IWC Aquatimer: Diving Deep Since 1967
The Aquatimer is IWC Schaffhausen's diving watch. Its main feature is its internal ring for safely measuring dive times. Top models are water resistant to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft) and come with a perpetual calendar and chronograph function.
5 Reasons to Buy an Aquatimer
- Unique rotating bezel with the SafeDive system
- Rare limited editions
- Water-resistant to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft)
- Deep Three model with a depth gauge
- Top models with a chronograph function and perpetual calendar
A Versatile Swiss Diving Watch
The IWC Aquatimer is innovative, robust, and versatile. Its distinctive internal bezel dates all the way back to the original model from 1967. The oldest version has an additional crown for operating the special bezel. IWC has returned to a unidirectional internal diving bezel for their more recent Aquatimer models, though it's now operated using an external bezel and not a crown. This so-called SafeDive system is unique to IWC and is a key feature of Aquatimer watches.
The Aquatimer 2000 is this collection's most robust model; it is water resistant to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,652 ft). This sports watch traces its root back to the Porsche Design Ocean 2000 from 1982, which is also water resistant to 200 bar and made of titanium. IWC revolutionized watchmaking in the early 1980s with their titanium watches.
IWC released the collection's top model, the Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition "50 Years Aquatimer," in 2017 in celebration of the Aquatimer's 50th anniversary. This 49-mm timepiece features the same in-house caliber 89802 found in IWC's Ingenieur collection. This movement comes with automatic winding, a 68-hour power reserve, a chronograph with a flyback function, and a perpetual calendar with double-digit date and month displays.
The case is made of matte black Ceratanium – a titanium-based alloy developed by IWC. Its ceramic surface makes the case especially scratch resistant. What's more, unlike conventional ceramic watches, Ceratanium is unbreakable thanks to its titanium base. The Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition "50 Years Aquatimer" is limited to a run of 50 pieces and has an official list price of 46,800 USD.
How much does the IWC Aquatimer cost?
|Model||Price (approx.)||Water resistance|
|Aquatimer Automatic, ref. IW329001||4,500 USD||300 m (30 bar, 984 ft)|
|Aquatimer 2000, ref. IW353803||4,500 USD||2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft)|
|Aquatimer Chronograph, ref. IW376803||5,500 USD||300 m (30 bar, 984 ft)|
|Aquatimer Split-Minute Chronograph, ref. IW372301||6,600 USD||100 m (10 bar, 328 ft)|
|Aquatimer Chronograph Edition "Expedition Charles Darwin," ref. IW379503||8,400 USD||300 m (30 bar, 984 ft)|
|Aquatimer Deep Three, ref. IW355701||14,000 USD||100 m (10 bar, 328 ft)|
Prices for the IWC Aquatimer Automatic
The Aquatimer Automatic is IWC's standard diving watch. Its features include three hands generously coated in luminous material, a date display at 3 o'clock, and an internal diving bezel. Older models used an additional crown at 4 o'clock to operate the bezel, while more recent versions use an external bezel. While the external bezel is bidirectional, the internal bezel can only rotate counterclockwise thanks to a sophisticated sliding clutch system. The first 15 minutes are clearly marked so you can easily keep an eye on the time left in your dive.
The Aquatimer Automatic ref. IW3290 is 42 mm in diameter and 14.2 mm thick. The automatic caliber 30120 powers its hands. This precise movement is based on the ETA 2892-A2 and comes with a 42-hour power reserve. A screw-down crown and case back guarantee water resistance to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft).
A mint-condition IWC Aquatimer Automatic costs about 4,500 USD on a rubber strap. Pre-owned pieces go for around 4,000 USD. The version on a stainless steel bracelet costs a few hundred dollars more both new and used.
Older Aquatimer Automatic models bear the reference number IW3548 and sell for under 3,400 USD in very good condition. IWC produced this dual-crown timepiece from 2004 to 2014. Its 42-mm stainless steel case is water resistant to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft).
Water-Resistant to 2,000 m: The IWC Aquatimer 2000
If you're looking for a particularly robust diving watch, the Aquatimer 2000 is a great option. As its name suggests, this automatic watch is water resistant to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft). That's more than enough for most recreational and professional divers.
The Aquatimer 2000's history stretches back to the 1980s, when IWC teamed up with Porsche Design to develop the Ocean 2000. It is also water resistant to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,562 ft) and was commissioned by the German military for their combat divers. The Ocean 2000's titanium case was revolutionary in the early 1980s. Today, pre-owned examples change hands for some 5,600 USD.
