“I come from a small German town, Kleve, near the Dutch border and I remember my childhood as very creative with my liberal-minded parents. At least it was before my three siblings were born. When the family grew from three to six, my crayon drawings on wallpaper and floors were frowned upon,” IWC Creative Director Christian Knoop tells me over burgers at the quaint The Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam where IWC have their Northern Europe headquarters. It is also the city where Knoop spent two years designing industrial products and overseeing brand strategy for a handful of companies including Philips Design in Amsterdam.
I am sitting with Knoop to have a look at the all-new Aquatimer models that are the talking pieces from IWC in 2014. But before we go through these watches I want to know about his five years with the famed Swiss Rolex Replica watch manufacturer.
“I was headhunted for the job and in the beginning I wasn’t told the brand. I was just informed about a watch company that was looking for a creative person with a 360-degree vision for the brand as whole and not just the Replica Watches UK. I was of course very excited when I realised that IWC was the mystery brand.”
The bronze version of the Aquatimer is fitted with a rubber strap only.
Creative Director of everything IWC
Even if Knoop was excited to know that IWC wanted him to work for them, it was not a longstanding interest in watches that made him decide to take the job. “I don’t even recall ever sketching a single watch prior to that. My interest in watches has developed throughout the years of working with the talented team of 15 designers that take care of the actual watch design as well as graphic design and trade marketing. I oversee the whole process. From watches to brochures and boutique interiors. I like to design watches, but I don’t see myself a watch designer,” Knoop claims, even though he likes to refer to Ferdinand E. Porsche as the inspiration for the new Aquatimer range. “I see the 1982 Porsche Design Ocean 2000 as an iconic timepiece,” says Christian with a smile revealing genuine affection for the legendary designer who introduced the first titanium watches produced by IWC.
The Aquatimer models in 2014 do not really look anything like the illustrious Ocean 2000, nor is any of the new range made of titanium. Nevertheless, Knoop uses this watch as a reference. “I think the Ocean 2000 had a pure design and perfect aesthetics.”
Christian Knoop wearing the striking bronze Aquatimer with an inhouse chronograph movement, Calibre 89365.
© Kristian Haagen
It is however the very first IWC Aquatimer from 1967 that is the true reference for the creation of the new Aquatimer, as this original diver’s Replica Watches featured an inner turning bezel to read decompression times when diving. While the new Aquatimer does indeed feature this inner bezel, it also has an outer bezel which admittedly might be a nod to the aforementioned Ocean 2000. But how does this double-bezel system work?
IWC call their new internal/external bezel feature the SafeDive system. The mechanism combines the advantages of an internal rotating bezel, which engages in steps of precisely one minute and protects the mechanism against dirt and seawater, with the ease of use of an external rotating bezel that can be easily handled by a diver wearing gloves or with cold fingers. A sliding clutch system connects the two rings by transmitting the rotation of the external bezel to the inside of the case and the internal bezel.
This SafeDive system is truly a fascinating new feature, a first for me at least. But on top of this novel device, the 2014 Aquatimer models are also equipped with a new and improved bracelet quick-change system designed and developed by IWC. Although the current collection also offers a quick-change system, the latter was developed and patented by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands” offers an attractive black coating of galvanized rubber.
The underwater catwalk
In 2014 the Aquatimer also offer a spectacular bronze chronograph version, the Chronograph Edition “Expedition Charles Darwin”. This is a first for the Swiss Replica Watches manufacturer, which has never used this material before. It is not a limited edition, meaning fans of this popular material do not need to panic.
Alongside the bronze chronograph model, the 2014 Aquatimer collection offers the Chronograph Edition “50 Years Science for Galapagos” limited to 500 pieces, the Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau”, the Chronograph in stainless steel with a black or silver-plated dial and the Automatic in stainless steel with black or silver-plated dial, complemented by a matching black rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet.
The Aquatimer Automatic 2000 pay homage to the Ocean 2000 as well as acknowledging the tradition of deep-diving watches from the Swiss manufacturer. The movement is inhouse Calibre 80110.
For dedicated IWC fans of haute horlogerie, the Aquatimer collection released in 2014 also offers a spectacular 49-millimetre Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month which is limited to only 50 pieces. This is actually the biggest watch offered by IWC since the original B-Uhr aka Big Pilot was launched in 1940.
Avid divers will also be pleased to know that IWC is releasing the Aquatimer
Deep Three in titanium (Ref. IW355701) with depth gauge as well as the Aquatimer Automatic 2000 that pays tribute not only to the Ocean 2000, but also to the tradition of truly deep-diving Breitling Replica Watches from IWC.
The new IWC Aquatimer will be presented during the SIHH watch show in Geneva from January 20th to 24th 2014.