IWC Ingenieur Automatic Vintage 1955
IWC Ingenieur Automatic Vintage 1955 ST
IWC Ingenieur Automatic Vintage 1955 RG
IWC Ingenieur Automatic Vintage 1955 WG
IWC Ingenieur Automatic Vintage 1955 RS
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.
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 the “Officially Certified Chronometer”. But Cal. 887/2 (based on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Cal. 889/2) was also used in the competing Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Vacheron Constantin Overseas. IWC had a great deal of experience with the ETA 7750 chronograph movement and used this basic design to create the new in-house Cal. 80000 family, launched in 2005 with the Ref. 3227 Ingenieur Automatic.
That same movement was used in this 2008 Ref. 3233 “Vintage” Ingenieur, a model meant to recall the original Ref. 666AD from 1955. Like the original, the “Vintage” Ingenieur had a conventional case unlike Genta's Ingenieur SL and stood out strongly among the high-tech Ingenieur models offered that year as well as the existing Ref. 3227 Ingenieur Automatic. It used dauphane hands like the original but the pointed bar markers, sculpted bezel, and pointed lugs more resembled the Ref. 866 of 1967. The 42.5 mm case was much larger than the originals, however.
The display caseback showed IWC's in-house Cal. 80111 and revealed another first This Ingenieur lacked any resistance to magnetism, once a hallmark feature of the model. This feature would be omitted from many future models in the Ingenieur line, much to the chagrin of enthusiasts.
The “Vintage” Ingenieur was initially offered in a limited edition of 500 examples in platinum, Ref. IW323305. This was followed shortly after by an unlimited edition in steel (Ref. IW323301), rose gold (Ref. IW323303), and white gold (Ref. 323304). All featured an alligator leather strap rather than a bracelet. Ref. IW323310 “Edition Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” was released in 2011 as a limited edition of 1,000 in stainless steel with a blue dial.
The Ingenieur line was entirely refreshed in 2005 focusing on the Ingenieur Automatic, Ref. 3227 and co-branded Mercedes AMG model, the smaller "Midsize" Ref. 4515, and the Ingenieur Chronograph, Ref. 3725. The Ref. 3227 Ingenieur Automatic was retired in 2009 as the "Vintage" Ingenieur Automatic, Ref. 3233 appeared on the scene.
In 2011, the Ingenieur design was rebooted again with a new case, first in the Ref. 3765 Ingenieur Double Chronograph and later on a variety of other models. The entire range was refreshed in 2013, centered on the Mercedes-AMG partnership.