More recent IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 models are made of stainless steel, 44 mm in diameter, and listed under the reference number IW3568. Unlike the titanium ref. IWC 3538, these stainless steel models feature a conventional diving bezel with no internal ring. You can purchase a used watch for less than 3,400 USD. The titanium edition with the reference number IW3538 is 2 mm smaller and also costs around 3,400 USD.
The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph: Diving with a Stopwatch
The chronograph function is as popular as it is practical. The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph combines a stopwatch with the robustness of a diving watch to create the ideal tool watch. Recent models with the reference number IW3768 have 44-mm stainless steel cases that are 17 mm thick and water resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft). As seen in the Automatic ref. IWC3290, the internal/external SafeDive bezel system makes setting dive times safe and easy. The proven caliber 79320 based on the Valjoux 7750 supplies this timepiece with its power and accurate stopwatch function.
Prices for the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph ref. IW376803 with a rubber strap sit around 5,500 USD new and 5,000 USD pre-owned. The version on a stainless steel bracelet has the reference number IW376804 and demands between 5,000 and 6,300 USD.
Launched in 2004, the Aquatimer Split-Minute Chronograph is a true highlight. As you may have guessed, this watch comes with a split-minutes mechanism for measuring intervals of multiple minutes. Most double chronographs can only measure intervals of less than a minute, which is why they are often referred to as "split-seconds chronographs."
The split-minutes mechanism has its advantages: You can use it to time decompression stops when reemerging from a dive. Pressing the push-piece at 8 o'clock causes the additional minute hand to decouple from the normal minute hand. This makes it easy to tell if you've spent enough time at that stop. Thanks to this innovative mechanism, the Aquatimer Split-Minute Chronograph is the perfect companion for any diver. You can purchase a never-worn timepiece for just over 6,700 USD. Pre-owned models cost about 1,100 USD less.
Prices for Special Edition Aquatimers
In addition to the standard models, the International Watch Company also creates special edition Aquatimer watches. One example is the Aquatimer Automatic Edition "Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau" . This timepiece is dedicated to the eponymous filmmaker and researcher. The Cousteau Society has promoted the protection and research of our oceans since 1973. A portion of the proceeds from every sale of this timepiece goes toward the protection of our marine habitats. The main feature of every Jacques Yves Cousteau watch is its blue dial. The Automatic Edition is 42 mm in diameter, 14.2 mm thick, and water resistant to 30 bar (300 m, 984 ft). An engraving of Cousteau occupies the case back. Mint-condition models of the ref. IW329005 cost a solid 4,600 USD, while pre-owned pieces demand around 4,300 USD.
The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition "Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau" is 2 mm wider and almost 3 mm thicker than its automatic sister model. IWC equips it with the same movement as the Aquatimer Chronograph, namely the caliber 79320 based on the Valjoux 7750. This special edition timepiece bears the reference number IW376805 and sells for between 5,300 and 5,900 USD depending on its condition.
The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition "Expedition Charles Darwin" ref. IW379503 is another coveted collector's item. Highlights of this 44-mm watch include its bronze case with a unique patina and the in-house caliber 89365 with a 68-power reserve and flyback function. At 16.9 mm thick, this watch makes its presence known. What's more, it's water resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft) and features an engraving of Charles Darwin on its case back. If you're interested in this bronze timekeeper, be sure to set aside around 8,400 USD for a new model and 7,000 USD for a pre-owned timepiece.
The Aquatimer Deep Three with a Mechanical Depth Gauge
The Aquatimer Deep Three boasts a depth gauge that functions to a maximum depth of 50 m. Here's how it works: Water pressure acts on a spring membrane through tiny holes in the pressure converter cover, where the depth gauge is located. This pushes a shaft towards the interior of the case, and the movement goes through a system of levers, shifting both gauge indicators. A blue hand indicates the current depth. The red hand serves as a marker for the dive's maximum depth. Pushing a button resets it to zero.
The Deep Three is a large watch; its titanium case has a diameter of 46 mm and is water resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft). Prices for a never-worn version of this massive diving watch come in at almost 14,000 USD. You can save around 2,200 USD by purchasing a pre-owned timepiece. Its predecessor – the Aquatimer Deep Two – costs anywhere from 9,600 to 11,500 USD.
The History of the Aquatimer
IWC came rather late to the diving watch scene, first releasing the Aquatimer in 1967. For comparison, Rolex had already introduced the Submariner and Blancpain the Fifty Fathoms in 1953. Omega and Breitling came next, introducing their Seamaster 300 and Superocean, respectively, in 1957. However, when IWC did finally enter the market, they made a splash with their innovative rotating bezel system. The original Aquatimer can be identified by the reference number 812 AD, which was continued as 1812. Subsequent models have reference numbers 1816 and 1822. The water resistance increased from 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft) to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft) in later models.