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Ceratanium

IWC Schaffhausen celebrates fifty years of going under

Under water, that is!! And it’s doing it in high-tech style! Having made its bows way back in 1967, the Aquatimer has been one of IWCs most popular models, happily filling the sporting gap left behind by the brand’s more elegant Portofino and Portugieser models, as well as everything else in between. Since that time, this water resistant to 200 meters diver’s watch has established a Schaffhausen tradition of being reliable timing companions, both in and out of the water.

Hitting its 50th anniversary this year, the Aquatimer is getting the high-tech composite material treatment. According to IWC Schaffhausen CEO, Christoph Grainger-Herr, “we already had a pioneering role in the use of titanium and ceramic in the 1980s, (so) we are now once again highlighting our expertise with materials by employing Ceratanium.”

A groundbreaking new material based on a titanium alloy made specifically for IWC Schaffhausen, Ceratanium combines all the advantages of titanium and ceramic, and according to Lorenz Brunner, head of materials development at IWC Schaffhausen, is exceptionally suitable for applications requiring lightness, ruggedness, corrosion-resistance, and hardness.

Titanium is about a third lighter than steel, extremely rugged and also bio-compatible,” said Brunner. “Ceramic is non-wearing, extremely hard and scratch-resistant. On top of that, both titanium and ceramic are inseparably linked with the history of IWC.”

So, in celebration of 50 years of going under, IWC Schaffhausen has released the Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “50 Years Aquatimer” (Ref. IW379403), a limited edition of (you guessed it) only 50 pieces that is made almost entirely of Ceratanium.

Best of all, Ceratanium isn’t a coating. Apparently, during the sintering process (that’s baking in an oven, to you and me), a “phase transformation” takes place, which results in a ceramic-like surface that bonds directly with the titanium.

Most watch manufacturers use PVD coating for their black cases, which, according to Brunner, “is a little like the shell of an egg: it can chip or flake off if the watch is hit or bumped. That doesn’t meet our high quality standards.”

“In keeping with its new black suit of armor, some components of the IWC-manufactured calibre 89802 have also been colored black”

The result is a new Aquatimer with a deep black, ceramic-like surface that is as light and unbreakable as titanium and as hard and scratch-resistant as ceramic. The new material also makes the new Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “50 Years Aquatimer” extremely corrosion-resistant, with a particularly high level of skin tolerance.

Like all Aquatimer models, this new watch, which is water-resistant up to 10 bar, features an external/internal rotating bezel for setting the dive time. And is equipped with the IWC SafeDive system that ensures that the internal rotating bezel can only be adjusted when the external bezel is rotated in an anticlockwise direction.

What sets this particular Aquatimer apart is a digital perpetual calendar that displays the date and month in large numerals in the style of a digital watch, automatically recognizing the lengths of different months as well as the leap years. Further, the chronograph with flyback function displays stop times, combined in a totalizer at 12 o’clock.

The result is a surprisingly clean and uncluttered dial, perfect for the utilitarian-tool-watch position lorded over by the Aquatimer. Best of all, in keeping with its new black suit of armor, some components of the IWC-manufactured calibre 89802 have also been colored black, including the rotor, making for a rather mean-looking, purpose-built Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “50 Years Aquatimer.” Indeed, something that looks built to last for another 50 years.