January 01, 2018

IWC Aquatimer - Engineered for exploring the oceans!

With bold designs and innovative features, Aquatimer is a line of professional diving watches with a history of more than 50 years. Developed by IWC Schaffhausen, Aquatimer watches are gorgeous to look at, and they can make for the perfect companion underwater. 


The watches in the Aquatimer series are masculine, dynamic, and they leave a lasting impression which is the reason why the collection of dive watches don’t just have admirers under water, but on land as well. 

About IWC Aquatimer


In the 1960s scuba diving started becoming more and more popular around the world, which led to the development of dive watches. 


While IWC Schaffhausen was relatively late to the dive watch market, only introducing the first Aquatimer in 1967, it has most definitely made a stronger heritage of innovation than any of its competitors with the Aquatimer.


The very first Aquatimer was fitted with an internal bezel that displayed dive time, and it could withstand a pressure of up to 200 meters under water.


Even though the watch was mainly designed to appeal to professional and amateur divers, it ended up impressing non-divers as well because of its timeless and elegant design that doesn’t just look great with a wetsuit but also with a sophisticated suit and tie attire.


Its classic black design is the reason why even the pre-owned Aquatimer watches from the first generation are still in high demand. Since then, IWC Schaffhausen has released several watches under the Aquatimer series, every version more innovative and beautiful than the last.


While the watches in the Aquatimer series are varying in their looks and functionalities, they do have some signature design elements:


Bracelet quick-change system: 


For the Aquatimer watches, IWC Schaffhausen has a patented bracelet quick-change which makes switching between a steel bracelet and a rubber strap effortlessly easy. 


To connect the bracelet to the watch, you need to push it into the locking bar until you hear a click sound. To remove the bracelet, you just need to press the lever on the underside of the strap while pushing the bracelet up.


Reliable sealing system:


The sealing system protects the Aquatimer watches from water, dust, and other external factors that could affect the performance of the watch. The water resistance of Aquatimer watches is depicted in bars, instead of meters. 


That is because meters cannot always be equated to dive depth. IWC Schaffhausen clearly defines the technicalities behind the different bars to make it easier for you to find the right watch and understand how effective the watch is under water.


Two colour luminescent coating


All the Aquatimer watches use patented Super-LumiNova® luminescent coatings to make it easier for people to check the time underwater, even when the surrounding visibility conditions aren’t ideal.


In terms of design, it is also important to note that while most prominent Swiss watch companies make incremental changes to their watches, IWC Schaffhausen, which already has a long history of experimenting with different cases materials, makes it a point to go all out and makes wholesale reboots to its watches every few years. 


Comparing the Aquatimer watches launched in different decades, it is easy to see how the company has used different materials, designs, and features in the editions which is what makes the Aquatimer watches all the more amazing.  

Famous IWC Aquatimer models


Aquatimer 1812


The very first Aquatimer, this watch is a part of the IWC Schaffhausen history. The Aquatimer 1812 is a rare and unusual watch since only a limited number of pieces were made, which makes it a collector’s item for people who are really into dive watches.


The earliest IWC Aquatimer was uncommon, underappreciated, and under the radar at the time of its launch, but now, the watch with an understated design and wide history has a cult following of its own.  


Introduced in 1967, the Aquatimer 1812 is a super compressor watch with double fish signed crowns, an inner rotating bezel, and a screw back case. The matte black dial, black date wheel, applied index markers and the gilt script gives the watch an attractive look.


While the watch does have visibly large crowns, that was actually intentionally done to make it easy for people to operate the watch while wearing gloves. (It was launched in 1967, after all).


With the bracelet, the watch becomes rather heavy for everyday use. On the other hand, replacing it with a black tropic strap makes it an instant classic that you can wear with just about anything. 


Price: It can be a little difficult to track the first Aquatimer watch. You might be able to find a vintage or used watch. Recently, a black dial Aquatimer 1812 was sold with box and papers at $30,000.


Aquatimer Ocean 2000

Designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1982, IWC Aquatimer Ocean 2000, also known as Aquatimer 3500, can withstand pressure to a depth of up to 2000m due to its unique titanium alloy design.


The first IWC Schaffhausen watch to be made entirely out of titanium, Ocean 2000 has powerful water resistant features and a brilliant, understated design that impresses people even 37 years after its launch. With incredible features, it’s safe to say that the Ocean 2000 was far ahead of its time and that is why it is still a modern classic.


While the Ocean 2000 looks rather bulkier, it is more suitable for people who put style over functionality.  


With its pebble case design and offset crown, this watch is so unique that it has never been replicated in any way. The beautiful titanium case made Ocean 2000 a wonderful success which led to seven different varieties to be released.


The all-titanium case along with the unusual bracement and integrated lugs gave the watch a unique avant garde look. While the hour and minute hands are strongly lumed, second-hand has a red tip.


