IWC Aquatimer Review: Does This Diver Live Up To Its Iconic Reputation?

IWC Aquatimer Review_Feat

Despite being an iconic brand, it was not until recently that I’ve come to appreciate what IWC has to offer. To remedy that, I will be doing an IWC Aquatimer review.

The Aquatimer Ref. 812AD was the very first dive watch released by IWC. The watch debuted with a bang and featured a timeless design – which is why it’s still being made today.

Is the Aquatimer Automatic still a worthy purchase today? Let’s find out!

IWC Aquatimer Review: At a Glance

IWC Aquatimer Review_0

For this IWC Aquatimer review, we will focus on the IWC Aquatimer Automatic Ref. 3290 which is the base model. As with most of my watch reviews, let’s first take a look at the key specs and features of the IWC Aquatimer:

Model:

IWC Aquatimer Automatic

Reference #:

392001

Case material:

Stainless Steel

Case diameter:

42 mm

Case height:

14.2 mm

Crown:

Screw In
Water resistance: 30 bar

Dial:

Black dial with luminescence

Movement:

30120 Calibre, Automatic, self-winding
Power reserve: 42 hours

Frequency:

Frequency 28800.0 vph (4.0 hz)

Strap:

Black rubber strap with IWC-patented quick-change system

Strap width:

22 mm

Features:

Mechanical external/internal rotating bezel with SafeDive system

Date display

Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides

IWC bracelet quick-change system

Central hacking seconds

It’s worth mentioning that there’s another model of this watch which is the IWC Aquatimer 329002. It’s virtually the same watch but with a stainless steel bracelet.

First Impressions

I’ve been interested in IWC as a brand for quite some time now. The best IWC watches are some of the most beautiful and functional timepieces available. So I didn’t pass up the chance to check out the iconic IWC Aquatimer.

When the watch arrived, I was pleased that it’s so much better than expected. The dial features a simple design but you can tell that a great deal of craftsmanship has gone into it. The black matte dial just screams elegance.

I am not a diver myself but I appreciate just how legible the dial is. Many people seem to have a problem with the minimal seconds hand but it doesn’t bother me that much.

One of my initial concerns about the Aquatimer is its rubber strap. However, I shortly realized that my concerns were unfounded. I opted for the rubber strap because I intend to add the Aquatimer to my casual day-to-day rotation, so the rubber strap is the obvious choice for its lightness. Fortunately, the quality of the strap is on-point.

The Aquatimer seems to have a bit of heft to it but it’s far from a bulky profile. My first impression is that I made the right choice with the Aquatimer, despite my initial concerns.

The Case

My Aquatimer Automatic came in a 42 mm stainless steel case and it’s about 14 mm tall. While the watch is marketed towards men, I do believe that the Aquatimer has the style and size that would look great when worn by some ladies.

After all, this Aquatimer model is the smallest watch in the IWC dive watch lineup.

Moving on, there’s not much to say about the stainless steel case except that it feels solid and robust. This is a fairly high-end dive watch and the case very well represents the luxury feel of IWC watches. One interesting design element of the case is the notched bezel (more on that later). These subtle notches are a plus for me and show IWC’s attention to detail.

The crown, crystal, and caseback are properly secured with gaskets – hardly a surprise when it’s a dive watch. The screw-in crown ensures that the watch can provide reliable water resistance. The Aquatimer has a water resistance rating of 300 meters (approx. 1,000 feet) which is nothing short of impressive.

The domed sapphire crystal protects the dial and has an anti-reflective coating on both sides. This ensures that the watch is legible at all times.

The Dial

I have always been a big fan of black dials, so opting for the black dial Aquatimer is a no-brainer. However, there are other variants of the 392001 such as the limited edition, Aquatimer Automatic Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau”.

The Aquatimer’s dial can only be described as clean and elegant. It still pretty much looks like the early IWC divers and you know what they say about things that aren’t broke.

Perhaps one of the first things you’ll notice about the dial are the oversized hour and minute baton hands. This gives an interesting contrast against the thin and minimal seconds hand. The markers for every 5 minutes are applied which gives an almost 3D-like effect. The date aperture is found at the 3 o’clock marker – pretty standard stuff.

