IWC Ingenieur 3521
- See Also IWC Ingenieur
Both Rolex and IWC saw the need for a watch for engineers and scientists in the 1950s, combining rugged automatic movements, water-resistant cases, and anti-magnetic concepts in the Rolex Milgauss and this IWC Ingenieur. The concept has remained for over 50 years, with the IWC Ingenieur family spawning many models, including an iconic redesign by famed designer Gerald Genta, a pivot to motor racing, and the use of exotic materials like titanium and ceramic.
The Ingenieur had become somewhat stale by the mid 1970s but famed designer Gerald Genta had shown a stylistic path forward with his groundbreaking Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in 1972. Genta designed three “SL” or “Steel Line” watches for IWC, of which only the Ingenieur was presented for sale. The production “Ingenieur SL”, introduced in 1976. Like the Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and Vacheron Constantin 222, the new Ingenieur SL had a “sandwich” case, with both the caseback and bezel being removable. Measuring 40 mm by 38 mm around a 30 mm dial, the “Jumbo” nickname seemed appropriate for the time. Poor sales spurred IWC to search for a smaller and thinner movement to allow the watch to be reduced in size to 34 mm for the 1980s, with most sales focused on the "Skinny" Ref. 3305 and 3505/3506 quartz and automatic offerings. In 1989, IWC introduced an anti-magnetic movement in the Ref. 3508 "500,000 A/m" but this proved to be a technical failure.
IWC had stopped producing most in-house movements during the quartz crisis and turned to Jaeger-LeCoultre (then 55% owned by IWC parent company LMH) for an appropriately small and thin movement to pull the Ingenieur line back from the brink. The result was IWC's Cal. 887/2, which was based on the excellent Jaeger-LeCoultre Cal. 889/2. Also used in the competing Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Vacheron Constantin Overseas, this movement was the workhorse for thin dress watches.
The Ingenieur “Officially Certified Chronometer” strongly resembled the preceding Ref. 3508 "500,000 A/m" and Ref. 3506 "Skinny" Ingenieur SL Automatic. The case remained at 34.0 mm diameter and 8.8 mm thick and used Genta's novel tripartite design with a screw-down bezel much like a traditional waterproof caseback. The tonneau case also resembled Genta's Ref. 1832, with an integrated bracelet or optional crocodile leather strap.
The “Officially Certified Chronometer” Ingenieur was available in steel or gold filled with or without a bracelet (Ref. 3521 and 3522, respectively), in solid 18 karat yellow gold (Ref. 9239) or gold with a diamond bezel (Ref. 9259). It continued in production through 2001.
1990s Ingenieur Range
The Ingenieur range was much more limited in the 1990s, with just the three-handed Ref. 3508 or Ref. 3521, the Ref. 3733 Chronograph or Ref. 3805 Chrono Alarm, and the Ref. 3540 Perpetual Calendar, which was phased out before Ref. 3521 was introduced.
- 9239 (1993-2001) Yellow gold with gold bracelet
- 9259 (1993-2001) Yellow gold and diamond bezel with gold bracelet
- 34 or 36 jewels
- 28,800 A/h
- Ø 34.0 mm, H 8.8 mm
- Anti-magnetic soft iron inner case protects up to 40,000 A/m
- Screw-in bezel and caseback
- Waterproof to 6 or 12 ATM
- Black, gold, or white dial
- Bar markers
- Metal bracelet system with deployant clasp or leather strap