IWC Schaffhausen’s Most Underrated Watch Quietly Got A Huge Upgrade

The Aquatimer's sneaky 2022 update has put it back in the spotlight.

IWC Schaffhausen’s Most Underrated Watch Quietly Got A Huge Upgrade

IWC Schaffhausen is best known for its pilot’s watches, but there’s much more to the brand than that. Indeed, one of their best watches is a dive watch – and it’s a watch that’s just become a lot better. Meet the 2022 Aquatimer.

First introduced in 1967, the Aquatimer capitalised on the diving craze that had swept the world in the 60s and stood out as one of the most capable watches in its class. Water-resistant to 200m and featuring a ‘compressor’ bezel situated under the glass, it was one of the Swiss watchmaker’s most popular models for years.

These days, the Aquatimer is a bit overlooked. Maybe it’s because IWC’s pilot’s watches are so popular, maybe because there’s so much competition in the dive watch space… It’s hard to say. But the modern Aquatimer remains one of the most handsome and capable luxury dive watches on the market, it just needs a little bit more love.

Strangely enough, IWC just introduced a major update for the Aquatimer – but they’ve made barely any effort to advertise that they’ve done so. Again, it’s easy to speculate why: perhaps they want the focus to be on their TOP GUN watches in 2022 and they don’t want to muddy the waters.

Whatever the case may be, we love the Aquatimer, and we especially love this update IWC’s brought to the table.

Spot the difference: the old Aquatimer ref. IW329001 on the left, and the new ref. IW328802 on the right.

If you put the 2021 and 2022 Aquatimer next to each other, you’d probably be hard-pressed to spot the difference. The case dimensions haven’t changed at all, for instance. The dial is slightly different with a more pronounced minute track and the minute markers on the bezel are slightly thinner, and that’s about it.

That’s because the biggest change is what’s under the hood. The Aquatimer is now powered by the semi-in-house ValFleurier calibre 32111, which boasts a 120-hour (5-day) power reserve – a mammoth upgrade over the previous, ETA/Sellita-sourced calibre 30120’s 42-hour power reserve.

Hefty power reserves have long been a common feature of IWC’s pilot’s watches, so it’s nice to see such a practical update to the already highly practical Aquatimer.

The 2022 model retains the 300m water-resistance rating of the previous model, as well as central hacking seconds and a date window.

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The other major addition the 2022 Aquatimer brings to the table is the addition of a blue variant, which features an eye-catching sunray dial. Previously, the only way you could get a blue Aquatimer was to opt for the Aquatimer Chronograph (ref. IW376806), a more expensive watch that arguably lacks the purity of the standard Aquatimer’s design.

The Aquatimer wears much bigger than its 42mm case size might suggest – not that that’s a bad thing.

The blue model is available on a matching blue ‘tropical’ rubber strap, while the black model is available on either a black tropical strap or a steel bracelet. Both the rubber and steel strap options feature IWC’s nifty quick-change system, so it’s easy to swap from one to the other.

All in all, the 2022 Aquatimer is better than it’s ever been. It’s hard to overstate how much of an upgrade the 5-day power reserve is – that’s well beyond ‘weekend proof’. Hopefully, this upgrade will shine a much-needed spotlight on this hardy dive watch, and get people thinking of IWC as more than just a pilot’s watch brand.

Find out more about the new 2022 Aquatimers at IWC’s online boutique here.

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