IWC Ingenieur Automatic

Form und Technik: IWC Ingenieur Automatic

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IWC Schaffhausen launched at Watches & Wonders 2023, a newly engineered automatic watch inspired by the legendary Ingenieur SL that the genius designer Gérald Genta created. The new IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 was launched in three versions in steel, the object of today’s review and a lighter version in titanium.

Gérald  Genta
©Gérald Genta Heritage Association

Gérald Genta – the most successful and innovative watch designer

A few persons in the entire watch history left a deep mark on the collective knowledge and enriched watchmaking in an unprecedented way. One of them is Gérald Genta, maybe the most important watch designer of all times, but most certainly the one that shaped the modern wristwatch as we adore it today.

I designed watches for Chaumet, Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as the entire Breguet watch collection, while at the same time working for Bvlgari. It thus came about that I designed Bvlgari-Bvlgari, with the brand name engraved on the bezel twice. In the beginning they thought the design was crass, but the watch later met with great success, which it continues to enjoy down to this day. As for IWC, it was a man who worked for that company, called Ott, who commissioned me to design a watch for them. And it was thus that I came to create the Ingénieur watch.

Gérald Genta – in interview with Constantin Stikas
  • INGENIEUR SL – AUTOMATIC (1976), REF. 1832
  • INGENIEUR - 500'000 A/M (1989), REF. 3508

The Ingenieur and a bit of IWC history

“The Ingenieur had originally been introduced in 1955. With the first automatic movement developed in Schaffhausen and a soft-iron inner case for magnetic field protection, this watch marked a technical milestone for IWC – also evident in the name Ingenieur, the word used in German and French for Engineer. With his unique artistic signature, Genta succeeded in giving the Ingenieur a new, highly distinctive visual identity. His Ingenieur SL, launched in 1976 as the talking piece of IWC’s SL collection of steel luxury watches, featured bold aesthetic codes such as a screw-on bezel with five recesses, a dial with a unique pattern, and an integrated H-link bracelet. With its innovative and disruptive design, the Ingenieur SL was ahead of its time. Today, Gérald Genta’s creation is a collector’s favourite and one of the most sought-after models from the history of IWC.” – IWC Website.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic

The Ingenieur SL, as known as reference 1832 from the 1970s, was a legend of its own, and it still is one of the high search-after collector pieces. I think IWC was kind of reluctant to reissue that legend again. There was a fifty/fifty chance to be a bluff, to create a huge backlash, to generate a failure… So they have to calculate all the risks and create a piece worthy of the original Ingénieur. This year they launched it with a huge 70s-inspired theme booth at Watches & Wonders. In the wrist-roll clip in the video above, can be shortly seen the grandeur of the IWC booth.

The unmistakable Genta design

At the beginning of the 70s, the steel sports watch was completely different from what we consider today. Genta changed and shaped our minds with the first design of the Royal Oak in 1970 (finalised in 1972). While the AP RO was not successful at first due to its big size for the time (36mm by 38mm) and unusual configuration with screws on top. Now is considered one of the most iconic integrated bracelet steel watches. A few years later, IWC launched the Ingenieur, which followed the Genta known style but became much more accessible to today`s collector (with excellent shaped examples under 10k).

  • IWC Ingenieur Automatic
  • IWC Ingenieur Automatic
  • IWC Ingenieur Automatic

Featuring a diameter of 40 mm, the stainless steel case measures 45.7 mm lug-to-lug, making it a comfortable companion. The raised bezel with polished edgel features functional screws (a must for this design and a functional advantage) with polished and slightly rounded heads.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic

The prominent middle link was redesigned to enhance ergonomics. All the elements are elaborately finished using a combination of polished and satin-finished surfaces. The appearance is on the spectacular side, the watch having the advantage of being easily recognisable – an instant icon. The brushed caseband integrates the newly designed crown protection, further underscoring the sporty character of the timepiece. As now used to it, the steel crown features the IWC “Probus Scafusia” (a Latin phrase meaning “good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen“. The motto was established in 1903).

  • IWC Ingenieur Automatic

The bracelet is finished with an elaborately finished butterfly folding clasp, highlighting the beauty and thinness of the H-link bracelet. The clasp features the IWC name deep engraved. A detail that I enjoy is the perlage finish featured under the links that reveal the care for attention and details.

