Hands-On with the IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Mercedes-AMG 50th Anniversary

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The 45mm red gold automatic timepiece is powered by the newest manufacture 51950 calibre using a seven-day power reserve. It’s limited to 50 pieces.Portugieser Chronograph Edition 150 Years features a manufacture 69335 calibre that stems in the 69000 calibre family, a first for the new. The other two members of this household the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Edition 150 decades, and the Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition 150 Years are interpreted using the Jubilee design codes. In the Portofino household are three new versions. The 45mm Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Stage Edition 150 Years comes in three versions (red gold with a blue dial, and stainless steel with white and blue dials) and has an eight-day power book. Inside ticks the fabrication 59800 calibre. Both the 42mm Portofino Chronograph Edition 150 decades and the 40mm Portofino Automatic Edition 150 decades now come dressed in the Jubilee collections white and blue colors. Three new interpretations of this Big Pilots Watches can also be one of the offers: the Yearly Calendar Edition 150 Years, the Big Date Edition 150 Years, along with the Chronograph Edition 150 Decades. The Da Vinci family presents two models, one of which is devoted for girls. The Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition 150 Years is the smallest size available from the group. Two variations are available: white dials housed inside reddish gold or white gold cases paved with white diamonds. They’re limited to 50 pieces each.

In the last couple of years the IWC Ingenieur line has evolved from a chunky watches into something slimmer, simpler and slightly retro. While most of the Ingenieur watches are pretty straightforward in style, the Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” has more zing, along with a strong tactile feel.

Made for the golden jubilee of the Mercedes division famous for its aggressively powerful sedans (albeit ones with smaller engines now that emissions rules are starting to bite), the chronograph takes on a heavily automotive look. It’s not a novel look – the dial is modelled on a speedometer – but attractive and legible.

The AMG edition next to another Ingenieur chronograph that’s essentially the same watch but less interesting

Looking clean and functional, the dial is silver-plated, with red accents giving it a bit of flair. And instead of hour indices, the dial has oversized five-minute markers. The sub-seconds hand at six is shaped like a lightning bolt, a motif derived from the Ingenieur logo and one that’s faintly cheesy but fun.

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 2

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 5

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 8

The case is somewhat large at 44.3mm wide and 15.9mm, but feels agile because it’s titanium. While the stock versions of the Ingenieur chronograph are either 18k gold, which is ponderous, or steel, which feels entry-level, the titanium models have a light, solid feel. IWC definitely thinks steel, however, has greater ordinary appeal, as all of the titanium models are limited editions.

While titanium is a common material for watch cases, the finish of the AMG chronograph is not. The case is mirror-finished on the bezel and tops of the lugs, instead of being blasted or brushed as is common for titanium. Matte finishes are easier due to the nature of the metal, but a polished finish looks better. But because of that very nature of the metal the polished surface of the titanium is not quite as flat and mirror-like as when done on steel, though that’s barely discernible for most observers.

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 3

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 4

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 9

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 10

Like most other limited edition Ingenieur chronographs, the AMG edition contains the cal. 89361 (the ordinary models are powered by a Valjoux 7750). That makes the watch significantly pricier compared to the ordinary model, by some 40% or so, but the movement is significantly superior.

The cal. 89361 has co-axial hour and minute registers at 12 o’clock, leaving the dial both symmetrical and free of clutter, while also having a flyback function and lengthy 68-hour power reserve. Like most high-end modern chronograph movements, it also boasts a column wheel and vertical clutch.

It is an in-house movement, though like the rest of the 8000 series calibres it shares some basic parts (like the gear train) with the Valjoux 7750. However good it is the movement is unfortunately hidden behind a disc perforated to resemble a brake disc.

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 6

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 7

Like the typical Ingenieur watch, the AMG chronograph features a soft iron cage around the movement to shield it from magnetism. Exactly the same as the original Ingenieur had 60 years ago, it’s a low-tech solution to magnetism but effective.

IWC Ingenieur Chronograph 50th Anniversary AMG 11

Price and availability

The Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” (ref. IW380902) is limited to 250 watches, and priced at SFr12,600. It is available from IWC boutiques and retailers.