Clas­sic Racer

The IWC Ingenieur Chrono­graph Edition “Ru­dolf Carac­ci­ola” has an el­e­gant retro look and a com­pletely newly de­vel­oped move­ment. How did it per­form in our test?

WatchTime - - TEST - — by Jens Koch —

— The IWC Ingenieur pre­miered in 1955 as a three-handed watch with a clean de­sign and pro­tec­tion against mag­netic fields up to 80,000 am­peres per me­ter. e watch was cre­ated to as­sure that tech­ni­cians and re­searchers would al­ways be punc­tual in an in­creas­ingly elec­tronic world. In 1976, the renowned watch de­signer Gérald Genta, whose other brain­chil­dren in­clude Aude­mars Piguet’s Royal Oak and Patek Philippe’s Nau­tilus, sketched a to­tally new Ingenieur. Genta’s “SL” had five lit­tle holes in its bezel, an in­te­grated metal bracelet, and a soft-iron in­ner case to pro­tect it against mag­netism. is styling was re­vived when the Ingenieur line was re­launched in 2005, but some of these mod­els had no pro­tec­tion against mag­netic fields. IWC has built and still builds nu­mer­ous mod­els with di­verse ad­di­tional func­tions such as a sec­ond time zone, chrono­graph, per­pet­ual cal­en­dar and tourbillon.

IWC re­vived sev­eral his­tor­i­cal watches in 2008 when it pre­miered the Vin­tage col­lec­tion. Among these was a three-handed watch that paid homage to the first Ingenieur with dauphine hands and ap­plied ba­ton-shaped in­dexes. is model also had a sap­phire win­dow in its case­back through which you could view man­u­fac­ture Cal­iber 80111. e down­side of this nice view: Mag­netic-field pro­tec­tion had to be left out. But the core of the Vin­tage col­lec­tion con­tin­ues to be the large mod­els with five holes in their bezels.

Now the Ingenieur line again wel­comes a model with a smooth bezel. Like the SL, this watch is avail­able in steel, ti­ta­nium and gold. All three ver­sions are lim­ited edi­tions. A chrono­graph also fits well here as an ad­di­tional func­tion that fur­ther en­hances the Ingenieur’s prac­ti­cal­ity. Lack­ing a pre­de­ces­sor from the 1950s, this model posed a more dif­fi­cult chal­lenge for its de­sign­ers. At first glance, the new Ingenieur looks time­lessly el­e­gant with an an­gled flange for the tachymeter scale, a broad bezel, and a slate gray sun­ray-pat­tern dial. e Ingenieur’s en­gi­neer­ing look comes into play with in­dexes drawn be­tween the two- and three-digit num­bers and a zero added to the left of the sin­gle-digit num­bers on the sub­di­als. Even the date has a lead­ing zero. e use of red on some of the scales and on the pointer tips of the chrono­graph and sec­onds hands adds a touch of sporti­ness.

Only the ecru-col­ored lu­mi­nous ma­te­rial and the sad­dle-stitched leather strap, which calls to mind the up­hol­stery on a car seat, con­vey a retro look. e au­to­mo­tive ref­er­ence is in­ten­tional: Our test watch is named after race car driver Ru­dolf Carac­ci­ola. Born in 1901, he was driv­ing his par­ents’ Mercedes-knight even be­fore he got his driver’s li­cense at age 15. And be­gin­ning in 1926, he won nu­mer­ous Grand Prix and sports car races be­hind the wheel of a Mercedes and was one of his era’s most suc­cess­ful race car driv­ers.

Only when you take a closer look at our test watch do you no­tice that the ba­ton-shaped in­dexes with lu­mi­nous dots at their outer ends and the dou­ble lu­mi­nous dot at the 12 trace their an­ces­try to the first Ingenieur. Some of the ear­li­est In­ge­nieurs also had ba­ton-shaped hands with sharp points. e case with ap­plied bezel, pol­ished sur­faces and satin-fin­ished sides is also sim­i­lar to the case of the first Ingenieur (Ref­er­ence 666).

All in all, IWC’S de­sign­ers have cre­ated a hand­some watch, but the de­sign isn’t to­tally in har­mony with the retro look. e case is too high and the bezel slopes too steeply down­ward to be a dyed-in-the-wool retro watch. And this new­comer has a con­tem­po­rary di­am­e­ter of 42 mm. e case of the Edition “Ru­dolf Carac­ci­ola” we tested is made of steel.

IWC’S new Cal­iber 69370 has a col­umn wheel and the brand’s char­ac­ter­is­tic pawl-wind­ing sys­tem.

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