By David Shapiro
on 6.11.13
Photo by IWC / CW

If you’re like us, you have a long list of gear you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, along with bank accounts and eagle-eyed spouses, and your gadget desires remain unfulfilled. What’s a guy to do? Gear Patrol’s series Want This, Get This presents a lust-worthy piece of gear along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. Today’s edition was inspired by an e-mail from reader Brian Crawford, who asked us to find an alternative to the iconic IWC Ingenieuer.

IWC Ingenieur

Any watch collector worth his salt can rattle off watch designer Gerald Genta’s triumvirate of classic steel sport watches: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and the IWC Ingenieur ($6,600). Designed in the 1970s, these three timepieces heralded the era of luxury steel watches, which was a novel concept back then. Genta’s original 1976 reference 1832 Jumbo SL is now one of the most desirable vintage IWCs, but modern versions retain the original’s design profile. When IWC revamped the Ingy earlier this year, they stayed faithful to the watch’s history, in a way bringing the new design closer to the original than prior generations. The reference 3239 was slimmed down to a mere 10mm thick, though this came at the cost of the previous generation’s chunky in-house movement; crown guards were added to protect the screw-down crown, and the dial received a facelift. The signature integrated bracelet remains, as do the five bezel holes, which have long since lost their function, but have become the Ingy’s most iconic design cue.

Christopher Ward C20 Lido

Christopher Ward is one of the many Internet-based boutique brands that have popped up over the past ten years, cutting out middlemen and marketing budgets to offer quality watches at affordable prices. The C20 Lido ($620) is in many ways an homage to the Ingenieur, and it includes many of the key design elements that have made the Ingy a darling of the watch community. The Lido’s case — with integrated bracelet and spotted bezel — bears a striking resemblance to the Ingy, but comes at a fraction (1/10th, to be precise) of the price.

It may be affordable, but with an ETA 2836-2 automatic movement, sapphire crystal, display back and guilloche dial, this watch is no slacker. The Lido was originally released as a 100-piece limited edition for Christopher Ward’s own forum, but due to its popularity CW brought it into their main range. Like the Ingy, the Lido is one part sporty and one part dressy, pairing just as well with weekend wear as it does with office attire. It may not be a horological icon, but we’d be happy to wear one.