IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Mercedes AMG Anniversary Edition
In my experience, very few things are as singularly focused as Formula 1.
While I am more of a casual observer than a true fan, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness various stages of a Grand Prix weekend on two separate occasions.
Both of these first-hand forays into the sport left an immense impression. A brief look into a competitive world of highly specialized technology, fiery politics, and a nearly endless supply of funds – all brought to bear in an attempt to simply go faster than everyone else.
Each team operates like a private space program, but instead of putting a man on the moon, they’re shaving tenths off a lap time.
Driving the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsports F1 W08 EQ Power+, Valtteri Bottas enters the pits after a practice session for the United States Grand Prix – IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Mercedes AMG Anniversary Edition
This sort of an environment is very appealing for watch brands that want to connect their internal drive for design, engineering, and prestige with that of a successful race team.
The money, international appeal, and incredible audience are also not to be overlooked.
IWC watches has a long-standing partnership with Mercedes Benz, including both their successful Formula 1 team Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and their performance road car division AMG.
This is how I found myself in Austin, trackside for the Formula 1 Friday practice sessions with an AMG-themed IWC on a wrist.
As this watch is a salute to AMG’s legacy, this won’t be your usual recap of a Formula 1 experience.
Besides, there are many better places to read about Formula 1 and the US Grand Prix.
For those reading who don’t closely follow cars, AMG is more than just a badge on that loud sedan in your neighbourhood.
Originally founded in 1967 by two Mercedes engineers looking to develop race-ready engines, AMG gets its initials from the engineer’s last names, Aufrecht and Melcher, and the German town of Großaspach.
Keeping a long and very nerdy story on the shorter side, AMG quickly became very handy at producing high-performance race engines.
As building race engines is a very expensive endeavor, by the early 70s they began producing aftermarket packages for a number of Mercedes-Benz road cars.
If you bought a Merc from a dealer and wanted more performance (or even a manual transmission) AMG was happy to help.
Right down to the strap, the AMG 50th Ingenieur is black, white, and titanium – IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Mercedes AMG Anniversary Edition
In 1993 Mercedes and AMG started an official partnership, eventually leading to the 1999 creation of Mercedes-AMG. AMG is now an in-house entity for Mercedes and in keeping with their roots; they’ve become the premium performance spec for almost all of the Mercedes-Benz fleet.
Like a good spouse, no watch or car company worth its salt misses a big anniversary, and so we find a new and limited edition Ingenieur chronograph created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of AMG.
The case back shows an element of the anti-magnetic inner case designed to look like a carbon ceramic brake disc – IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Mercedes AMG Anniversary Edition
The IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” (reference IW380902) is a 250-piece limited edition flyback chronograph in titanium with a bright white dial.
While perhaps gold would have been more fitting for a 50th, titanium seems a more natural fit for both AMG and the Ingenieur ethos.
At 44.3 mm wide and some 15.9 mm thick, this is a big watch that arguably wears even larger than the numbers would suggest.
While 16 mm isn’t crazy for an automatic chronograph with magnetic protection, the case back shape lifts the bulk of the watch off your wrist, making it feel bulkier.
That said, if you have a larger wrist or prefer a larger watch, the AMG 50th Ingenieur is perfectly wearable.
On wrist, this sporty Ingenieur is big and bulky, but not uncomfortable – IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Mercedes AMG Anniversary Edition
The dial design is conservative, but I’ve long had a love for white dials with black accents and this AMG 50th Ingenieur does it well, with a dial that moves between white and a textured bright silver.
Its basic layout is bolstered by the white-on-black date display, the red accents for the chronograph measure, and an entirely fly lightning bolt seconds hand.
Automotive-themed watch designs walk a very fine line, and it’s common to see the automotive aspect conflict with the normal goals of a legible watch design.
With the AMG 50th Ingenieur, I feel that IWC did a good job of ensuring that the design still functioned as a watch and that the automotive tie-in was subtle.
Being a chronograph, the layout is busy but very legible and the dial feels balanced, with extra automotive inspiration via the large two-digit minute markers.
Making use of IWC’s 89361 movement, the AMG 50th Ingenieur sports a full 12-hour flyback chronograph.
This automatic in-house movement from IWC ticks at 4 Hz and offers 68 hours of power reserve.
While the AMG 50th Ingenieur has a display case back, the movement cannot be seen. Being an Ingenieur, anti-magnetism is expected and the AMG 50th Ingenieur has an inner case element made from soft iron.
The sapphire display case back shows an element of that protective inner case rendered to look like the carbon ceramic brake disc offered on some of Mercedes AMG models.
Hard to beat a white dial with black and red accents.
Aside from perhaps the added thickness, I rather like this execution for a case back, especially on a limited edition model.
Additionally, the brake disc design carries AMG’s “One Man – One Engine” motto, which refers to AMG’s process of having a single person complete, by hand, the build of an AMG engine.
I wore the Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” for a day in Austin.
From the Paddock Club, to pit lane at Circuit of the Americas, to some overly competitive go-karting, the AMG 50th Ingenieur looked and felt the part without ever feeling heavy-handed in its attempt to connect with Mercedes-AMG.
Crisp, legible, and quite sporty, the AMG 50th Ingenieur is a subtle take on an automotive-inspired watch design.
While entirely subjective, I like that if you never flipped the watch over, you’d have no idea that it was connected to an automotive brand.
At $11,800, the AMG 50th Ingenieur is not going to be most people’s idea of an ideal Ingenieur, especially as it forgoes the classic Genta case shape.
But from Cars and Coffee to an amateur track day, to the truly incredible world of Formula 1, the IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG” may be just the thing for 250 die-hard Mercedes-AMG fans.
For more, visit IWC online.
This article was first published in HODINKEE : Hands-On The IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition ’50th Anniversary Of Mercedes-AMG’. Thank you HODINKEE !
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