I liked the Ingenieur Collection launched at SIHH 2013 but the new IWC Aquatimer “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau replica Collection, in my opinion, puts its older sibling in the shade. A successful blend of bold lines, judicious use of colour and the intrinsic robustness, typical of diver’s watches, conspire to seduce would-be buyers.
Presented in a 44 mm stainless steel case, combined with a black rubber strap, it has chiseled features befitting a Hollywood heart-throb. I have a profound liking for both chronographs and diver’s watches. They confer practicality and in terms of the latter, a robust mien. This particular Aquatimer features hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, stop watch function, day, date and small hacking seconds. With a maximum water resistance of 300 m, the Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jaques-Yves Cousteau” features a depiction of the famous Frenchman on its caseback, wearing his trademark beanie hat.
Although I could have selected more than one Aquatimer model, I did not wish to be accused of favouritism. Therefore, I have whittled down my list of favourites to just one model, the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jaques-Yves Cousteau”. The blue dial, like a metaphor for sub-aquatic use, is perfectly attuned to current tastes. I did wonder whether blue dial timepieces would cease being popular a few years ago, but the thirst for mens fake IWC Aquatimer watches incorporating this particular hue shows no sign of abating any time soon. IWC has hit the mark with a handsome array of models; I tried on every version of the Aquatimer Collection and failed to find a model I did not like. There were no potentially ageing spinsters in the range that would remain unloved for eternity.
The external / internal rotating bezel, with SafeDive system, is another notable feature on all Aquatimer watches. The external bezel, courtesy of a drive wheel and drive pinion within the case, turns the internal bezel. It is simple to use, has a pleasing feel and its design mitigates the risk of water ingress. Moreover, the SafeDive system means that whilst the external bezel will turn in either direction, only anti-clockwise movements of the bezel influence the position of the inner bezel. If the external bezel is turned clockwise, the drive wheel within won’t mesh with the inner rotating bezel and the position of the inner bezel will remain unchanged.
The IWC bracelet quick-change system provides a user-friendly method of swapping the rubber strap for a bracelet or vice-versa. All straps and bracelets across the Aquatimer range are interchangeable. Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre have offered a similar system for sometime and it is good to see IWC join them. Like many watch collectors, I can see much appeal in being able to transform the appearance of a cherished IWC copy watch with an alternative strap or bracelet.