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When most watch collectors talk about the IWC Ingenieur series they think about the handsome Gerald Genta designed Collection SL from 1976 onwards and moving into their modern and sometimes obnoxiously large and technical chronographs. To me IWC’s most important Ingenieur’s were produced 20 years earlier.

I guess many of you know the feeling of falling in love. There is nothing like the tingling feeling and the mixture of anxiety and happiness when you see someone you love, and when I first laid eyes on a vintage IWC Ingenieur ref. 666 – that was how I felt. I know it sounds stupid, but that was it. Watches had been a hobby for a long time, but this watch spoke to me on a level I had not yet experienced. I cannot explain why exactly this model was so interesting to me at that time, or why it made me feel like I did.
Back in 2003 or 2004 I had just started to explore the vintage watch world and I came across this ref. 666. It was too expensive for me at that time but I started to research these older IWC Ingenieur watches.

IWC Ingenieur models

Ref. 666

IWC Ingenieur 3570 866 3233 666

In 1954 the first IWC Ingenieur saw the light of day with the new Cal. 85x movements. It was a pretty modest looking wristwatch, but with the real value on the inside of the case.

These post-war years at the brink of the space age was the era of science. White coats and laboratory’s was the perfect picture of the new age. IWC had for many years been in the forefront of the technical advance of watchmaking with Albert Pellaton running their technical department. So it was only natural to name a family of watches after the rock stars of science, the engineers.

Right after the second world war IWC had made a Pilots watch, the Mark XI, with a manual movement Cal. 89. This movement is known for being super reliable and sturdy. Also this was the first model to have an inner case made of soft iron, to shield the movement from magnetic fields. As you may know, magnetism may interfere with the reliability of the timekeeping properties of a watch.
Taking inspiration from this technical and reliable centre seconds movement, IWC developed the Cal. 852 (no-date) and 8521 (date) in 1953.
Of course all of this was an ingenious marketing strategy. Hailing the technological age with a watch incorporating new technical innovations made for scientists . IWC was branding the watch as “the super time-piece of modern times”.

To me it was probably the sharp dauphine hands and a simple but timeless dial that triggered my affection for the watch at first. Researching the ref. 666 made the connection stronger as I can really appreciate a sober looking watch with technical innovations. It is also a watch that connect a very interesting period of our history to watchmaking and design.

I never got my ref. 666 back then. What I did get for my collection was the then new ref. 3233.

Ref. 3233

IWC Ingenieur 3570 866 3233 666

In 2008 IWC celebrated its 150th anniversary by releasing a Vintage Collection. This collection was really a contemporary reinterpretation of several classic watch models and of course the Ingenieur was one of them. The 3233 kept the dauphine hands and the sober face of the first generation ref.666. Also the case design was taken from the ref. 666.
On the inside IWC put their new in-house Cal. 80111. Here they further developed the values of the early Ingenieur watches with a new shock-absorbing mechanism. Also pressure resistant to 12 bar.
On the 80111 IWC sadly omitted the anti-magnetic soft iron inner case. This feature was kept for other Ingenieur models with the Cal. 80110. What those watches did not have that the ref. 3233 do, is a sapphire glas back where the beauty of the movement can be seen. This would not have been possible with the soft iron inner case. So I guess it was OK.
The only real downside of the ref. 3233 is the size. It is 42 mm and it is thick. Then again, back in 2008 what watch wasn’t?

Ref 866

IWC Ingenieur 3570 866 3233 666

Above you can see the ref 866. I am not going to say much about this one other than it was produced in a couple of series from 1967 to 1976 with a new movement, the cal. 854x. The one on the picture I borrowed from a fellow collector. It probably have newer hands, but according to catalogues they are correct.

