In our continuing effort to highlight some of the great vintage watches out there, we would like to shine a light on one of the bigger, well-known brands in the horological world. For this article, we’ve chosen to look at the IWC Ingenieur line and focus on the very first model in particular: the IWC Ingenieur with a devilish reference, the 666. Back in the day, it was said to be devilishly good.
Although the Ingenieur line is well known for its Genta designs in the seventies, the first model was launched back in 1955 and came with an automatic winding movement. These initial models were designed with the help of Albert Pellaton, who took the position of technical director at IWC in 1944. This first automatic winding movement, called the 85xx calibre, featured a pawl-winding system, which allowed the winding to go in two directions, meaning even the smallest motion would wind the mainspring.
Anti-Magnetic from the Beginning
The IWC pilot’s watches, which already had anti-magnetic features, predated the Ingenieur. With modernization in full swing, more and more magnetic fields arose due to the ever-increasing use of motors and machines. This was especially true for people in technical professions, who could benefit greatly from having a watch that was shielded from such influences. Thus, the Ingenieur line was launched with this specific target group in mind.
At the time, the first model may have looked like a pretty standard and fairly simple watch, but with water resistance to 100 meters and anti-magnetic protection up to 80,000 A/m (better known as 1,000 Gauss), it was an impressive watch. If you look at current watches with anti-magnetic features, many still have the same level of anti-magnetic protection. The anti-magnetic features also explain the logo of the Ingenieur: a stylish electric current symbol behind the word Ingenieur.
The IWC Ingenieur was available in two variations: Model 666 A with calibre 852, which displayed the hour, minute, and seconds, and Model 666 AD with calibre 8521, which had an extra date window. Both versions came with an automatic winding movement measuring 28.8 mm in diameter. The 852 without a date indication was 5.6 mm thick (or thin) and the 8521 with the date measured 6.4 mm. Both movements had an equal amount of jewels – 21 in total – and had an Incabloc shock protector. The case dimensions of the 666 were 36.5 millimeters in diameter and 13.2 in thickness for all case materials. It was originally available in stainless steel and 18-karat gold, and later in 14-karat gold with a steel caseback.
One Watch, Many Choices
Although the first model of the IWC Ingenieur was produced in just 2 references, if you look across the roughly 12 years of production, the 666 A(D) has been delivered in a seemingly endless amount of dial and hand variations. Both dauphine and baton hands have been used, applied hour markers and/or a mixture with Arabic numerals, double-slash at the 12 o’clock position with and without spacing – these are just some of the variations. During the sixties, the 666 was listed with a five and six digit reference. These prefix and suffix digits signified each different combination of case and strap used as well as the movement that was used. The suffix 1, for instance, signifies it’s the 666 with date and the suffix 2 was used for the non-date.
In the end, the IWC Ingenieur certainly made its mark in the history of the brand from Schaffhausen and it has been a steady line in their collection throughout the years. Although they significantly changed the design during the 70s under the influence of Gérald Genta, the recently launched limited edition seems to be inspired by the original design of the first Ingenieur. Only time will tell which direction IWC will go from here.