IWC has in recent years has taken the SIHH as an opportunity to focus on each of its core collections, and this year, it’s the Aquatimer collection’s turn. We gave you a first look at some of the new pieces via Revolution Switzerland Editor in Chief Sophie Furley here, and today we’re pleased to bring you our first look at two of the complications IWC has introduced this year: the Deep Three, a new version of IWC’s iconic Deep series of dive watches with depth gauges; a new Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date Month; and, as well, a new 2000m water-resistant version of its Aquatimer 2000. The hallmarks of the new collection: design cues taken from the classic IWC/Porsche Design collaboration, the Ocean 2000; and a new internal/external, one way rotating bezel system, in which rotating the outer bezel causes the inner bezel to turn. IWC’s dubbed the latter the SafeDive system.
The Perpetual Calendar Digital Date Month is a 49mm behemoth ; inside is the IWC calbre 89801. This is a variation on the IWC perpetual calendar movement, calibre 89800, which was introduced in 2009: a perpetual calendar and chronograph, self-winding with a 68 hour power reserve and a modern, fairly high beat frequency of 28,800 vph. It has been used since 2009 in several different watches, including an Ingenieur last year as well as a Da Vinci model; this year it’s offered in an Aquatimer case. While this isn’t a diver’s watch per se –it’s water resistant to 10 bar, or 100 meters (the ISO standard for dive watches specifies a minimum water resistance of 200 meters) it does include the external/internal one way rotating bezel system that’s the hallmark of this year’s revamped Aquatimer collection. The Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date Month is a limited edition of 50 pieces.
This is also the year IWC has chosen to introduce a new version of its sophisticated diver’s depth gauge watch –the Deep Three. The first Aquatimer in the “Deep” series was the Deep One, which was introduced in 1999 –a marvelous instrument, it used a Bourdain tube system for the depth gauge, and had an inner rotating bezel set by a crown at 2:00. This system makes use of a semicircular, blind-ended metal tube; water enters the tube, which straightens gradually as pressure increases in the tube relative to sea level air pressure in the case. The mechanism is very costly to produce and adjust, and has the disadvantage of allowing ingress of water to case. To address these problems, IWC introduced the Deep Two, in 2009. The Deep Two, water resistant to 12 bar, measures depths of up to 50 meters but dispenses with the Bourdain tube system of the Deep One in favor of a membrane set into the case flank, which is gradually deformed inward as external pressure increases. Careful calculation of the gearing system that controls the depth gauge is necessary, as the deformation of the material used for the membrane is non-linear. Deep Two also featured a standard, external one-way timing bezel –and a running seconds hand for confirmation of function, something that was absent in Deep One.
For 2014 the Deep Three has the same diameter as Deep Two –46mm –but is a much lighter watch thanks to an all-titanium case. Deep Three also uses the external/internal bezel SafeDive system. Deep Three uses the same depth gauge system as Deep Two, but is being offered only in titanium, to shave off extra weight. The movement is calbire 30120, self-winding with a 42 hour power reserve. Water resistant to 10 bar, it’s certainly a big watch but size is not a bad thing at all in a diver’s watch, where maximum legibility is a primary concern.
The IWC Aquatimer 2000 is based on one of the great design/dive watches of all time: the 1984, all-titanium (then a rarity –its immediate predecessor, the Porsche Design Titan Chronograph, of 1980, was the first watch with both a titanium case and integrated titanium bracelet) Ocean 2000. This watch had a water resistance of 2000 meters –revolutionary then and even today, still at the extreme end of what modern dive watches have to offer.
The Aquatiimer 2000 is also water resistant to 200 bar/2000 meters; It’s offered in titanium only (naturally) and uses the IWC in-house self-winding calibre 80110, with a 44 hour power reserve. At 46mm, it’s noticeably larger than the 42mm Aquatimer Automatic, which at 42mm is now the smallest watch in the new Aquatimer collection. Vintage enthusiasts will immediately recognize the distinctive, almost elliptical knurling on the Aquatimer 2000’s bezel as being virtually identical to that on the Ocean 2000, and of course, the Aquatimer 2000 uses the DiveSafe internal/external bezel as well.
Finally, we’d like to take you inside the mechanism of the DiveSafe bezel.
Above is a view of the entire system, as seen from below (note that the winding crown is on the left.) The crown-like projection on the left-hand side (and on the right hand side, above) of the cases of watches using the DiveSafe system houses a spring loaded piston that’s a crucial part of the mechanism. The outer bezel has teeth on its underside which gear to teeth on a gear on the portion of the shaft outside the case; this rotating shaft transmits movement to the internal gear system that moves the inner bezel. The crown wheel teeth inside are designed so that the bezel can turn only in one direction –as with any unidirectional bezel on a diver’s watch, an important safety feature as well as a requirement of the international standard for diver’s watches, ISO 6425.
Jack Forster is the US Editor-in-Chief of Revolution Magazine. Follow revolutionmag on Instagram, Revolution Online on Facebook, and Revo_Online on Twitter. Read Revolution International Edition on iPad or Android via the Zinio Newsstand app; search for Revolution Digital.