IWC. A Stainless Steel Automatic Wristwatch
Automatic jeweled movement IWC calibre 85, silvered matte dial, applied numerals, outer beady minute divisions, gold dauphine hands, center seconds, circular water-resistant case, screw back, case, dial, and movement signed
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The use of titanium in watch cases is a modern development, having been pioneered by IWC in the 1980’s with the Porsche Design Titane model. In the 1970’s, IWC developed a series of new strategies for targeting new markets, including working with Porsche Design to produce sportier watches. In 1983, the Ocean 2000 diving watch – reference 3500 – was shown at Basel Fair and featured a titanium case. Titanium was appealing for a number of reasons, including being a light weight, resistant to corrosion, and antimagnetic. However, it was difficult to fabricate and certainly would be difficult to produce a large number of watches with a titanium case.
IWC was determined to use the material and consequently developed their own fabrication techniques. Not only did they succeed in producing a titanium case for a series of watches, but produced a case that had increased water resistance – to depths of 2000 meters. The cases were machined in such a way that a back case gasket was not needed, since the fit of the case back screw threads and case were so precise.
IWC continued to collaborate with Porsche Design for twenty years, ending the partnership in the 1990’s. In 1997, IWC launched the GST series (GST standing for “gold, steel, titanium”) featuring a new Aquatimer model within the GST series. The first IWC Aquatimer GST was the reference 3536 and was available in either steel or titanium. The case and bracelet of the titanium models were polished and blasted with sapphire beads to achieve a matte finish that does not show much wear. The GST had several similarities to the Ocean 2000 model, including a depth rating of 2000 meters and an ETA-based movement. In 2003, IWC redesigned the movement to feature the IWC caliber 30110.
The Aquatimer GST in titanium represents an incredible and important step in the history of watchmaking. Today, many watches are cased in titanium, an advance that is a result of the strategies developed by IWC over thirty years ago. The success of the Ocean 2000 models led to the independent production of an IWC titanium diving watch, with an understated design and durable lasting case. The present example is in mint condition and is a great opportunity for a watch enthusiast to acquire one of IWC’s most innovative designs of the modern era.