WatchOtaku : IWC Aquatimer preview and Marinemaster comparison

IWC Aquatimer 2000 ref 3638-02

A quick comparison of the IWC Aquatimer and Seiko SBDX001.

I've had this all of 3 days or so, but some quick first impressions:

  • I was mistaken about the strap attachment. This 3568 reference changed the lugs, and from the pictures it looks like they're standard:

    They're not. Custom to IWC, licensed from Cartier. I'll be posting some links on alternatives and bracelets. Major negative, as the bracelet and straps are way overpriced, 1k for bracelet!
  • Despite being bigger and heavier than I was looking for, the shape of the case and caseback make it sit lower and more comfortably than the Marinemaster. We'll see how it wears over time.
  • The bezel is astounding. 60-click, with a precise and lovely click, overhanging the case such that it's effortless to grab and rotate quickly. I like internal bezels, but they're slower to set and that's one reason why I wasn't interested in the previous Aquatimer 3548 with that feature. The sapphire bezel inset has six layers of Superluminova on the underside, in yellow and blue, and glows like a champ. Here's a lume comparison with the champion Marinemaster:
    • So the IWC is almost as bright as the Seiko, but that includes the bezel so the IWC is dimmer. Both lose intensity at the same rate.
    • Both are very visible after 8 hours - win!
  • At a distance, the yellow on the bezel is quite a highlight. Bright, asymmetric, bold, it definitely marks the design as fancy. (For lack of a better term.)
  • Speaking of color, the yellow highlights are really enjoyable in person: there's yellow on the bezel, the tip of the second hand, the minute hand (matches the bezel, since that's how you time a dive), '2000 meters' text and actually the minute markers on the dial as well. Lovely.
  • The crown lacks crown guards; I'm ambivalent on that. It's solidly made and easy to manipulate, but I've a friend that lost an unprotected crown on his Fortis to a suitcase strap. That'd hurt.
  • Unlike the Omega Planet Ocean, this lacks the helium escape valve and associated crown. Win!

Comparison with the Seiko

I've just sold the Seiko, but I grabbed it for a few quick comparison photos, as the previous best dive watch I've owned.

The first thing I noticed is how deep the Seiko dial appears. With the raised bezel, domed crystal and deeper-set dial, it looks more like a porthole next to the IWC. Easier to read the IWC as you tilt your wrist. The AR coatings on the IWC are much more obvious, too, a pronounced blue tint.

The lugs hang lower on the IWC:

which makes it sit quite a bit lower on the wrist:


Trust me, the Seiko sits high and heavy; the IWC sits snug and doesn't move.

I do wish I had the IWC bracelet, but I won't miss the super-thick clasp on the Marinemaster.

Both have nicely shaped and filled hands, but the stamped second hand on the seiko isn't as well made as the one on the IWC. I do wish the IWC had more lume on the second hand, though.

The metal finishing and casework is better on the Seiko - the brushed finish on the IWC looks almost unfinished by comparison; less even and shallower. The Seiko has perfect mirror finishing, complex curved surfaces and perfect edging throughout.

I like the hand lengths better on the IWC - longer, easier to read precisely.

What do you think?


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