Regardless of which brands they happen to favor most (Omega, IWC, Rolex, Panerai, or whatever) sport watch fanatics of all stripes seem to agree on one thing: there’s few things better than a boldly marked dial that lights up like a torch in the darkness and doesn’t quit after a few minutes. (I’m not referring to some Indiglo-type system, just good ‘ol Superluminova, the luminous compound the watch industry is using on the indexes and hands of timepieces these days.) Perhaps the most incredible luminous dial I’ve seen in some time belongs to that of the newly redesigned Aquatimer watch collection from IWC.
The dials and bezels of these timepieces, such as the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph shown here, are not just impressive because of the intensity of the glow, but the varied colors of that illumination. The contrasting white and yellow compounds you see on the dial and the beautiful sapphire unidirectional rotating bezel produce different glowing colors in the darkness, which, aside from keeping hours and minutes clearly demarcated, simply looks amazing when the lights go out. The single most alluring visual element of the watch is probably the gorgeous sapphire crystal bezel. By day, its lustrous obsidian-like surface exudes the unmistakable aura of fine quality, and at night – well, there’s that phenomenal glow! The initial 15-minute sector glows a yellowish green, while the additional 5-minute marks shine in an eerie light blue. Combine all of that goodness with the slightly beveled sapphire crystal and the semi-matte dial, and you have an IWC timepiece that can’t help but catch your eye again and again.
I know some IWC fans were disappointed with the 2009 Aquatimer watches when the new models were announced in January, thinking them too youthful looking, garish, or “Seiko-ish” in appearance. Others felt the previous generation’s internal bezel was more of a pure IWC concept, and lamented the brand’s return to a more conventional design. These doubts fade away when you see the 2009 Aquatimers in person – or even good macro photographs. The fact is, IWC has really done a tremendous job with this model range. They have all the credentials of a serious diving tool, yet demonstrate the quality and standout character that a top-notch sports luxury watch should possess.