Finally my post about the IWC AT Chrono…
What is there to say…? IWC in the past few years has been presenting us with a wonderful selection of Aquatimer Chronos to choose from and I must admit I had some difficulties in making up my mind. The all black Galapagos 376705 in its discreet “stealth” way is very attractive, the blue and white 376710 / 11 is a terrific watch but, somehow, I just couldn’t pass the opportunity of grabbing a 376703 with the mesmerizing blue / orange combination. I think that the fact that it was discontinued (although one can still find some new in box examples around) along with the striking colors that bring to mind the AT Cousteau from some years ago that I still regret not getting at the time, led me to the inevitability of preferring the 376703 over the other options.
Indeed it might not be a watch that goes with everyone’s tastes and it also might not be the ideal everyday wear, but once you have a good look at the richness of the blue dial, the beauty of the silver sub dials and the intensity of the orange accents, who cares…?
I think the pictures talk for themselves…
Now regarding the watch… It is big – at 44 mm width without the crown and 15 mm in height – feels very solid, as it should for a piece that is rated to dive up to 120 meters and it exudes quality. The alternating polished and brushed stainless steel surfaces are a delight to the eye and to the touch. The sapphire glass with anti reflex treatment looks very good and the equally sapphire crystal bezel is plain gorgeous, the transparency of the blue and orange colors give it a really enticing effect.
Ant then there is the bracelet… As several other people have pointed out it just might be the best in the business. It looks really good, it feels really good, it is really comfortable, the link removal system with push buttons and the two bronze pins is truly smart and user friendly and the quick change system is awesome.
For those who are not familiar with the quick change system, allow me to explain: as you can see in the photos above there is a small sort of lever in the interior of the bracelet where it connects with the case, that you just press while at the same time pull out – and that’s it – the bracelet is out. To insert it back you just have to align it and push in until you hear it click. Simple and efficient. The patent is from Cartier but IWC licensed it for use in the Aquatimer family. With this said if you want to change between the bracelet and the rubber strap or the velcro diving strap all it takes is a few seconds and you’re ready to go.
Some people complained that with this proprietary system you are not able to use other straps like NATO or leather in the Aquatimers, it is true, but having in line of account the easiness provided and the fact that you don’t need to risk scratching the lugs whenever you feel like changing the look of your watch, I reckon I can live with that.
Of course there is also the issue of the price of the bracelet and straps… The bracelet is absolutely magnificent but the price tag is pretty hefty too, so, my advice if you’re thinking of buying an Aquatimer is get it with the bracelet, the price difference might look a lot at first glance but, once you check the tag on a bracelet on its own you’ll understand… Not saying that the rubber one is particularly inexpensive, which it is not but, once again the quality is beyond dispute and that clever built in quick change system probably doesn’t come cheap. Anyway you (and your wallet) will feel a lot better buying it than the bracelet.
It is important to notice that the fitting on both the bracelet and the rubber strap is absolutely superb. Both look and feel like an integral part of the watch and that only comes to prove how much care and effort IWC put in the design of the Aquatimer.
You can judge by yourself looking at the photos above how well the bracelet / strap is integrated into the case. For a better comparison I put the 3767 alongside its “brother” the Aquatimer 2000 ref. 3568.
Regarding the “heart” of the watch the 3767 has a mechanical self-winding mechanism IWC calibre 79320 which is based on a ETA Valjoux 7750 – a very reliable and proven calibre to begin with – that is basically rebuilt to IWC’s high standards. It has a 44 hour power reserve, hacking seconds, and it has a very complete set of features – hours, minutes and seconds, day and date ant the chronograph function with hours (up to twelve), minutes and seconds.
The accuracy of the movement is pretty good, staying within the COSC parameters of -4 + 6 seconds per 24 h, although, and this comes in accordance with IWC criteria, in my measurements I never had it loosing seconds, only gaining.
The functions are all accessed in a very straightforward fashion – one screw in crown – with which when unscrewed in the first position you can wind the movement, in the second you can adjust the day and date and in the third you can adjust the hour and minutes – and two pushbuttons – with the top one (at two o’clock position) you can start and stop the chronograph and with the bottom one (at 4 o’clock position) you reset it.
And now to one of my favorite things in all the current Aquatimer line – the lume.
It is just brilliant (pun intended), most diving watches, as a matter of fact, have pretty decent lume, but, IWC took this one step beyond with a generous application of Super-LumiNova(TM) in the hands and dial and particularly in the underside of the sapphire crystal bezel, creating an outstanding effect and fantastic visibility for both underwater and poor or no luminosity situations.
I say, the effect talks deeply to the 5 year old boy within me…
As you can see above, the application of different colors really helps to create a readability that is close to perfection. On the first photo you can see the 3767 on the left side and the slightly different 3568 on the right, and on the second only the 3767. You can notice that even the small second hand (at 9 o’clock position) has a distinctive orange glow.
In a nutshell – a watch that is very well designed, very well built, comfortable to wear in both bracelet or rubber strap and sports a striking color combination that hardly goes unnoticed.
But, worn on the wrist is not, in my opinion, even close to be considered “loud” or tasteless…
Striking yes, but far from being vulgar…
Well, I positively love this watch… It appealed to me just seeing it in photos but from the moment I first held it on my hand it definitely occupied a place in my heart. It is one of those pieces that you really have to try and feel to understand how intense is its appeal.
I see the current Aquatimer family as a bold and beautifully built collection by a brand that is both infused in tradition and focused in the future. IWC presented us with it in 2009 and we will probably see a completely redesigned Aquatimer next year (2014), so, if you like them as much as I do, go and get yourself one (or more) while they are around, for I believe the next one will be quite different.
There are always more things to say, but this post is long enough already so, if anyone has any doubts or questions please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll be happy to respond.