• Master
    10 Apr 2023, 3:43 a.m.

    It has been a while since I posted an article. It is always good to be back
    in the action.

    With the recent announcement of the new 2023 Ingenieur series, I wrote a post
    on a watch forum in Hong Kong (in Chinese).

    Some net friends were asking about it, so let me rewrite it in English, post
    it here and share with you some of my thoughts.

    The Oscars Academy Awards this year attracted a lot of attention. Many
    awardees shared their moving stories on stage as they gave their speech.
    Quite a number of them have worked diligently in Hollywood, even becoming a
    top star/celebrity/talk-of-the-town at one point in their acting career.
    Nonetheless, many faced adversity and got hit hard by reality in this cut-
    throat industry. Despite their hard work and being the unsung heroes in the
    industry, many failed to receive the recognition and appreciation they
    deserved from their audience. This year, their years of hard work finally
    paid off, as they won the academy awards! We can certainly use the phrase
    "the greatest comeback" to describe this year's Oscars.

    By the same token, there are plenty of designs within the watch industry that
    received recognition in the past. Perhaps they too are waiting to have a
    great comeback.

    One of which is no doubt Gerald Genta's designs. Gerald Genta, a master in
    watch design, needs no introduction. IWC once hired Genta to help design its
    Ingenieur SL. Years ago, IWC decided to stop manufacturing Genta-inspired
    Ingenieurs in favor of releasing a series of Ingenieurs that are based on the
    original 666 Ingenieur design. Despite IWC's biggest effort, however, the
    666-inspired Ingenieurs did not receive a lot of approval from fans and watch
    buyers. Many fans and buyers are still eagerly waiting for Genta-inspired
    Ingenieurs to return.

    (IWC Ingenieur SL)

    IWC finally answered fans' demand this year. At this year's Watches &
    Wonders, IWC announced the release of a new Ingenieur series. This series
    oozes many Genta's design elements of the original Ingenieur SL. Rumors said
    that IWC had this new Ingenieur design for years. Instead of releasing it
    back then in a rush, IWC took the time to refine it for years--in hope not to
    disappoint Ingenieur fans.

    Four models of new Ingenieurs were announced:

    IW328901 Black dial Stainless Steel

    IW328902 White dial Staineless Steel

    IW328903 Aqua Dial Stainless Steel

    (rendition of aqua-dial ingenieur)

    And IW328904 Titanium

    (Rendition of titanium ingenieur)

    So, what are the differences between these new models and the previous IW3227?
    There are many!

    As a start, the newer ones have a smaller dial (40mm vs. the previous 42mm),
    not to mention they are much thinner (10.8mm vs the previous 14.5mm), and much
    lighter than the previous 3227 models. Many people might have the impression
    that wearing the previous 3227 series of Ingenieurs can be quite a burden.
    They will be delighted to learn that the latest models are much more wearable.

    Another two big reasons why someone with a smaller wrist found wearing the
    previous 3227 models to not be too comfortable could be: 1) 3227 lug extended
    a bit too far out. Furthermore, the first center-link was fixed and could not
    rotate. Together they made wearing the watch on a smaller wrist somewhat
    uncomfortably large; 2) The base of the relatively huge and heavy watch was
    flat. Wearing it back then may feel like having a big piece of heavy iron
    disc sitting on one's wrist. I imagine these two factors together prevented
    many people from buying and wearing the previous 3227 Ingenieurs--although
    they might find the watch appealing. IWC has improved upon these two design
    "shortfalls" from the 3227 by: 1) Making the first center-link rotatable; 2)
    designing the base of the watch to be slightly curved. These have made the
    watch lugging more nicely around one's smaller wrist.

    (Latest Ingenieur vs 3227. Note the difference of the first center-link

    Looking at the new Ingenieur's bezel, one will immediately notice 5 screws.
    According to IWC, these screws serve a real purpose--fastening the bezel onto
    the case. These screws' orientations are aligned. Unlike some other brands,
    some watches may not have their screws all aligned, giving them a not-so-
    professional look. These screws on the Ingenieur are not very big. So,
    without my reading glasses on, I could hardly tell if they were all properly
    aligned. When you all see the watch in real life, you can be the judge to see
    their alignment.

    The dial has what IWC called a "grid" design. This also added some more
    dimensions and depths to the dial. I believe it pays tribute to Ingenieur
    SL's "waffle" dial decades ago. Thinking back on the 3227, its dial also has
    some embossed design. Looking more closely at the 3227 dial, you will find
    many letter "I" on the dial weaving a pattern. Back then this design gave
    buyers a pleasant surprise to those who closely examined their watches.
    Perhaps the new "grid" design with straight lines (forming a checkerboard type
    of look) also pays tribute to the "I"-filled dial of the 3227? I have not
    seen the aqua-dial in person yet, but I presume looking at it from different
    angles, and under different lighting conditions, will see it has a very
    different look and colors of shading.