Ref. 3570

IWC Ingenieur 3570 866 3233 666
At SIHH 2017 IWC decided to release the ref.3570. Again a new interpretation of the classic IWC Ingenieur. Although IWC claims this model resembles the Ingenieurs of the 1950s, it looks more like the 1970s ref.866 was the inspiration for the design.
The movement on the inside is a Selitta SW 300 built to IWC standards and then modified by the manufacture. This is a robust and reliable movement. The case back is certainly closed, but there is no mentioning of the anti-magnetic properties anywhere. Lacking this feature is no deal braker to me. I mean – who stays in strong magnetic fields these days. What I do find disappointing is that they chose to replace the classic INGENIEUR on the dial with AUTOMATIC.
The good thing about this watch is that the Ingenieur models have gone back to a classic look in a sleek case. Where the ref 3233 was a bit thick and heavy the ref 3570 is thinner and lighter. All in all this watch is a good move by IWC. I love the classic Ingenieur models, and I love the fact that they have gone back to their roots in the whole line of Ingenieur models.

If you want to investigate your own IWC Ingenieur or if you are looking to get one, there is only two online sources of information that I trust – one being MOEB – and the other one being Frizzelweb.

Read more of our articles about IWC Ingenieurs here

About a week back I traded one of my watches with another collector for his Panerai Luminor 1950 10 Days Automatic GMT Ceramica – PAM 335. 

I had never worn a Panerai before and I was curious about them. Of course I am familiar with the brand and their watches, but ten-twelve years back when I got into watches, I did not like Panerai. And I kept it like that for many years. They were obscenely large and lumpy in my opinion. While I liked the design of the dials, I still found them boring as they all seemed to look alike. I could not get my head around them. A GTG (get-together) with other watch nerds changed that in a millisecond when I laid eyes on three totally different Panerai watches. And now I was curious.

Like a true Panerai nerd – or Panerist as they are called – I will continue only using the reference of the watch – PAM 335.

PAM 335

My first impression of the watch is that it is manly. Like beard and buck knife manly. It is 44 mm excluding the large crown guard that all Luminors have. It is of course all black because of the ceramic material. And with the sapphire crystal dome it builds quite a height. A few seconds later, when the watch hit my wrist for the first time, I was sold.

PAM 335PAM 335

The PAM 335 sits beautifully on my wrist. It is very comfortable. Light, discreet, sporty and very graphic. I am slightly amazed that a watch of this size can be worn so comfortably. Hardcore Panerai nerds will only wear 47 mm watches, but that is just too much for me. I love the fact that you can have the Panerai DNA in a small package and I am eagerly awaiting the new Due casing that is slicker and does not build as much.

Well, back to the PAM 335.

PAM 335

Further on the PAM 335:

What is most striking on this watch is the black ceramic case. Bezel and crown guard is also ceramic. The ceramic material will not scratch easily and will allow you to wear the watch without any concerns. There is also an anti-shock device inside the movement. I am not a fan of buying an expensive watch and locking it away. I don’t do that. So this watch is the perfect beater. It can handle about anything you throw at it. Disclaimer – author is not liable if you decide to throw objects at watch or throw the watch itself 😉

A 10 days power reserve will allow you to forget that you have the watch for 10 days without missing a beat. There are three barrels inside powering this movement, so there is plenty of power. The linear power reserve indicator on the dial is lovely, and that brings up my favorite part of this watch. The dial. It is complex, yet refined. There is something about Panerai that makes them able to fit a lot of complications on the dial without messing it up. Breitling has one or two things to learn here. The fact that they have indicators for 24h, seconds, power reserve, date, a second time zone and time all bundled up in a readable and simple manner is amazing.

I love GMTs in general, and while that is worth a post in itself, I will now concentrate on this watch. The GMT function on this watch is so easy to use. It is practical and foolproof. I also love the seconds reset complication. If you should have the need to set the watch, just pull out the crown, and the seconds will return to zero. Eazy.

This is of course no dress watch, but in the one week I have not found one other negative side to this watch. It runs perfectly and it is rugged. It is top of the line Panerai and you deserve one as well!

pam335-5

Movement

Automatic mechanical in-house P.2003 calibre

8 mm thick, 25 jewels, Glucydur® balance

28,800 alternations/hour.