The hour markers, bezel, and the hands are all coated with luminescent coating. I’ve tested the lume and I must say that it looks great even under total darkness. The glow of the dial is simply mesmerizing. I only hope that the glow lasts for a long while.

The Bezel

IWC Aquatimer Review_Bezel

Undoubtedly, the most interesting part of the Aquatimer for me is the bezel.

All the Aquatimer timepieces are fitted with the patented “SafeDive” rotating bezel. As mentioned, the Aquatimer’s bezel is subtly notched which is a deliberate design decision. The notched design makes it easier to rotate the external bezel which works like a standard dive watch.

However, there’s another internal bezel or flange which showcases the diving scale. The internal bezel can only be rotated in counterclockwise direction. According to IWC, this ensures that even when the outer bezel is inadvertently rotated, the dive time will not be adjusted.

The 60-click bezel operation is utterly satisfying. Moreover, the clicky rotation adds a great deal to the adjustment accuracy. IWC has nailed its proprietary bezel design – very functional and easy to use.

The Movement

IWC Aquatimer Review_Movement

You can’t have an IWC Aquatimer review without talking about its movement.

The IWC Aquatimer Automatic is powered by the caliber 30120, a self-winding movement. It features 21-jewels, a date display, a central hacking feature, 28,800 vph (4Hz) frequency, and a 42-hour power reserve.

I must admit that I was slightly disappointed to find out that the Aquatimer doesn’t come with an in-house movement. Interestingly, the caliber 30120 is derived from ETA 2892. IWC gets the 2892 in kit form and performs the assembly themselves with some modifications/additions of their own.

However, I am not one to complain especially when the 2892 is a durable and easily serviceable movement. SO far, I have no problems with the accuracy but I intend to test it some more. Other than that, there’s not much to talk about as far as the movement goes.

Overall, despite the lack of an in-house movement, the Aquatimer has more than earned its worth through its other components.

The Strap

First and foremost, don’t knock the Aquatimer just because it comes with a rubber strap. The quality and design of the Aquatimer strap is about what you can expect from a luxury dive watch.

For starters, the rubber strap didn’t have any vanilla or rubber smell. The strap was manufactured to smell neutral which is something that I can get behind. This means that the rubber strap was well manufactured.

Furthermore, the strap features seven buckle holes and finding the right fit was a breeze. Once strapped i, the watch feels very comfortable and the rubber strap didn’t cause any irritation which I can’t say with other rubber straps.

Perhaps the best part of the strap is the quick change system. The interior end of the strap is outfitted with custom steel that snaps into the case. Attaching and re-attaching the strap is quick and convenient. However, this also means that you can only use IWC brand rubber straps.

Pricing

The price of the Aquatimer Automatic dive watch is just about right for the base model. If you choose to get the version with a steel bracelet, expect to pay about $1,000 more.

This IWC dive watch also comes in many other variants like the Aquatimer Chronograph and the super luxurious Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “50 Years Aquatimer”.

The lack of a real in-house movement is disappointing at first but after wearing it for weeks, it felt like the asking price is more than justified. Other aspects of the Aquatimer is just so well done that you can easily forget its other flaws.

For professional divers, the Aquatimer might just be one of the best diving timepieces around. It doesn’t offer a whole lot when it comes to diving features, like a dive computer, but it does very well with what it can offer. Ease of use and legibility are top-notch. The luminescent coating should also serve you well when underwater.

Ultimately, the Aquatimer is more than worth it for the price.

Should You Get the IWC Aquatimer Automatic?

IWC Aquatimer Review_Feat

We wrap up this IWC Aquatimer review with my verdict. Is the IWC Aquatimer worth the investment?

Whether it’s for everyday wear or diving, the Aquatimer should serve you well. The watch boasts high-quality construction and excellent durability, making it ideal even for regular rotations. Also, numerous unique design elements make the Aquatimer stand out from other divers. The bezel and strap are my favorite parts.

It’s also a great-looking watch despite the fairly simplistic appearance. The overall look is clean, elegant, and iconic. The IWC Aquatimer Automatic is a worthy addition to any dive watch collection.

