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IWC Ingenieur: A Design Icon for Cool Heads

The Ingenieur from Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC is highly resistant to magnetic fields. Designed by Gérald Genta, the SL Jumbo is a coveted collector's item. Models with a tourbillon or perpetual calendar also make sound investments.


Magnetic Resistance for Over 60 Years

The Ingenieur collection has been an important pillar of the IWC Schaffhausen catalog since 1955. It was one of the first watches with protection against magnetic fields thanks to an inner soft iron cage. Moreover, it was extremely precise and came with improved water resistance – traits that define the Ingenieur to this day.

Models designed by the famous Gérald Genta have enjoyed cult status since 1975. Like Genta's Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, these timepieces feature an almost barrel-shaped case and an integrated bracelet. However, while the Royal Oak's octagonal bezel and eight screws resemble a porthole, the Ingenieur's bezel is round and features five drilled holes.

As of 2016, IWC has returned to the simpler design of earlier models from the 1950s and 60s. Most are powered by in-house movements, and some even have complications like a flyback chronograph, tourbillon, or perpetual calendar. A few entry-level models use a refined ETA or Sellita caliber.

Reasons to Buy an IWC Ingenieur

  • The iconic Ingenieur SL designed by Gérald Genta
  • Numerous limited editions with potential to appreciate in value
  • Cases in stainless steel, gold, carbon, ceramic, or titanium
  • Anti-magnetic: the Ingenieur 500,000 A/m
  • Top models with complications like a tourbillon or perpetual calendar

Prices at a Glance: IWC Ingenieur

Model, reference number Price (approx.) Features
Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon, IW590001 180,000 USD Tourbillon, moon phase, power reserve indicator
Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month, IW379201 18,000 USD Perpetual Calendar, oversized date and month, flyback chronograph
Ingenieur Chronograph Sport, IW380901 11,000 USD Flyback chronograph, date, soft iron core
Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium, IW376501 9,700 USD Double chronograph, date, day
Ingenieur Chronograph, IW380802 8,500 USD Chronograph, date, day
Ingenieur SL Jumbo, IW3303 8,000 USD Date, designed by Gérald Genta
Ingenieur Automatic 40, IW323902 7,400 USD Date
Ingenieur Automatic, IW357002 5,700 USD Date
Ingenieur, 666A 5,300 USD Vintage watch, date, soft iron core

How much does an IWC Ingenieur cost?

Prices for an IWC Ingenieur depend on the watch's age, material, and movement. Entry-level timepieces include vintage models like the ref. 666A, which you can purchase for around 5,300 USD. Newer three-hand editions in stainless steel, such as the ref. IW357002, demand roughly 5,700 USD. Among the most exclusive Ingenieurs is the Constant-Force Tourbillon in platinum. This timepiece combines a chronograph with a tourbillon and moon phase display and sells for about 180,000 USD.


The Ref. 666 and Ingenieur SL Jumbo

IWC released two versions of the original Ingenieur. There was the simple three-hand ref. 666A with the caliber 852 and the ref. 666AD with the caliber 8521 and a date display. Both of these stainless steel watches are popular collector's items today. Prices vary by condition and begin around 4,800 USD.

Collectors also covet the Ingenieur SL Jumbo designed by Gérald Genta. Poor sales numbers upon its release in 1975 meant IWC only ever produced 1,000 copies of this timepiece. This rarity is reflected in its price: A well-maintained watch with the caliber 8541ES often sells for more than 15,500 USD. You can save a significant amount by purchasing the quartz-powered Ingenieur SL ref. IW3303 instead. This model demands roughly 7,200 USD.


Magnetic Resistance to 500,000 A/m

The Ingenieur 500,000 A/m from 1989 marked a milestone in terms of magnetic field protection. While it shares the Ingenieur SL's design, it can withstand magnetic fields of up to 500,000 A/m and does so without a soft iron cage. This is made possible by a heavily modified ETA caliber 2892 with components made of amagnetic materials like niobium-zirconium 25 – a superconductive alloy. These collector's items change hands for about 5,400 USD today.


Prices for the Ingenieur Automatic AMG

The Ingenieur received a sporty update in the early 1990s. It still used Genta's same basic design but with heavy influences from the world of motorsports. One example is the Ingenieur Automatic AMG ref. IW322703. It has a titanium case and houses the caliber 80110 with a 44-hour power reserve. Its black dial was inspired by the dashboard displays found in a Mercedes-AMG race car. Prices for this watch sit around 4,200 USD.

