IWC’s Ingenieur is as steeped in history as any watch. First seen in 1954, and designed as both a general-purpose sport watch and for scientists who worked with strong electromagnetic fields — hence the name, “engineer” in German — it reflected a growing trend towards robustness, which was already driving the popularity of the still-nascent diving watch. To this end, the Ingenieur featured a shock-resistant movement, and most importantly, a soft-iron inner-case, or “Faraday cage”, to protect said movement from the effects of magnetism (basically, Kryptonite where accurate time-keeping is concerned).

While the name itself has been around for almost 60 years, it was in 1976 that a certain Gerald Genta took it upon himself to redesign the watch in the vein of other pieces in the era, most notably the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (another Genta design). In doing so, he created a design language that is still relevant to this day — and that almost every Ingenieur has followed since. For 2013, this family of timepieces has been thoroughly re-sorted with Genta’s original Ingenieur SL ref. 1834 still being the leading inspiration, so now is as good a time as any to see what makes them tick. Of this family of watches, there is one model that’s more faithful to the original than the others: the reference 3239 Ingenieur Automatic. We break it down for you above.