Hublot Classic Fusion Review: An In-Depth Look at the Classic Fusion Titanium 45mm

Hublot Classic Fusion Review Featured

Hublot – talk about a brand that aims high.

It’s a brand that isn’t afraid to experiment, which allowed Hublot to create watches that really push the limits of the excessive and avant-garde. There’s a good chance that you’ve seen your favorite athletes and celebrities wearing a Hublot timepiece.

With the Hublot Classic Fusion, the Swiss luxury watchmaker has created a truly timeless collection that just keeps on giving.

I am very excited about today’s review because we have a truly classic watch for you. For this Hublot Classic Fusion review, we dive deep into the Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium 45mm.

Hublot Classic Fusion Review: At a Glance

The Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Titanium is perhaps the best entry-level watch to consider if you’re looking to get your very first Hublot.

Let’s first take a look at the key specs and features of the watch:

Model:

Hublot Classic Fusion 45mm Titanium

Reference:

511.NX.1171.LR

Case size:

45 mm

Case:

Polished and Satin-finished Titanium

Bezel:

Vertical Satin-finished Titanium with 6 H-shaped Titanium Screws

Available sizes:

42-38-33 mm

Crystal:

Sapphire with Anti-reflective Treatment

Dial:

Mat Black Dial, Satin-finished Rhodium-plated Appliques, Polished Rhodium-plated Hands
Strap: Black Rubber and Alligator Straps

Clasp:

Stainless Steel Deployant Buckle Clasp

Movement:

HUB1112, Self-winding Movement

Power reserve:

42 Hours

Water resistance:

50m or 5 ATM

First Impression

Prior to the Classic Fusion, my only exposure with Hublot is with the Big Bang which was so popular back in 2005 that it brought the ailing brand back to life. While I do think that the Hublot Big Bang is a feat in watchmaking, its busy and bold aesthetic is not for me.

The release of the Classic Fusion changed all that.

The Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium looks more demure and contemporary when compared to the Big Bang. I got some homework done and it’s clear that Hublot drew some inspiration from their early watches from the 1980s. At 45mm and with just a simple date window, it’s about as straightforward as you can get with a Hublot timepiece.

Unboxing the Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium was such a pleasure. I have had watches that have a more premium price point than this model but this packaging blows them out of the water. The attention to detail is astounding and it even comes with USB authentication and you can register the watch over at Hublostista.com.

As for the watch itself, the no-nonsense approach is what makes it so interesting. Although it’s indeed a subtle and softer Hublot, the Classic Fusion Titanium is clearly a well-made watch. The 45mm wide case has me worried but it’s really not that bad unless you have a smaller wrist.

The simple crown and muted matte black dial add a great deal to the premium feel of the timepiece. The “H” screws on the bezel provide the much-needed Hublot hallmark.

Simplicity is where it’s at, and the Classic Fusion Titanium does a fine job without looking too plain and dull.

Case: Size and Construction

 

 

As I have mentioned, the 45mm wide case is usually at the higher spectrum of my comfort zone. However, one thing that I really like about the Classic Fusion Titanium is its slimness. Actually, I think Hublot did a great job with setting the slimness against the wide case of the watch. If you think 45mm isn’t for you, the Titanium is also available in three other sizes: 42-38-33 mm.

The polished titanium case looks great and I was surprised that it even looks better in person. The case gives that refined look which is a nice surprise coming from a brand that tends to go for louder design choices. The six H screws significantly help in achieving that trademark Hublot brand look. While the unaligned screws may annoy some people, I enjoyed the fact that they are not evenly aligned.

The imperfect placement of the screws adds a great deal of personality to the piece. The faceted lugs along with the porthole aesthetic complete the overall look of the Titanium. The mix of polish and vertical brush finishes keep things interesting. The transparent caseback shows the beautiful movement which is always something I enjoy.

One complaint that I have is with the watch’s ability to ward off scratches and cuffs. Although Hublot claimed that they used grade 6 titanium, I was surprised that it already has tiny scuffs on the bezel only after a few hours of wear. It’s hardly a big deal but it can be a deal-breaker for some collectors.

Dial: Simplicity is Its Strength

I’ve been going about how simple the Titanium is but that doesn’t mean that it’s not stylish at all. On the contrary, this is one good-looking timepiece.