KIF Parechoc® anti-shock device.

10 days Power reserve

Three barrels

Seconds reset device

296 components

Functions

Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Date, GMT, 24h indicator, Power Reserve Indicator, Seconds Reset

Case

Diameter 44mm, Black Ceramic, Water Resistance to 10 bar (~100 metres). Smoked see-through sapphire crystal on the back.

Bezel and crown guard

Black ceramic

Dial

Black sandwich dial with luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers. Date at 3 o’clock, seconds and 24h indicator at 9 o’clock, linear power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock.

Strap

Buffalo, Black, Tone on tone, 24/22 MM Standard

More on the watch at Panerai.

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre recently launched a new Master Memovox Boutique Edition. When I have an opportunity to fondle a totally new watch, then I take it. This particular model is well known to every watch collector out there as the Memovox have been a cult watch since its first appearance in the 1950s.

Known as the iconic alarm clock, the Memovox have followed Jaeger-LeCoultre in many of their model ranges from the 1950s and up until today. The alarm function has been a continuous element showing up in both dress watches and more sporty watches.  Just imagine an underwater alarm clock for diving, or the Memovox Parking, which saves you from getting parking tickets by reminding you when your parking meter time is up.

Originally featuring a double crown and a mobile disc with the desired alarm time shown by a triangular indicator, the Memovox watch made its mark once launched. Its legendary movement, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 815, was the first automatic movement to boast an alarm function signed by the Grande Maison and has inspired many others since its introduction in 1956.

Memovox Snowdrop

Now celebrating the 60th anniversary of its automatic movement the Boutique Edition Memovox is a very contemporary interpretation of an 1970s Memovox Snowdrop design. A vintage looking blue-tinted dial is balanced out by the contemporary look of its finishes and case. And the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956 that drives the Master Memovox Boutique Edition is a direct descendent of the original.

Well, how does it really feel?

Hands-On:

First impression is a surprisingly good looking dial. I had seen this watch in pictures and honestly I thought nothing much of it. A boring dial inside a boring case. I was wrong.

The dial is really interesting. It actually feels like there are three dials in one watch. The centre disc has a magnificent deep blue sunburst finish, followed by a matt dark blue hour index and a lighter blue minute index on the outer edge. I am baffled by how the dial just works. Both understated and interesting at the same time. I could spend hours playing with the sunburst centre disc and a lightbulb.

You see how simple joys can keep a monkey occupied.

Master Memovox Boutique Edition

There are two crowns on this watch. The bottom crown is used for winding, as well as setting the time. Setting the alarm function is simple: shift the top crown into neutral position. Then, in position 2, turn this crown in anti-clockwise direction until the desired ring time. In doing so, the mobile disc with its little “retro-style” and famous Memovox indicator triangle turns around the dial to the alarm time.

I don’t know how they do it, but the alarm have a very pure sound.

I have a video on instagram you should see. Remember Volume On.

The new Memovox Boutique Edition has kept all the characteristics of the Memovox Snowdrop. And I kinda like the “retro-style” look and feel. I am glad Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to have a more contemporary design on the stainless steel case.

Master Memovox Boutique Edition

A  deep blue braided cotton was selected by for the strap and it plays nice with the light blue stitching. Further the calfskin lining ensures a nice and comfortable wearing strap.

All in all this new watch is an unexpected surprise from the Jaeger-LeCoultre Maison. And it is priced very comfortably. Now you just need to get your hands on one. Only 500 pcs made and only for sale in one of the 90 or so Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutiques worldwide.

