The IWC Ingenieur 3227-12. The “dash 12” signifying the edition of 200 made in collaboration with Japanese alpinist and conservationist Ken Noguchi, who was ( at the time aged 25 ) the youngest person to scale the highest mountains of the world’s seven continents. IWC for their part, produced a special edition of the 3227 piece with a different dial colour ( chocolate ) and unique case back, a special box and contents, and they contributed to the Sherpa fund.
As you’ve no doubt seen from the first picture, the dial can look anything but chocolatey. The anti-reflective coating on both sides of the crystal frequently creates a vivid blue. As so often is the case, it is hard to capture.
So to the watch itself. The IWC Ingenieur has a long history and you can find much written about it so I wont duplicate. In short, this version was launched in 2005 and echoed the Gerald Genta design of the 1970s Jumbo SL model. It retained the anti-magnetic and anti-shock features, with a new in-house movement ( Cal. 80110 ) held in a new 42mm case with integrated bracelet :
( IWC stock photo )
The new 80110 calibre caused some stir at introduction as it was “inspired” by the Valjoux cal. 7765. Suffice to add, the 80110 is unique to IWC. Its features include the rotor being mounted on a shock-absorbing bridge, with Delrin™ bumpers on the baseplate, and IWC’s famous and patented Pellaton winding mechanism :
( IWC stock photo )
But what of this chocolate of which I speak ? Indeed, while appreciating the Noguchi and Everest connections, the special characteristic of this particular 3227 reference that is actually noticeable to the wearer is the dial colour.
The dial itself features applied hour markers, a large applied “12” and “6” and minute-marked chapter ring. The hands are straight-sided steel, with the seconds hand in orange. The dial surface is textured with interlocking “I” characters :
The “I” subtly echoing Ingenieur – as indeed the bracelet does less subtly with huge interlocking horizontal “I” links. The caseback on this edition features a sherpa with Everest in the background :
Just visible in that shot are the tiny release buttons, in the centre of the underside of each link, which when depressed permit the bracelet pins to be simply pushed out. Two pushers are provided for this purpose, though toothpicks also suffice. The system is quick, solid and elegant. The bracelet features a deployant with a single, well-recessed, release button. Half links allow easier resizing but there is no micro-adjust possible. If you get a good fit ( I do, using a half-link ) the bracelet is very comfortable and holds this quite heavy ( 200g+ ) watch in place.
If you prefer it on a strap, it is easy to change, as the bracelet attaches to the case with the same release mechanism.
IWC make their own straps, or you can find third-party ones. Make sure it is for the 3227 ( or 3228 ) IWC model. It changes the look. Here shown with a high quality custom strap from Jacob Straps, and IWC’s deployant buckle :
It is a thick watch, and I notice that its successor is significantly thinner, although it sacrifices the 80110 movement for a 2892-based calibre to achieve this. No crown guards and short-lasting lume are perhaps the only dents in this watch’s armour. But the lume is expertly applied albeit not copiously.
I prefer the 3227 case contour compared to the latest 40mm version, which features crown guards but loses some stern-ness of case angles to achieve it. Speaking of these, the whole watch is alive under light. Not just the chameleon dial but every polished and brushed surface dances as you move. The quality of the brushing and polishing is superb. Even the bits you can’t easily see such as the inside of the buckle :
I would, with all respect to my all-time favourite Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller, rate this IWC as a somewhat higher quality item. In accordance with its name, it really does have an engineered attitude to every part of it right down to the bracelet pins.