    (Ingenieur SL with a "waffle" dial)

    (3227 with "I"-filled dial)

    An applied old IWC logo like that of the Ingenieur SL at 12 o'clock can no
    longer be found on the new Ingenieur. Nor will one find any applied Arabic
    numerals at 12 and 6 o'clock on the new watch. Instead, a pair of more simple
    applied indices. Are now situated at the 12 o'clock position.

    I believe this simplifies the design, especially considering the watch is now
    smaller than its predecessors, hence, fewer things to clutter up the dial.

    For me personally though, I prefer having the applied Arabic numerals on the
    3227, which made the watch looks a bit more special. However, there might be
    an added benefit for NOT having Arabic numerals on the dial. In the case of a
    chronograph, there is less likely to have any "broken numerals" on its dial,
    which get mixed reviews from the critics. Quite frankly though, I also like
    the styling of broken numerals, I think it added character to the watch. The
    indices on the new Ingenieur all point towards the center of dial, which also
    pay tributes to the original Ingenieur SL.

    (examples of "broken numerals"--IWC 3227 and 3725)

    I am actually glad to see crown guards on the new Ingenieur, protecting the
    crown from any accidental damage. I believe this comes with IWC's years of
    developing (and servicing) the Ingenieur series. As a sports watch with form
    and function, I think the crown guards will help make the new Ingenieur be
    more rugged and durable than the 3227.

    (close-up shot on the crown guard)

    IWC carefully applied different kinds of polishing and finishing on the new
    watch. The long-history of delicate intertwining use of mirror-polish and
    brushed finishing are applied to give this watch a sharp and eye-catching
    look. All of the edges my eye could see are mirror-polished. The center-
    links of the new watch extend out quite a bit more than those of the 3227,
    giving the new watch a bit more of a 3D look with more depth. I think a
    similar design was used on the recent Portugesers' bracelets.

    One feature that sets the Aqua-dial one apart from the black and white ones is
    that its center-links are all mirror-polished (as opposed to brushed ones for
    the black and white). I have not seen the aqua one in person yet, but I
    imagine it will look quite a bit sharper due to its more flashy bracelet
    design. My suggestion, however, is to bring along with you a Cape Cod
    polishing cloth for those aqua-dial owners who wish to maintain its bracelet a
    shiny look.

    (rendition of aqua-dial ingenieur, showcasing its mirror-polished center

    As for the bracelet of the watch, IWC still uses its signature mechanism for
    removing and adding links. No screwdriver or special tools to use for
    resizing the bracelet. Nonetheless, unlike the previous watches, it seems
    like this mechanism is not used on all the links, at least not the last few
    links closest to the lug. Although some people may find not all the links
    having this mechanism a bit lacking, how often do we need to take every link
    of the bracelet apart, except perhaps when doing a full clean-ups/service back
    in the factory? Looking closer to the lug, one may also find that the
    bracelet is not fixated by the IWC removable mechanism, but instead, by a
    push-pin. Why do they opt for a push-pin instead? That many be many reasons…
    perhaps it will allow simpler changing of straps in the future? When looking
    at the watch, I saw no quick-change bracelet function. Not sure if that
    option will be provided in the future.

    (the last 3 center links do not feature the IWC link-removable mechanism)

    The design of the deployant clasp is much more elegant than its predecessors.
    There is no big buckle on the end of the bracelet. This gives owners a true
    "integrated bracelet" that a Gerald-Genta-design watch deserves. The only
    thing seems missing is a micro-adjusting mechanism. As the saying goes, I
    guess we cannot have the cake and eat it too. Let's wish one day IWC can
    invent a micro-adjustable deployant buckle that is elegant looking, reliable
    yet worthy to be claimed as part of an "integrated bracelet."(at the
    time of me rewriting this article in English, IWC already promised to provide
    a buckle with micro-adjustment feature to those who want it… alas, it is just
    the big and bulky, relatively non-attractive looking, one IWC has been
    providing in recent years). www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFxFrFLFmf0

    (new ingenieur bracelet indeed features an "integrated bracelet")

  • Master
    10 Apr 2023, 3:45 a.m.

    Among the four newly introduced Ingenieurs, the one I look forward the most
    seeing is the Titanium edition. This titanium edition seems to have
    incorporated all the IWC experiences and tricks the company has in producing
    titanium watches. Looking at the finishing alone, you will see all three
    techniques being deployed: brush-finished, mirror-polished, and sand-blasted.
    If my memory serves me right, I have never seen any IWC titanium watch
    featuring all three of these finishing techniques together. Hopefully we will
    see this titanium edition in the metal soon. The titanium edition features a
    grey dial with the same "grid" design. IWC titanium watches tend to feature a
    more flat or carbon-fiber dial, but seldom do we get to see one with a 3d dial
    like this one does. This indices and hands of the watch are black in color,
    reminiscent of the color-tone similar to the Titanium Dual Time that IWC
    released years ago. I personally find this color-combo quite appealing.