Master Memovox Boutique Edition

 

Memovox Boutique Edition

Reference:

Q141848J

Movement:

Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956

Automatic mechanical movement

Produced, assembled, and decorated by hand

28,800 vibrations per hour

45-hour power-reserve

268 parts • 23 jewels

7.45 mm in height

Functions:

Hours, minutes, second

Date

Alarm

Case:

Stainless steel, polished finish

40 mm in diameter • 14 mm in height

Solid case-back

Water-resistance: 5 bar

Dial:

Inner dial blue sunburst

Outer dial Opaline blue

Hands:

Baton, polished, Super-Luminova

Strap:

Calfskin in Trieste black, blue topstitching

Limitation:

500 watches exclusive to Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutiques

 

Testing the Bose QC35 for a couple of weeks reminded me of the title from Kings of Convenience‘s debut album Quiet is the new loud.

I am an established user of noise cancelling headphones already. I bought the first generation headphones from Bose many years ago and I was kinda curious about how these new and wireless headphones would turn out. Had they improved the noise cancelling system? How was the overall sound quality? And are they still comfortable? Are they worth a premium?

Currently I can not even handle a short flight without my old Bose headphones. They are superb at cancelling out aircraft noise, the person next to me and the flight attendants trying to serve me coffee. There is only one problem. Slight pressure occurs inside the ear cups. And that can be a little uncomfortable at times.

Well, another drawback is that my wife totally banned the use of these after a situation on a flight to Malaysia when I fell asleep while my wife tended to our crying baby. The noise cancelling system was too good.

Bose sent me a pair of the new Bose QC35 to test for 14 days.

Bose QC35

Bose QC35

First of all the new ones look better than the old ones. Other than that the feel of quality and build is the same old Bose. They both feel sturdy and luxurious. On the new Bose QC35 the soft cushion on the ear cups and alcantara headband give that impression of luxury. There is no play in joints, and I guess the new ones are built as good as the old ones, so they’ll hold for years.

So where is the difference, and why would I spend another chunk of cash on the new ones?

 

Bose QC35

Let me start with the most obvious improvement. They’re wireless. And they have battery life lasting a full day of use. They connect easily to my iPhone via Bluetooth. The Bose Connect App helps in pairing devices. Other than that the app brings no added value. It is simply put quite uninteresting and unneeded. I hope Bose will work on it some more or just drop the whole thing.

To connect to my computer I need the mini-jack cable that is in the box. An airline standard dual-jack prong is also in the box.

On the old headphones there are two sound settings where I can turn noise cancellation on or off. On the new ones noise cancelling is always on. That made me sceptical at first, but in fact the noise cancelling system have clearly improved over the years.

Sound quality is good, and better than before. But these are obviously not hifi headphones. They have another mission. Mid-tones are a bit too flat, and in general they are very conservative. On the positive side they sound really good in low volume situations with enough bass to enhance a good sound image.

To test the noise cancelling system I took my family to the local playground.

Bose QC35

Noise cancellation is still really good. In fact also quieter in a way and with almost unnoticeable vacuum pressure inside the cups. The improvement is that the system block out all background noise but I can still hear what people are trying to tell me. As clear as without headphones. It is remarkable actually that kids shouting and playing is quiet, but what my wife tells me about me looking great with headphones on (no not really) is loud.

So quiet is actually the new loud.

Read more at Bose

 

You get what you pay for. That is my mantra. Now and then I have to reconsider. A bottle of Aberfeldy 12 YO is not cheap, but not overpriced either. It is simply put a quality single malt scotch whisky, priced at a comfortable level. But how good is it?

Aberfeldy was established in 1898 and have a long tradition for distillation of good single malt whisky. Owned by Dewars every drop of this single malt have usually been used for blending in Dewars Blended Whisky. Finally they have released their single malt on a wide distribution.

The story of Aberfeldy is also a story of water. This whisky have a rather special water source, the Pitilie Burn, also called “The Pool of the Water God”. The bottom of the water stream that runs by Aberfeldy is covered in gold dust and that is why Aberfeldy whisky is known as “The Golden Dram”.

If you would like to read more on how whisky is made – read my post on the topic. Review follows underneath.

Aberfeldy
Aberfeldy Distillery

Aberfeldy 12 YO

 

Region: Highlands, Scotland

Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley

Cask: American bourbon, Sherry

Aberfeldy

 

AppearanceAmber color, clear, medium legs.