A black ceramic case helps the Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series (ref. IW322503) stand out from its sister model. What's more, it features a crown protector that gives it a more robust feel. Plan to spend about 10,000 USD on this watch.

The Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance ref. IW322404 pairs a carbon case with a ceramic bezel. Like the other Automatic AMG models, this 46-mm watch gets its power from the caliber 80110. The ref. IW322404 costs approximately 14,500 USD.


Ingenieur Racing Chronographs

In keeping with the motorsports theme, this collection also contains a series of interesting chronographs. For example, the Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium boasts a double chronograph that allows you to measure intervals. A modified Valjoux 7750 ticks away inside its 45-mm titanium case. This sporty chronograph is worn on a rubber strap and changes hands for about 9,700 USD.

The Ingenieur Chronograph Silberpfeil (silver arrow) sits in a similar price range. Its brown or silver perlage dial is a nod to historical Mercedes racing cars. The in-house caliber 89361 boasts a flyback function, and the elapsed minutes and hours share a subdial at 12 o'clock. At 6 o'clock, you'll find a dual small seconds dial and date display. Expect to spend anywhere from 6,900 to 11,000 USD for one of these timepieces.


2016: Retro Ingenieur With a Round Case

A new design in 2016 saw the IWC Ingenieur going back to its roots. Like the original models from the 1950s, these watches have a round case. The three-hand Ingenieur Automatic bears an especially close resemblance to the ref. 666 from 1955. It comes with narrow, glow-in-the-dark hands and hour markers dotted with luminous material. However, current watches get their power from the caliber 35111 with a date display and 42-hour reserve. This movement is based on the Sellita SW 300-1.

Set aside around 4,800 USD for a 40-mm stainless steel ref. IW357001 with a bright sunburst dial and a leather strap. If you'd prefer a black dial and a three-piece link stainless steel bracelet, that price climbs to about 5,900 USD. You'll have to dig much deeper in your pockets for the rose gold Ingenieur Automatic ref. IW357003. This timepiece costs a solid 15,000 USD in mint condition.

In addition to three-hand models, this collection also includes various chronographs. For example, the 42-mm Ingenieur Chronograph is outfitted with the in-house caliber 69375. This movement comes with a date display at 3, a small seconds at 6, an hour counter at 9, and a minute counter at 12 o'clock. A tachymeter scale runs around the dial's outer edge.

The stainless steel edition with a white dial bears the reference number IW380801 and costs roughly 8,500 USD new. The same watch in 18-karat rose gold will set you back some 19,500 USD.


Chronographs With a Flyback Function

IWC offers a series of limited-edition chronographs under the name Ingenieur Chronograph Sport. Every timepiece has a 44-mm titanium case. These watches also use the soft-iron cage found in the original Ingenieur. The cage in the 50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG edition is modeled after a brake pad and can be viewed through the sapphire crystal case back. This model is limited to a run of 250 pieces.

The in-house caliber 89361 provides this watch with a date display at 3, a small seconds at 6, and a dual minute and hour counter at 12 o'clock. You can call this limited edition your own for between 11,000 and 12,000 USD, depending on its condition.

Only 176 copies exist of the 76th Members' Meeting at Goodwood, which IWC equips with the in-house caliber 69380. It has an hour counter at 9, a minute counter at 12, a day-date display at 3, and a small seconds at 6 o'clock. A sapphire crystal case back offers a view of its soft-iron cage. Plan to spend around 9,400 USD on a never-worn model.


Highly Complicated Models

IWC also produces the Ingenieur with more extravagant complications. For example, the Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon from 2013 boasts a small seconds dial, power reserve indicator, tourbillon, and a precise moon phase display that takes both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres into account. The manual caliber 94800's tourbillon features IWC's patented constant-force mechanism. This technology guarantees the same level of accuracy regardless of whether the watch is fully wound or not. You can purchase the 46-mm version in platinum and ceramic for about 180,000 USD. Prices for the rose gold and ceramic edition sit around 230,000 USD.

At 48,000 USD, the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month is much more affordable while still offering an array of interesting features. Its 45-mm rose gold case contains the in-house caliber 89801 with a flyback chronograph, perpetual calendar, and oversized date and month displays. These numeric displays sit just above 9 and 3 o'clock, respectively. A combined hour and minute counter at 12 and a small seconds and leap year display at 6 o'clock round off this watch's functionality. This refined timepiece is limited to a run of 100 pieces.