IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Racer (Ref 3785)

SIHH 2013 preview…

I’ve been inexplicably sitting on the new IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Racer since teasing it a few weeks ago — it’s high time we get down to the details on this new series which will roll-out in 2013.  The driving force behind the new Ingenieur Chrono Racer — Ref IW3785XX series —  is IWC Schaffhausen’s new status in 2013 as the Official Engineering Partner of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team (through 2015).  As part of this venture, IWC is unveiling four distinct references of the Ingenieur Chronograph Racer.  Basically your pick of a 45mm steel case (15mm thick) with slate or silver dial and metal bracelet or  rubber + textile inlay strap.

Having seen my earlier reviews, you already know that the 2013 IWC Ingenieur collection has been completely overhauled with a host of new features.  While the new Ingenieur Automatic Ref 3239 is more of a purist-inspired timepiece, the Ingenieur AMG “Black Series” Ceramic and Ingenieur Chronographs are unequivocal sports models inspired by the innovative range of materials used in Formula One.

The watch is powered by the new automatic mechanical IWC caliber 89361.  The 89361 is a flyback chronograph with small hacking seconds.    Of note here is the clever measurement of chronograph hours and minutes via a single totalizer.  Recorded hours and minutes are combined in the top totalizer which has two hands and is read off like an analogue watch display: for example “8 hours and 52 minutes”.   It is one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” type of innovations that really makes chronograph readability much easier.  Chronograph seconds are marked by the red-tipped central chronograph hand.  In order to put this simple but clever idea into practice, IWC’s engineers also developed a new pawl-winding system, tOhe specifics of which I will leave for another day.

Though a subtle detail, the font — on the tachy ring, the chrono counters, and yes even the date window — is modern and sporty-looking.  Put another way, absolutely perfect.   Note also the fine circular graining of the dial (following the bezel), and the partially snailed chronograph counters.

The dials on the new Ingenieur Chronograph Racer are amazing, no doubt about it.

All in all I must say that the Ingenieur Chronograph Racer is a brilliant new series from IWC.  The watch is appropriately sized, with super dial layout and design, and the mechanics of the caliber are also laudable.  This should be a hot watch in 2013.

More broadly, there’s still more to come for the Ingenieur collection in 2013 — some really superb pieces that you’ll get to see in January 2013.  The platinum Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon (Ref. 5900), the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. 3792), the  Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance (Ref. 3224) and more!  Stay tuned in here @Perpetuelle as we’ll be bringing it live!