The black dial with the satin finish gives us the best of both worlds of being elegant and sporty. The dial throws light all over the place and is further enhanced by the Rhodium-plated hands and appliqués – both design elements are polished and faceted.

At 12 o’clock you will see both Hublot logos and the date window sits at 3 o’clock. The stylized Automatic label is positioned at 6 o’clock. Again, these elements are all basic and nothing to write home about but they are all well-done and symmetrical. You got to love those clean lines.

If you are looking for a similar watch with more pizzazz to it, the pricier Hublot Classic Fusion Power Reserve Titanium is certainly worth the look.

One thing that I really appreciate about the dial is its rich texture. This is where Hublot’s attention to detail pays off. From the hour markers to the hands, everything about the dial just screams textured – it’s oddly satisfying.

The dial is far from perfect though. My main issue with the Titanium is legibility. When it’s bright out, the watch suffers from legibility issues. In low light conditions, you’ll wish that the hands and hour markers are lumed for increased legibility.

Movement: Gets the Job Done

Hublot Classic Fusion Review Movement

The Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium is powered by the self-winding movement HUB1112. It’s interesting to note that this movement is based on the automatic Sellita caliber SW300-1 movement which is also used in brands like Baume et Mercier and Bell and Ross pilot watches.

While the Classic Fusion uses a derivative movement, there’s nothing to be concerned about since the Sellita has been proven to be accurate and reliable. Hublot succeeds in finishing the movement to their own standards and even added their own in-house date module (only the 45mm version).

The lack of a pure in-house movement doesn’t really bother me personally. Keep in mind that the Titanium is an entry-level model. With that said, even the staunchest movement snob will begrudgingly agree that the Sellita is a rock solid movement.

Wearability: Undeniable Wrist Presence

 

 

The Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium comes in two types of bracelet: the alligator strap and rubber strap which is fondly referred to as “gummy strap.” Surprisingly, the strap is one of my most favorite things about this Classic Fusion package.

The rubber-backed alligator strap is my go-to for dressier events. The leather is sewn into the rubber lining which not only adds to the overall appeal of the watch, it’s quite comfortable as well. I was expecting some stiffness from the strap but I was pleasantly surprised.

For my daily wear, the rubber strap works great especially when you’re shooting for a sportier look. Both straps are very easy to adjust. The addition of the Hublot logo at the buckle is another detail that I enjoy. I have to applaud Hublot for paying great attention to detail to the straps.

It really feels like you’re wearing a premium timepiece.

Many people are saying that Hublot does wrist presence well. I am happy to confirm that particular feedback on account of personal experience. I have lost count of the number of compliments I’ve received while wearing the Titanium. It’s indeed a watch that you can easily wear in a variety of settings.

It’s just a good-looking, stylish piece through and through.

Pricing

As mentioned several times in this review, the Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium is an entry-level model. With that said, I think Hublot nailed the pricing for the Titanium.

If you are looking to give Hublot a well-deserved try, the Titanium is the perfect gateway piece. If you don’t fancy the black dial, the Classic Fusion Titanium Opalin and Classic Fusion Blue Titanium are good alternatives.

In comparison, the limited editions and high-end models of the Classic Fusion are easily triple or quadruple the vanilla Titanium. For instance, the Classic Fusion Chronograph Rose Gold and Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski are excellent considerations for serious collectors.

So you might be asking, for the price, will you get the full Hublot experience with the Titanium? I would say yes! From the look and feel, the Titanium boasts the pure Hublot DNA.

Should You Get the Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium?

To end this Hublot Classic Fusion review, we ask if this watch is worth the investment.

While it looks like the Classic Fusion is essentially a stripped-down version of the Big Bang, this is not the case at all. Hublot took the core of what makes the Big Bang and condensed it into a softer and more subtle package. It’s elegant and sporty at the same time, and housed in a contemporary slim case.

It has its fair share of drawbacks and it’s mainly with the legibility of the piece. Honestly, for a luxury watch, you’d be hard-pressed to find any serious issue with the watch.

Hopefully, this Hublot Classic Fusion review has helped you decide if the Titanium is a good entry-level option to the Hublot brand.