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July 20, 2024

IWC Ingenieur 40 Titanium: 50 shades of grey

Last year, at Watches and Wonders, IWC was one of those brands (quite a few in fact) that chose to present only one model. But what a model! In fact, the new Ingenieur 40 was one of the most resounding successes of 2023, both with the critique and on the market – so much so that waiting lists for the version with the blue-green Aqua dial had to be created very quickly. A boom certainly foreseen by IWC’s top management, but that perhaps has gone beyond the most optimistic forecasts.

IWC Ingenieur Steel

We recounted the story of the Ingenieur in an article in March 2023 and talked about the new references designed by Gerald Genta. The stars of that photo shoot were the watches with black and silver dials and steel cases and bracelets. In Geneva, however, IWC had brought not only the triad with a steel case, but also a reference in titanium. A watch that had initially gone under the radar, so much so that many trade journalists and insiders discovered its existence directly at Watches and Wonders.

IWC INGENIEUR AND THE ADVANTAGES OF TITANIUM

The Ingenieur 40 in titanium is not strikingly different from the steel models, except in terms of aesthetics. The steel triad is strongly characterised by the dials’ colours. Black, silver, and especially Aqua create a striking contrast with the polished and satin-finished steel structure formed by the combined case and integrated bracelet.

IWC Ingenieur Titanium

The titanium reference, on the other hand, still presents a sporty look, but with a touch of elegance given by the watch’s substantial monochrome. The grey dial, together with the touches of grey that characterise the case and bracelet thanks to their particular manufacture, create a visual impression of soft chromatic uniformity that distinguishes this model from those in steel more than one might think.

With this reference of the Ingenieur 40, it is not just a matter of using grade 5 titanium for the case and bracelet. What makes the difference is the processing of the metal: it has in fact been sandblasted, so to give a nice texture to the touch and, to the eye, the chromatic uniformity we wrote about above. Remember that titanium finishing is a complex and even dangerous process, given the tendency of the dust generated during the machining process to catch fire.

IWC Ingenieur Titanium
IWC Ingenieur Titanium

Moreover, the weight advantage is considerable. Although the watch is small in size (40 mm in diameter and 10.7 thick), the steel case and bracelet plus the movement weigh around 150 grams. Considering that titanium is about 45% lighter, the Ingenieur made of it is well under a pound.

INSPIRATION AND INTERPRETATION

The choice of titanium therefore is based on many reasons and guarantees many advantages. Certainly, the uniform grey aesthetics differentiate this watch from the mood that characterised the Ingenieur Jumbo SL of the 1970s and its successors by bringing a modern touch. It features all the new design codes seen on the steel models, including redesigned crown guards and screws on the bezel.

IWC Ingenieur Titanium

These details are reminiscent of Genta’s 1976 design, which still stirs the spirits of enthusiasts today. Luckily for them, IWC has made the Ingenieur 40 Titanium more widely available, for example at the flagship boutiques in Rome and Milan, although demand for this model continues to be high.

IWC Ingenieur Titanium
IWC Ingenieur Titanium

Even on the titanium model, the dial was created using the very special grid pattern found on the steel references. Composed of small lines offset by 90 degrees from each other, it recalls a design from the 1970s, with a special feature: it is stamped on a soft iron surface and then galvanised. The special grey shade makes it soft to the eye, and makes both the IWC logo at 12 o’clock and the Ingenieur inscription at 6 o’clock almost disappear.

IWC’S STRATEGY FOR THE INGENIEUR COLLECTION

To create the Ingenieur 40 in titanium, IWC chose to play it safe by casing the same movement found in the steel references, the self-winding IWC 32111 calibre. Although IWC identifies it as an IWC-manufactured movement, it is a calibre derived from the IWC 32110, which in turn was developed on the basis of the ETA 2892-A2.

IWC Ingenieur Titanium
IWC Ingenieur Titanium

Not surprisingly, this is one of the automatic movements with the best reputation on the market today, thanks to its long history which has enabled it to guarantee a reliability that has few equals. This is why IWC also mounts it on certain Aquatimer, Portofino and Pilot’s Watch references. It works at 28,800 vibrations per hour and, above all, has a power reserve of five days – which puts it at the top of the performance class.

IWC Ingenieur Titanium
IWC Ingenieur Titanium

In our opinion, therefore, the new IWC Ingenieur 40 in titanium is an excellent alternative to the steel versions. Its refinement and the skilful use of materials place the entire collection in the high end of the time-only watches market. In particular, the titanium reference has a retail price of 16,200 euros, a figure that makes it all the more evident that IWC’s strategy for the new line is to reposition it completely. Regardless of the price, the titanium reference remains, in our opinion, one of the top watches for 2024.