    (Ingenieur titanium dual time released years ago)

    In conclusion, the new Ingenieur incorporated many IWC 'sand Gerald Genta's
    design elements. What is your opinion on it? Do you think it can fulfill
    the demand of the long-awaiting Genta-Ingenieur fans?

    The question which begs an answer was: whether the new Ingenieur can achieve
    what the respected Hollywood stars, such as Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh, Key
    Huy Quan and Jamie-Lee Curtis, did in this year--they finally reaped their
    decades of hard work and won an Oscar! Or will it be like James Hong, who.
    despite working hard and acting well for many decades, still remains as an
    unsung supporting actor only? Or perhaps it will even lose the Oscar despite
    being appreciated, like Cate Blanchett and Angela Bassett, etc.? this year's
    Oscar results have been revealed. Let's wait to see how the new IWC Ingenieur
    do in the market.

    *New Ingenieur photos are provided by IWC

    *All other pics are borrowed elsewhere from the internet. Credits go to their original photographers.

  • Master
    10 Apr 2023, 3:50 a.m.

    Pardon me for the long post.

    There are obviously major differences I left out when I first wrote the
    article in Chinese. Among them is the movement. The new Ingenieur uses
    caliber 32111, which is a much thinner movement than the 80110 used in the
    3227. The 80110 was (I believe) IWC's first automatic movement featuring a
    rugged design and the well-loved Pellaton winding mechanism (which sadly is
    not available on the 32111). However, the 32111 provides 120-hour power
    reserve, which to most people, probably makes up for the features that it

  • 10 Apr 2023, 8:02 a.m.

    Thank you Kelvin for your post, I was fortunate to see the new models in
    Geneva and they

  • Master
    25 Apr 2023, 3:53 p.m.

    Thanks Kelvin, brilliant report!

    Regards, Bob

  • Graduate
    26 Apr 2023, 4:58 p.m.

    As i mentioned in a previous post, although this watch is a nice aesthetic
    execise, is this really a watch an engineer/ scientist would choose today when
    compared with the competition?

    IWC historically was a leader in watch technology (not just fashion), for
    example some of the first ceramic cases, Kurt Klaus' revolutionary perpetual
    calendar, and the modular Doppelchronograph while Richard Habring was with

    It seems to me this watch is a real swing and a miss by IWC- in 2023 anti-
    magnetic technology has been pushed much further forward by other watch
    manufactures. With the release of the 're-imagined' Genta design that many IWC
    fans have been calling for, there also could have been some serious effort put
    into the anti-magnetic properties of the watch- something new/ revolutionary
    like IWC used to do when it seemed to be more of a real engineering company,
    not just a fashion company.

    I genuinely feel this is a big missed opportunity (speaking as a big IWC fan).

  • Master
    26 Apr 2023, 7:01 p.m.

    "As i mentioned in a previous post, although this watch is a nice aesthetic
    execise, is this really a watch an engineer/ scientist would choose today when
    compared with the competition?"

    I don't think the target customer for this watch is necessarily an engineer or
    scientist, or someone that needs antimagnetic protection - It really is all
    about the aesthetics and fashion these days. But I have to agree that I would
    also love to see IWC move beyond the Farady cage and develop thinner,
    antimegnetic movements that could be shown off under display casebacks. It is
    a bit surprising that Richemont has still not adapted or developed their own
    antimagnetic hairspring technology.

  • Graduate
    26 Apr 2023, 7:34 p.m.

    I agree that the modern customer doesn't 'need' it, but it is a shame to see
    such an iconic watch reduced to a fashion item, especially given IWC's

    Of course, many other watch companies are guilty of the same these days.

    But this release really feels like an attempt to get on the integrated
    bracelet steel watch fad, without any new technical contribution, which is a
    bit sad really.

  • Connoisseur
    30 Apr 2023, 8:40 p.m.

    I agree that it's got a lot going for it. The smaller diameter and the
    thickness make it attractive, but, for me, the crown guards really unbalance
    the whole watch and I find it hard to look at, no matter how comfortable it
    might sit on the wrist. However, even if it didn't have crown guards the price
    point would be far too high for this watch in my consideration.

  • Master
    30 Apr 2023, 9:45 p.m.

    The crown semi-counter-sunk nto the case would have provided a nicer
    aesthetic..whilst nodding to the 666 engineering days.

  • Master
    1 May 2023, 1:11 a.m.

    A brilliant article and analysis, Kelvin. And a great read too.

    I'm still a bit focused on the recent Ingenieur generations with the bold
    cases, but as Tonny said correctly: the new ones ROCK!

    And they're much closer at the origninal. That said transported the Genta DNA
    into today's time.

    And as Ben said correctly, silicon/antimagnetic hairsprings and escapements
    would be a huge PLUS to Ingenieur named watches in the future. I guess they're
    already working on it in Schaffhausen and elsewhere...

    Pictures old vs. new...both have their appeal