  • IWC Ingenieur Automatic
  • IWC Ingenieur Automatic
  • IWC Ingenieur Automatic

A stylised grid dial

Besides the exceptional case and bracelet construction, the dial follows the nice design rules. Consisting of small lines in offset by each other with square points, the dial is stamped into the soft iron blank before it is galvanised. Finally, luminescence appliques add depth another level of depth. The baton hands also feature a luminescent insert offering easy legibility, even at night.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic

A highlighted aperture reveals the date at 3 o’clock. The complication uses the same colour scheme as the dial. The brand name/logo is printed at the upper side of the dial, balanced by the name Ingenieur at the bottom.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic

The dial is absolutely mesmerising … The light plays on its surface and creates contrasting zones that change according to the angles on which the light falls. My favourite is the aqua dial which tends to go from dark blue to light with just a small wrist move. Each dial can be seen in the hands-on video from the beginning of the article.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic

A movement protected from magnetism

IWC Ingenieur Automatic is powered by the Calibre 32111. This movement is part of the rugged and reliable 3200-calibre family. The 4 Hz movement uses the escape wheel and the pallet lever made of an incredibly wear-resistant material – silicon. A bidirectional pawl-winding system supplies the energy required by the movement. Similarly to a Pellaton automatic winding system, it winds the mainspring when the rotor is moving in either direction, offering a staggering power reserve of 120 hours. Continuing the Ingenieur tradition, the movement is encapsulated in a soft-iron inner case that efficiently protects it from the effects of magnetic fields.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic

Final words

IWC Ingenieur Automatic is a fabulous sports watch that could be a worthy successor of the original Ingenieur. The new collection appeals to the old hard-core IWC collectors but also can conquer the hearts of the new generations of collectors. The watch feels good on the wrist – the weight is expected for a full metal bracelet.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic

The only problem I see with the collection is 12.900 € RRP. I can only imagine that IWC took a serious margin to counterbalance the financial incertitude of the actual times when prices are skyrocketing for raw materials, and inflation is wild. Nevertheless, the IWC Ingenieur Automatic is a spectacular watch.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic

IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 Technical Specifications


  • IW328901 – 12.900 € / CHF 12’000 / $ 11,700 / £10,500 / ¥ 92,800
  • IW328902 – 12.900 € / CHF 12’000 / $ 11,700 / £10,500 / ¥ 92,800
  • IW328903 – 12.900 € / CHF 12’000 / $ 11,700 / £10,500 / ¥ 92,800


  • Mechanical movement
  • Date display
  • Central hacking seconds
  • Screw-in crown
  • A soft-iron inner case for magnetic field protection


  • IWC-manufactured calibre 32111
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph / 4 Hz
  • Jewels: 21
  • Power reserve: 120 h
  • Winding: Automatic


  • Ref. IW328901: Stainless steel case, black dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliques, integrated stainless steel bracelet with butterfly folding clasp
  • Ref. IW328902: Stainless steel case, silver-plated dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliques, integrated stainless steel bracelet with butterfly folding clasp
  • Ref. IW328903: Stainless steel case, aqua dial, rhodium-plated hands and appliques, integrated stainless steel bracelet with polished centre links and butterfly folding clasp
  • Glass: Sapphire, convex, antireflective coating on both sides
  • Water-resistant: 10 bar
  • Diameter: 40 mm
  • Height: 10.8 mm

IWC Schaffhausen is a leading Swiss luxury watch manufacturer based in Schaffhausen in the north-eastern part of Switzerland. With collections like the Portugieser and the Pilot’s Watches, the brand covers the whole spectrum from elegant to sports watches. Founded in 1868 by the American watchmaker and engineer Florentine Ariosto Jones, IWC is known for its unique engineering approach to watchmaking, combining the best of human craftsmanship and creativity with cutting-edge technology and processes. 
Over its more than 150-year history, IWC has earned a reputation for creating professional instrument watches and functional complications, especially chronographs and calendars, which are ingenious, robust, and easy for customers to use. A pioneer in the use of titanium and ceramics, IWC today specialises in highly engineered watch cases manufactured from advanced materials, such as coloured ceramics, Ceratanium®, and titanium aluminide. 
A leader in sustainable luxury watchmaking, IWC sources materials responsibly and takes action to minimise its impact on the environment. Along the pillars of transparency, circularity, and responsibility, the brand crafts timepieces built to last for generations and continuously improves every element of how it manufactures, distributes, and services its products in the most responsible way. IWC also partners with organisations that work globally to support children and young people.

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