The IWC Aquatimer Chronograph is a diving watch through and through. It has a unidirectional inner bezel, the SafeDive system, and a chronograph function that can be used underwater. The timepiece is water resistant to 300 m (984 ft).
The Aquatimer Chronograph has been part of the IWC Schaffhausen catalog of diving watches since the early 2000s. Like the three-hand Aquatimer model, the chronograph version uses a distinctive inner rotatable bezel for monitoring dive times. It has also featured the so-called "SaveDive system" since 2014, which includes an inner ring operated by an outer rotatable bezel.
Another special feature of the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph is that its chronograph push-pieces can be used underwater thanks to a sophisticated system of seals. Earlier models were water resistant to 120 m (12 bar, 394 ft). In 2014, IWC increased the water resistance to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft). A coating of luminous material on the hands and indices guarantees optimal readability, even at great depths.
Most Aquatimer Chronographs have stainless steel cases. However, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer also crafts some models out of titanium, rose gold, or – in the case of special editions like the "Expedition Charles Darwin" – extraordinary materials like bronze. Depending on the model, either an in-house caliber or a heavily modified Valjoux 7750 movement ticks away inside the case. A rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet keeps this timepiece securely on the wrist. Switching out the band is quick and easy thanks to IWC's quick-change system.
|Aquatimer Chronograph "Sharks"||10,500 USD||89365||Stainless steel|
|Aquatimer Chronograph "Galapagos Islands"||8,500 USD||89365||Stainless steel, rubber coating|
|Aquatimer Chronograph "Expedition Charles Darwin"||8,400 USD||89365||Bronze|
|Aquatimer Chronograph 44||5,500 USD||79320||Stainless steel|
|Aquatimer Chronograph 42||4,400 USD||79320||Titanium|
Entry-level models have stainless steel cases and use the caliber 79320, based on the proven Valjoux 7750. These timepieces are easy to recognize by the layout of their subdials: There's a minute counter at 12, an hour counter at 6, a day-date display at 3, and a small seconds at 9 o'clock.
At around 5,000 USD, models with the reference number IW3719 from 2004 are the least expensive. An inner bezel operated via a crown at 4 o'clock characterizes this 42-mm timepiece. This first generation Aquatimer Chronograph was water resistant to 120 m (12 bar, 394 ft).
The second generation of this diving chronograph bears the reference number IW3767 and debuted in 2009. It sets itself apart from its predecessor in two ways: Its case is 2 mm larger, and it features a traditional external diving bezel instead of an inner bezel. Sapphire glass protects the dial and luminous numerals and markers. You can purchase a mint-condition timepiece for around 5,100 USD. Pre-owned watches cost about 4,500 USD.
The release of the reference 3768 in 2014 saw a return to the inner bezel. However, this bezel is operated using an external bidirectional bezel. Thanks to the SafeDive system , the inner bezel can only move counterclockwise. This ensures that you'll never accidentally increase your dive time. Another new feature of the 3768 is its improved water resistance of 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft). Plan to spend about 5,500 USD for a never-worn example of this watch. Prices for well-maintained models start around 5,000 USD.
IWC regularly releases special edition Aquatimer Chronograph models. One example is the Aquatimer Automatic Edition "Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau." While it's identical to the standard edition in terms of technology, this watch has a blue sunburst dial instead of a solid black one. The stainless steel case back also features an engraving of the famous diver's likeness. When it comes to price, expect to pay around 5,800 USD for a new model and 5,400 USD for a pre-owned one.
There's also the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition "Galapagos Islands." This 44-mm watch is completely black. A layer of vulcanized rubber covers the case and makes the bezel especially easy to use. Inside, you'll find more deviations from the standard model, including the in-house caliber 89365. This movement can time periods of up to 60 minutes and comes with a flyback function and a date display at 3 o'clock. There's also a minute counter at 12 and a small seconds at 6. Mint-condition pieces sell for around 8,500 USD, while pre-owned examples cost about 1,100 USD less.
The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition "Expedition Charles Darwin" sits in a similar price range, demanding between 7,200 and 8,400 USD. It features the same technology as the Galapagos Islands, but houses it in a bronze case. This corrosion-resistant material was the first choice for nautical instruments and the fittings for portholes in Darwin's time. Bronze lends this timepiece an especially elegant feel and each watch will eventually develop its own unique patina. In the end, no two watches will be exactly alike.
Collectors are particularly interested in limited editions like the "Sharks" and "La Cumbre Volcano" timepieces. Both are limited to runs of 500 pieces and are powered by the in-house caliber 89365. The 44-mm Sharks version is made of stainless steel and features a gray dial and white numerals, hands, and indices. The engraving on its case back displays the silhouette of a school of hammerhead sharks. Depending on its condition, this watch costs anywhere from 9,200 to 10,500 USD.
The La Cumbre Volcano also has a stainless steel case, but it is coated in rubber. Its dial is a matching matte black. Both chronograph hands and the first 15 minutes on the diving bezel add a splash of bright red. The case back has an engraving of a volcano. This limited edition timepiece demands between 7,800 and 8,300 USD depending on its condition.