Nose: Nice and comfortable. Tones of malt, vanilla, honey and caramel. Some dried fruits – is that apricot or the more exotic pineapple? Definite earthiness. When unsealing the bottle there is a rich almond aroma that disappears pretty fast. Pouring a second glass two days later and it is gone.

Palate: On the tongue it is quite rich and start off with a ripe fruitiness mixed with a strong malt. Honey is there, so is orange rind and almonds. Oak aroma appears, with a tiny bitterness. Kind of like chewing your pencil at school.

Finish: A long finish. Dry and well seasoned. Apricots are back with vanilla and distinct cinnamon now.

Balance: Nice balance.

Body and texture: Full bodied with a soft texture.

Overall: An elegant and balanced whisky. Not very challenging or provocative, but a really good everyday single malt.

Score: 82/100

Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy 12 YO

 

The elongated hood and the cockpit placed at the tail. My first view of the Mercedes AMG GTS leaves me speechless. This is a real sportscar. And when I hear the engine start up, my hand leaves the side of my body and reaches for the sky long before I hear the words Who wants to go first?

I had the pleasure of spending three days on the german autobahn with the Mercedes AMG GTS. As you’ve already understood I have a serious fondness for fast cars. It is not so much the engine and the engineering that I find alluring, it’s more the possibility of going really fast. Sometimes I get afraid for myself when I have this much power at my disposal. To be honest I am not a very good driver either. And I do not believe the people at Mercedes knew who they trusted their car with. If they had known they would never have invited me to the AMG factory in Affalterbach, on the outskirts of Stuttgart.

IWCAMG-5

Mercedes AMG GTS

Mercedes AMG GTS

Mercedes AMG GTS
Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images for IWC

Mercedes AMG GTS is a car developed entirely by the AMG factory. They say themselves that they do not make cars, they make engines. On the GTS they supposedly designed and developed the engine first, and then they built the car around the engine. It is still the aesthetics of the Mercedes AMG GTS that dazzle me. The inspiration is clearly from the Mercedes-Bens SLR300 Coupé designed by the famous Rudolph Uhlenhaut in 1955. That is a big plus in my opinion. The SLR300 is a looker and the GTS is a refined edition. It is simply a pure and beautiful sportscar.

Driving the car, even at slow speeds, disclose a fantastic balance. At high speed the car is so stable that 240 km/h feels like 80 km/h in my normal car. That would be the quite boring and  family friendly Passat Alltrack. AMG placed the engine as low as possible on the aluminium spaceframe and behind the front axle. The dual clutch transmission at the back axle. The weight is distributed optimally and the balance is near perfect. The result is impressive agility and handling.

The kick and the power in the 4.0 liter V8 biturbo is evident at once. The car has got numbers that are not unheard of when we are talking about sports cars, 510 Hp – 650 Nm, but the weight to hp ratio is insane at 3.3 kg/hp. At the end of the video above you can see me come up behind a Mini. Being forced to break, I have 120 km/h for a few seconds there. When I leave the Mini behind I have 240 km/h. AMG states 0-100 km/h in 3.8 sec. I may have had a limp foot there behind that Mini, but the dual clutch transmission system saved me a good 4 sec on 120-240 km/h.

All said, breaking is really the funniest thing to experience in this car, and in AMGs in general. Of course the ceramic brakes is a blast to test, but the bubbling sound of the engine when shifting to a lower gear just makes me ecstatic.

You don’t need to be an educated race driver to have fun in this car. It is astonishingly easy to drive for a car with this much power and potential. I just buckled my seat belt and did 240 km/h on snowy roads as easy as driving my family car. The only difference was the amount of speed, sound and thrill.

Mercedes AMG GTS

Mercedes AMG GTS
One Man. One Engine.
Mercedes AMG GTS
Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images for IWC

The car I tested was priced at 185.000 EUR.

You will find more information at Mercedes AMG.

Mercedes AMG GTS
Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images for IWC