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Success storyIWC

Three further modelsIWC: News about the Ingenieur

The Ingenieur has been a watchword for fifty years and, like no other watch, plays a part in the success story of the Schaffhausen manufactory. The pursuit of progress maintains its steady course with The Big Ingenieur, the Ingenieur Automatic 44 millimetre and the Ingenieur Automatic 40 millimetre.

Following on from the impressive revival of two years ago, IWC is now extending its Ingenieur range with three further models: the flagship is without any doubt the Big Ingenieur in its 45mm stainless steel case, equipped with the large 51112 calibre movement designed for staying power with the automatic Pellaton winding system and a seven-day power reserve. The Ingenieur Automatic 44millimetre reports for duty with the IWC-manufactured 80111 calibre movement: its case made of ceramic and stainless steel is a noteworthy refinement and is entirely in the spirit of the Schaffhausen technology powerhouse. The proprietary 80111 calibre movement is now visible for the first time through the sapphire glass back. For, just like the Big Ingenieur, it dispenses with the soft iron inner case.

The same is true of the third member of the trio: the Ingenieur Automatic in a 40 mm stainless steel case with an integrated stainless steel bracelet, likewise equipped with the 80111 calibre movement, which is exposed behind a sapphire glass back. This watch, with its rose gold-plated hands and indices, draws on the tradition of earlier Ingenieur models, which, for all their technical functionality, still managed to display this certain aura of luxury and elegance.

Built on tradition

The Ingenieur has been a watchword for fifty years and, like no other watch, plays a part in the success story of the innovative Schaffhausen manufactory. Always intent on developing supreme achievements to pave the way for progress, this robust timepiece combines modern engineering skills with horological tradition. The new models can look back with pride to their predecessors, several of which have also written horological history. The Ingenieur made its first appearance on the market in 1955. The development of the first Ingenieur was the reaction of IWC Technical Director Albert Pellaton to the continuous advancement of mechanization of the post-war period, which went hand-in-hand with an increasing concentration of magnetic fields. The hour of its birth reflected an age of optimism at a time when engineers – hungry for modernity and renewal – were revolutionizing the world in all technical disciplines. The first Ingenieur was a sensation. This was the first time that a wristwatch from IWC with a soft iron inner case for protection against the effects of magnetic fields was also available for civilian use. This stroke of genius was not only antimagnetic up to 1,000 Gauss (equivalent to about 80,000 A/ m), but also played a trump card with the automatic Pellaton winding system.

The Ingenieur as a design icon

In 1976, the designer Gerald Genta gave the Ingenieur a completely new appearance by conceiving the Big Ingenieur SL in a sporting steel case. The watch, which to this day qualifies as one of the major design studies, was no longer targeted only at professional engineers, but also at trend-conscious watch lovers with high expectations. For the technical features had been improved even further. The automatic movement was now enclosed in an inner jacket made of an extremely conductive alloy. As a result, any magnetic fields encountered relatively little resistance as they passed along this casing and were able to exit again. Particularly sensitive parts of the movement were actually manufactured from a paramagnetic material. Later, when the era of large timepieces for the wrist temporarily came to an end, accompanied by an increase in the demand for slim, elegant watches, the Ingenieur once again underwent a dramatic rejuvenation. It reappeared in 1983 – although on this occasion as a classic – as a thinner, altogether more elegant watch and for the first time with the typical check pattern on the dial, referred to by collectors as graph paper.

A watch with a world record

The Ingenieur 500,000 A / m dating from 1989 will go down in history as the family member that turned the traditional principle of perfect screening against magnetism upside down. In the 1980s, IWC and a Swiss metallurgist were engaged in research into the ambitious project of a completely antimagnetic watch. Not by additional protection, but by the use of a diamagnetic material, which remains unaffected by magnetic fields of all kinds. The solution lay in the extremely expensive and not readily machinable niobium-zirconium alloy. When manufactured from this material, the sensitive spring no longer provided the magnetism with an attraction surface, and neither did the balance staff, the pallet fork and the escape wheel, which were produced from an iron-free alloy. The soft iron cage was superfluous. When tested in an MRI scanner, the watch was found to be capable of withstanding an unbelievable 3,700,000 A/ m. Although the resistance of the watch was probably far higher, the technical options for further experiments were exhausted. IWC gave its new creation the modest name Ingenieur 500,000 A /m. It holds the world record for antimagnetic watches to this day.

A commitment to the future

For the past 50 years, the Ingenieur has embodied the synthesis of solidness, robustness and the pursuit of progress. The name Ingenieur itself stands for what has been a watchword in Schaffhausen for decades. Engineering and understatement par excellence. The hallmarks of an Ingenieur have remained unchanged for years: functional design, a bezel with five drilled holes, a dial with a check pattern and the word INGENIEUR in capitals with the stylized lightning bolt. The guiding principle is: make improvements only where improvement is merited. With this in mind, the Ingenieur will continue to be a platform for horological advancements in the future. The pursuit of progress maintains its steady course.