Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
July 16, 1945.
Dense cloud cover clung to the mountains in the high desert. A summer thunderstorm drifted over the valley, and then skittered away on a breeze. By 4:45 AM, the rain had cleared, but the clouds lingered.
An hour later, through the haze of early morning sunlight, their vision obscured by goggles, a group of ten men watched as the “gadget” that had been the center of their lives for the past three years was raised to the top of a tower and then dropped. The sand melted and turned green. An immense ball of light—yellow, green, red, then purple—flared up in the valley before them.
For good or ill, the world had entered an Atomic Age. But once the war had ended, the same men who had constructed that instrument of dread, the atomic bomb, sought to harness the power of the atom for more peaceful pursuits. True, mushroom clouds would be familiar sights throughout the American southwest, as the military honed that power to develop bigger and better bombs.
But as David Lilienthal, the chair of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, said in 1949, “Atomic energy is not simply a search for new energy, but more significantly a beginning of human history in which faith in knowledge can vitalize man’s whole life.”
Nuclear power plants sprung up, their cooling towers dotting the American landscape from Shippingport in the East, to the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station in the Midwest, to Vallecitos Nuclear Center in the West. Ford introduced a scale model of a concept car, the Nucleon, to much fanfare. And in 1958 a nuclear-powered submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, became the first submarine to penetrate the dense pack ice surrounding the North Pole.
All of this newly-harnessed nuclear energy required a new breed of scientists to work with it, and these scientists required new tools. The wristwatches that had seen them through the war, in the cockpits of airplanes, were repurposed and redesigned for this nuclear era. Albert Pellaton, the same man who had put an iron dust cover around the Calibre 83 to create the Calibre 89, put pen to pad once more, with the needs of these scientists in mind.
This watch, the IWC Ingenieur, was what resulted. As with the military watch that had informed its design, the IWC Mark XI, the movement of the Ingenieur—Calibre 852—was encased in iron, protecting the watch from magnetic fields up to 80,000 amperes per meter. The thunderbolt on the dial drove home the point that this was a scientist’s watch.
Other variations of the Ingenieur followed, as IWC developed and improved the movements that powered it, resulting in a self-winding calibre—the Calibre 8531 that powers this particular watch, a Reference 666AD.
Though Gerald Genta would go on to revamp the Ingenieur in the 1970s, early examples like this one are hard to find, and embody the design ethos that informed Atomic Age aesthetics.
With a beautiful gloss black service dial and applied markers, it can pass as a dress watch. But looks decieve—that 36mm case is as sturdy as you need for daily wear. Whether you’re a scientist or just need a robust watch with a fascinating story, the Ingenieur is it.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.