IWC also released the Aquatimer Special Edition Watch in 2017 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Ocean 2000. The new watch has an improved titanium case, but it still doesn’t even come close to its predecessor.


Price: This was a limited edition watch and you might be able to buy a pre-owned vintage Aquatimer 3500 for around $3,500-$4000 depending on the condition of the watch.



Aquatimer GST Automatic 2000

Gorgeously crafted with a minimalistic design and an exuding sense of functionality, the Aquatimer GST Automatic 2000 is the epitome of expensive simplicity. 


With the reference number 3536, the watch is water resistant to up to 2000 meters and it has three variants:


  • A titanium case
  • A stainless steel case with a black dial
  • A stainless steel case with a white dial


The titanium cased version is definitely the most popular out of the three because of its dark and technical look that will remind you of the special edition Aquatimer Ocean 2000 that was designed by Ferdinand Porsche.


The watch is definitely not small with 14.5mm thickness and 42mm diameter, but it sits beautifully on the wrist. The super slim bracelet along with the light titanium makes the watch utterly comfortable to wear.


Though, the only downside watch is that you cannot hook this IWC watch with a bespoke or customized strap since the lugs are very narrow and the bracelet attaches to the dial through a patented/ proprietary system.


Price: Between $3000-$4000, depending on whether the watch is in mint condition or used

Aquatimer GST Deep One


Released in 1999, the GST Deep One or Aquatimer 3527 is an extremely rare IWC watch. It was only made in limited numbers because the production costs ended up being too expensive for the company making the Aquatimer 3527 a true collector’s item for diving watch enthusiasts.  


The beautifully crafted titanium cased watch has a classic and understated design with a black dial  and yellow lumes, that make it easy for you to easily check the time even when you are diving underwater with little to no light 


The GST Deep One also introduced an innovative feature to its inner rotating bezel. When the watch is submerged underwater, the water pressure on the crown controls the inner rotating bezel and deactivates automatically.


That means, even if the bezel is turned underwater, it wouldn’t have any effect on the preset timing. When you are back on the surface and there is no water pressure, the crown gets unlocked on its own and you can turn it back again.


Price: Between $2000-$3000, depending on whether the watch is in mint condition or used


Aquatimer Split Minute Chronograph


It was in 2004 when IWC launched a divers’ watch with a split minute hand that worked separately from the chronograph and it could be easily activated or deactivated when underwater. 


The Aquatimer Split Minute Chronograph or the Aquatimer 3723 has a titanium case and bracelet along with a black chronograph dial. The watch has sapphire crystals, a screw-in crown, index hour markers, and yellow lumes that add a touch of character.


The split minute feature can be accessed through the switch present on the left side of the watch. The patented IWC bracelet in the watch can be easily sized, without any screwdrivers or special tools, just like the other watches of the series with the same bracelet.


Price: Around $6,000 

Aquatimer 2000


With a bold design, beautiful styling, and modern look, Aquatimer 2000 is a feast for the eyes. Its modern looks makes it perfect for office, but its innovative  would be just as great when you take it underwater.


Aquatimer 2000 (reference number 3568) is a modern classic which stands out without being too large or blingy. Launched in 2009, it is available in several variations -- with a bracelet, a rubber strap, white-dial, yellow-dial, and a limited edition orange on white dial.


The case and crown are absolutely stunning. The vertical brush pattern on the sides of the case may not seem like a big deal when you look at them in pictures online, but they look amazing when you see them up close in person.


The main crystal is anti-reflective and domed on both sides. There is a sapphire lume on the underside of the bezel which keeps the watch shiny and makes for interesting reflections.


While the lumes aren’t as noticeable in daylight, it does make the bezel glow in the dark. Though, it is important to note that since the second hand is only a small triangle, it can be different to track in the dark, especially when you are diving.


Apart from the bright yellow, the rest of the watch is predominantly black with a matte finish. Its caseback shape allows the watch to sit comfortably on the wrist and makes it shirt friendly. Not only are the crown threads easy to work with, but the winding is super smooth as well.


For a price of about $4,400, you get the Aquatimer 2000 with a rubber strap, which makes the watch extremely comfortable to wear throughout the day even with its 145gm weight.


But, if you are planning to purchase a new strap or a bracelet, then it would cost you another $1000. While the bracelet will definitely make the watch more expensive, it’s worth it if you are looking to use the watch for office purposes.


Price: $4,400. But, it would cost you $5,400 to buy the watch with a bracelet, instead of the rubber strap.


Final words


Throughout the years, IWC has created some stunning luxury Aquatimer watches that are highly durable and sought after. While the watches were mainly designed for divers, they appeal to professionals as well, thanks to their elegant and refined designs.