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 re-launched the Ingenieur line in 2005 with the in-house Cal. 80111 Ref. 3227 Ingenieur Automatic, styled like Genta's original Ingenieur SL before going “Vintage” with the successor, Ref. 3233 Ingenieur. But neither of these achieved the sales success of other Ingenieur models, so IWC rebooted the line again for 2013 focused on their partnership with Mercedes-AMG. This required a high-tech but affordable basic Ingenieur model.
The base model of the new Ingenieur lineup was this Ref. 3239 Ingenieur Automatic. It reinterpreted the Genta case once again, mixing in design elements of the successful Ingenieur Chronograph and AMG models of Ref. 3227 from a decade earlier. The result was an attractive update to the Ingenieur SL style, with a sculpted bezel and triangular crown guards being the most obvious features. Looking closer, one notices that all numerals have been excised from the hour and seconds tracks, though the dual-level dial suggests the Ref. IW322702 AMG Ingenieur in other aspects. The bar markers are simplified like the "Vintage" Ingenieur but the rest of the design is more like contemporary offerings like the Ref. 3236 "Mission Earth".
One welcome element of the new reference is the return of a soft iron inner case for magnetic resistance, a feature missing from the “Vintage” model and many other contemporary Ingenieur offerings. But the movement is no longer an in-house design, with “Cal. 30110” being based on the widely used ETA 2892-A2. The result is a less-expensive offering, even with a steel bracelet.
Another major departure from previous offerings was the lack of precious metals or exotic materials for the Ingenieur Automatic. Instead, every reference is crafted of stainless steel with the various reference numbers indicating dial variations.
The Ingenieur line was entirely refreshed in 2013 focusing on the Mercedes-AMG partnership. The base offering was the Ref. 3239 Ingenieur Automatic, with most of the focus on the exotic Ref. 5900 Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon and Ref. 3792 Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month.