The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Charles Darwin” is a new chapter in IWC Schaffhausen’s ongoing history of modern, innovative diver’s watches. It is also the first time that the company has used bronze in a watch case, the metal alloy was one of the materials typically used in shipbuilding in the 19th century. This sporty timepiece pays homage to the renowned naturalist Charles Darwin, who gathered some of his fundamental insights into biodiversity on the Galapagos Islands.
The Charles Darwin special edition is not only something very special for the Aquatimer collection, it is also a premiere for the Schaffhausen-based company. Because, for the first time ever, IWC has used bronze for a watch case. The use of a material with such a long history – humans have made and used it for 5,000 years – was inspired by the ship made famous by Charles Darwin’s expedition. Owing to its corrosion-resistance bronze was widely used back then, before the invention of stainless steel, in shipbuilding: for portholes, bells, fittings and nautical instruments, among other things. In keeping with Charles Darwin’s observation that “Nothing is more constant than change”, and depending on the uses to which it is put, bronze takes on a slight patina and gets darker with time. This gives the watch a charm all of its own. While pure copper is relatively soft, the high-tech bronze alloy used by IWC contains aluminium, which makes it harder and more rigid. Apart from this, bronze is rugged and wear-resistant, perfect in a robust watch designed for expeditions and diving. The case and the designed external/internal rotating bezel are made of bronze. The material’s warm tone is reiterated in the luminescent coating on the hands, indices and the quarter-hour scale on the internal rotating bezel. A dynamic contrast is provided by the matte black rubber coating on the crown and push-buttons. The hardwearing material also makes the chronograph’s control elements easy to grip. The strap, with the new, patented IWC bracelet quick-change system, is likewise made of black rubber.
Like all the models of the 2014 Aquatimer generation, the chronograph features the innovative external/internal rotating bezel with the IWC SafeDive system. In order to mark the starting point of a dive or other event, the wearer turns the bezel, which clicks audibly into place in one-minute intervals, until the triangle on the internal rotating bezel points to the minute hand. During a dive, the diver can see how long he has already been underwater simply by reading the time off the scale on the internal bezel. The SafeDive system ensures that the rotating bezel on the interior of the watch only moves anticlockwise. This means that the elapsed dive time can only be extended and not shortened if the diver moves the bezel accidentally, and there is enough oxygen to ascend in any case. A newly designed sliding clutch system transmits the movement of the bezel to the inside of the case. The sophisticated mechanism is concealed under a protective cover at “9 o’clock”, and is the feature that immediately identifies the 2014 Aquatimer generation.
For the chronograph’s “engine room”, so to speak, IWC’s engineers chose the 89365 calibre, which is manufactured entirely in IWC’s own workshops. Fitted with IWC’s efficient double-pawl winding system, and protected against shocks and impacts, it is the perfect choice for a watch designed to be worn wherever and whenever things start getting tough. When recording times, the central chronograph hand shows the stopped time in seconds, while the hand in the subdial at “12 o’clock” displays the number of elapsed minutes. The watch also has an integrated flyback function, when the reset push-button is pressed, the chronograph seconds hand jumps to zero and instantly starts recording a new time. The small seconds hand rotating at “6 o’clock” indicates that the watch is functioning normally. It can also be stopped for synchronization purposes.
The engraving on the back of the watch shows a distinctive portrait of Charles Darwin, whose revolutionary theory of evolution changed the thinking of human beings forever. Equipped with water-resistance to 30 bar, this special edition is particularly suitable for modern expeditions both above and below water.
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