advance the month display discs is permanently built up throughout the month by the means of a quick-action switch. The spring-loaded lever on the quick-action switch is lifted a tiny bit more each day by a small cam. At the end of the month, the energy is released and the quick-action switch jumps instantaneously to its starting position and advances both of the month display discs individually, or together, by one position, depending on the month. On 31 December, the leap year disc is also advanced at the same time.
This special edition also features a chronograph with flyback function displays stop times and current times combined in a small subdial at 12 o’clock.
Water-resistant up to 10 bar (100 meters), this watch as with all the Aquatimer models features an external/internal rotating bezel for setting the dive time. The IWC SafeDive system ensures that the internal rotating bezel can only be adjusted when the external bezel is rotated in an anticlockwise direction. As a result, even if the external bezel is accidentally moved, zero hour – the time at which the diver can return to the surface without the need for decompression stops and cannot be exceeded.
The strap features IWC quick-change system, meaning the black rubber strap can be replaced with another strap very easily and minimum fuss, im not sure you would want to as the strap suits this case perfectly.
Limited to just 50 pieces, the special-edition Aquatimer with a Ceratanium case will be available in IWC boutiques from this month at the price of Swiss Francs 50,000. This special edition from iwc is perfect to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Aquatimer showcasing all there know how and expertise including new case material, the only one thing I would question would be why only 100 meters water resistance for as they say a dive watch but given the spec and calendar feature I don’t think this will ever see deep water.
For more info, please visit iwc.com