Thanks to its robustness and dependability, the diver’s watch remains the sports watch of choice to this day and doubles as a reliable reserve as the indispensable underwater back up system, even if the dive computer now relieves the underwater sportsman of most of the necessary calculations.
Once again, IWC Schaffhausen has extensively revised, both technically and aesthetically, its family of diver’s watches, first introduced in 1967 under the name Aquatimer and since then further developed on a number of occasions.
This step coincides with a new partnership in support of environmental and marine conservation, which IWC has entered into with the Charles Darwin Foundation in Galapagos to mark the Darwin bicentennial year in 2009. One of the new Aquatimer models, the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Islands, is dedicated specifically to this commitment.
This new environmental commitment by IWC will start in the Darwin anniversary year – 2009 – in which the scientific world will celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the great British biologist and behavioural scientist, Charles Darwin. He made his fundamental observations on the origin of species mainly on Galapagos, the unique archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, which was never in contact with the mainland at any time in the history of evolution.
Specific animal and plant species not to be found anywhere else on earth evolved here through natural selection as a result of the differences in living conditions – even from one island to the next. This is also true of the marine life. Yet this “laboratory of evolution” is massively endangered by settlement, by illegal fishing and by the introduction of animals that are destroying the basis of existence of the indigenous species.
The non-profit Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) has more than 100 interns actively engaged in the conservation of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is on the “Red List”. IWC not only backs this cause in non-material ways, but also through a considerable financial contribution to support the CDF in this worthy endeavour.
New watch models in the Aquatimer family will include the following watches from 2009 onwards:
– Aquatimer Deep Two
– Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Islands
– Aquatimer Chronograph
– Aquatimer Chronograph in red gold
– Aquatimer Automatic 2000
All have the following features in common: the case dimensions have increased slightly to 44 mm, and in one particular instance even to 46 mm. Another immediately obvious feature shared by the revised family is the rotating diving bezel, now located externally once again. IWC has always incorporated two possibilities for measuring dive times in its diver’s watches.
The first Aquatimer was equipped initially with a rotating inner bezel, which was operated via the second crown. The system is particularly secure as far as unintentional adjustment is concerned, although it is not so user-friendly when the diver is wearing gloves.
The OCEAN 2000 watch model dating from 1982 – a result of the collaboration with Porsche Design – had already adopted an external rotating bezel, which the GST Aquatimer from 1997 also retained.
The Aquatimer generation of 2009 embraces this technology once again in the form of an external rotating bezel of an entirely new design. This can be rotated even when wearing gloves – and for safety reasons only in the anti-clockwise direction.
In this case, a 4-mm wide sapphire crystal ring lies above a thick layer of Super LumiNova® luminous pigment applied in six coats. This means that the luminescence and legibility are optimal under all conditions of visibility. The revised family picks up the yellow-black and blue-orange signature colours of the previous Aquatimer family in a number of models, but it also introduces new and interesting colour combinations for the dial, hands and indicators.
A further characteristic element of the new family of diver’s watches is the innovative bracelet replacement system. The new Aquatimer is equally suitable as a sporting all-rounder and for professional underwater use. For example, a lightweight hook-and-loop strap is appropriate when diving to allow the watch to be worn over the neoprene diving suit. Wearing such a strap out of the water would be unusual, to say the least. Some prefer this lightweight material to a solid steel bracelet, but would like to change from time to time.
To bring together all these preferences under a single hat, all Aquatimer models have been equipped with a new bracelet quick-change system.
In response to finger pressure on the underside of the bracelet/strap lug, a lever disengages the locking mechanism and separates the bracelet or strap from the case. When being worn on the wrist, how ever, the watch cannot be separated from its bracelet or strap, even inadvertently. The replacement bracelet or strap (whether synthetic, rubber or steel) is then introduced into the bracelet/strap lug and engages there. This simple operation can be performed without tools in a few seconds.
IWC Aquatimer Deep Two
The diver’s watch with a mechanical depth gauge makes a return after ten years in the form of the Aquatimer Deep Two, pressure-resistant to 12 bar. Like its predecessor, the IWC GST Deep One from 1999, it shows not only the actual dive depth, but also the maximum depth reached during a particular dive. It thus doubles as a complete second safety system alongside the dive computer.
Whereas the GST Deep One was able to measure water depths down to 45 metres, the Aquatimer Deep Two features a semi-circular indicator on the dial, which records depths down to 50 metres. Its pressure measurement system is contained in a second large crown on the left side of the case. The water pressure acts directly on a membrane inside this crown and forces a pin into the interior of the case. This movement actuates a lever mechanism connected to the measurement hands.
However, only the raised tips of the hands at the level of the dial can be seen to move over the indicator scale through a semi-circular slot in the dial. The hands in this case are led around the movement. This is an ingenious solution, which avoids the need for the path of the arbors to pass through the movement.
The depth indicator (blue)moves over the white measuring field as the depth of water increases or decreases. The maximum depth indicator (red) always re mains at the greatest depth reached. It can be re leased by a button underneath the depth-gauge sensor crown on the left side of the case. The Aquatimer Deep Two is the only member of the family with a case diameter of 46 mm.
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Islands
Featuring the same case size and the same automatic drive mechanism (79320 calibre movement)as the Aquatimer Chronograph, the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Islands is a shining example of the revised watch family in every respect.
The matt black stainless steel case, completely coated with vulcanized rubber, the black dial and the strongly contrasting white indications together with the black rubber strap make the watch, which is pressure resistant to 12bar, a conspicuous statement on the wrist. It is the ambassador of a new collaboration between IWC and the Charles Darwin Foundation with its presence on the Galapagos Islands.
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph
Sporting the attributes of the new Aquatimer family, such as the external rotating bezel and the bracelet quickchange system, the Aquatimer Chronograph is available in stainless steel – with either a stainless stainless steel bracelet or a rubber strap – in two different dial variants: in the Aquatimer signature colours of black and yellow, or in the striking colour combination of blue and coral red.
The watch in its 44-mm diameter case is pressure-resistant to 12 bar. The 79320 calibre chronograph movement records aggregate times up to 12hours on rhodium plated inner dials. In addition to the date, it also has a day display.
IWC Aquatimer Chronograph in red gold
Of the diver’s chronographs, the Aquatimer Chronograph in red gold stands out particularly in both visual and horological terms. It is the first watch in the Aquatimer family to be equipped with the IWC manufactured 89360 calibre, the chronograph movement developed and built in its entirety by IWC. It is distinguished by its flyback function and the two-hand display of the long stop times on a single inner dial.
The 89360 calibre movement, wound by the IWC double pawl automatic winding system, is currently regarded as one of the most modern mechanical movements with a stop function, which can also be observed through the sapphire glass back in this sportingly elegant diver’s watch. This watch, which is pressure-resistant to 12 bar, is only available in a 44-mm diameter red gold case with a black rubber strap.
IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000
In terms of water resistance, the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 with its tested pressure resistance of 200 bar still holds the record in the watch family. It features a black dial and a black external rotating bezel with the familiar luminous yellow 15-minute segment of the previous Aquatimer in stainless steel.
The colour yellow is also used for the minute hand, which indicates the dive time, to ensure a clear distinction. A second variant has a white dial with orange or white numerals on a white or dark blue background on the rotating bezel and an orange hour hand. It is powered by the 30110 calibre automatic movement. The Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is available with an optional stainless steel bracelet or a rubber strap.