- Part Three -

1967-1976: Cal. 854/8541/8541B

Cal. 854 and 8541 (ref. 866 A and 866 AD) Ingenieurs from 1968.
See full page here.


The c.854/8541 was introduced by IWC around 1964, but for whatever reasons was not incorporated into the Ingenieur until 1967. Indeed, for 1966 when most other automatics had already been equipped with the new c.854x, the IWC catalog still offered the old Ingenieur model with the c.853x movement. And a Japanese flyer of the same period shows the old ref. 666 A next to the new Yacht Club and Aquatimer models which both were launched at the turn of 1966/67 (this is thus the last appearance of the ref. 666). The July issue of the German journal "Die Uhr", however indicates that the new Ingenier with the c.854x had been announced at least by mid-1967, and the new line featured prominently at the Basel fair of 1968, as can been seen in this 1968 issue of JSHB ("Journale Suisse d’Horlogerie et Bijouterie") covering the news from the fair. 

The new movement was slightly slimmer, the date indication was moved closer towards the edge, and it featured a precision adjustment with an adjustable drop on balance and weights on the balance arms. To take advantage of its slimness, a new case had to be created.  Because the reference numbering system at this time was based on case types, the basic reference changed from 666 to 866.  When IWC changed their reference numbering system, the 866 A and 866 AD changed, respectively, to the ref. 1808 (with date) and the ref. 1908 (no date).

With the advent of the new calibre, IWC evidently decided to give the looks of the Ingenieur a face-lift as well, giving all dials of the model a uniform look with distinctive twin hour markers, baton-shaped hands, and an eye-catching paddle-neck second hand. A larger crown was added as well.  Apparently the mixed case style (14kt with stainless steel caseback) was no longer produced, and the only known gold version was in 18kt yellow gold.  The dials, while fewer in variety, were now given extra special attention, with many having a sunburst pattern or other special finish.  During this time period silver dials were the main offering, but gray/anthracite and an exquisite midnight blue were also available on stainless steel models, while silver and gold/champagne dials (see 1974 catalog below) were also available for the 18kt variations.  White and black dials may also have been produced but the authors have found no reference to such dials in the catalogs or other reference material.  The status of the Ingenieur as a top-end product was furthermore underlined by use of hour markers made out of white gold (or yellow for the 18 kt. models) and the possible use of white gold powder on silver dials. Some examples thus bear the APRIOR-mark (see below) conferred by the "Association pour la Promotion Industrielle de l'Or" to dials made of solid gold or at least equipped with solid gold markers. Notably, a dial lacing the APRIOR-mark does not mean the markers are not gold. The Aprior was mainly active around 1970 with many ads in watch journals, but its cachet is used by some manufactures to this day. For the purpose of the APRIOR see this article and this one.

Sometime in the late-1960s or early-1970s, an applied "IWC" logo was introduced on the dial above the script "International Watch Company."  It is not certain whether this logo was used with much regularity and this is the source of some confusion.  The 1972 and 1974 catalogs show the Ingenieur without the applied "IWC" logo, although it appears on other IWC models in those catalogs, appears on this IWC dial catalog (circa 1972), a 1972 brochure (at right), and certainly appeared on many Ingenieurs during this timeframe.

A ref. 866AD silver dial and 866A blue

dial from a 1972 Japanese brochure

Also, shortly before 1970, IWC introduced the 8541B movement which featured some slight improvements.  Although most 8541B movements "hack" and most 8541 movements do not, this is not the distinguishing characteristic between the two.  Rather, the key difference is the use of a "Grenier" type collet on the "B" model.  Oddly, IWC used both of these movements in the Ingenieur for a period of many years and designated both movements as "caliber 8541" in its archives.


The ref. 866 Ingenieur was produced in less numbers than its predecessor. Especially scarce are the non-date version despite that it was featured in the 1968 catalog (top of page) and the 1972 dial catalog. One of the reason for the limited success of the new model may have been that the Yacht Club proved to be far more popular. The Yacht Club (also containing the c.854x) was introduced in 1967 and was more fashionable (for its time). As a result, the Ingenieur lost its position as IWC's flagship model and its popularity began to wane, at least in the main markets of central Europe. The catalogs of the period tell the same story, and by 1975 the Ingenieur was conspicously absent from a selection of the more popular IWC models.


Rare 866A (non-date) with 18kt case.



The 1972 catalog (right) still gives the Ingenieur a prominent role, although much more space is devoted to the Yacht Club.  The only Ingenieur pictured is a stainless steel model with a silver dial on a steel bracelet, yet the price list makes clear that there is also a steel model with a blue sunray dial (called midnight blue in the catalog) and 18kt gold models with silver or gold dials. The stainless steel model was available on a crocodile strap or bracelet while the 18kt gold models were only available on the strap. The non-date version (ref. 1908, formerly 866 A) is not mentioned at all, suggesting that this model may have been discontinued.



Ref. 1808 Ingenieur from IWC's 1972 catalog.




Above, an 18kt gold ref. 866 with a "champage" dial, as
shown in the below picture from IWC's 1974 catalog.

Above, a rare non-date ref. 866 with an uncataloged white-dial but
with printing similar to this model (described later in this section) with
"Schaffhausen" in script and "IWC" printed on the dial, not applied.

At right, page from the 1974 IWC catalog. The Ingenieur's presence in the was reduced to three pages and in 1975 the Ingenieur is conspicuous by its absence, although the dealer notebooks as late as 1977 listed the ref. 866/1808 Ingenieur alongside its replacement, the ref. 1832.

English translation: Superantimagnetic and waterproof. For "occupation" people, who work within the range of magnetic fields.  A double housing, whose internal layer consists of soft iron protects the movement from magnetic field up to 1000 oersted (80,000 ampere per meter).  In high-grade steel, waterproof to 12 atu (120 meters sea-deep), in gold to 6 atu (60 meters sea-deep).  Left. 18kt yellow gold or high-grade steel. Automatic, calendar.  Right. high-grade steel with high-grade steel-band. Automatic, Calendar.



Silver Dialed 854x Ingenieurs



The silver-dialed models with the 8541 and 8541B movements are certainly the most frequently encountered of the 8541x Ingenieurs.  There might have been two types of silver dials, with a later version whose dial is said to have been finished using a mix that included white gold powder (see post-1968 examples below). These later examples are typically found with the applied "IWC" logo and the APRIOR-mark, and the dials appears to have a richer texture and color than earlier examples.


Silver dial on a ref. 866 with an 18kt gold case.



Cal. 8541 from 1968 with original IWC bracelet. Click here for dial detail.
The larger crown is easy to handle on the 854x Ingenieurs.








Cal. 8541B from 1973. Sunburst silver dial with paddleneck seconds
hands, baton hands, applied IWC logo and large Ingenieur typeface.
Tritium in hour-markers. Click here for another view.





8541B on original IWC "oyster" bracelet. Back view is here.

On original IWC ref. 11 bracelet.


Gray / Anthracite Dialed 854x Ingenieurs


An "anthracite" dial, which appears in IWC marketing materials from 1968-1971, was available during this period on the ref. 866, the Yacht Club, and other automatic men models. This dial is one of the most mercurial of the Ingenieur series.  At some angles it appears black while from other points of view it is a light gray.  In IWC collector Mike Margolis' article on his purchase of an anthracite-dialed Inge, he describes the dial as follows: "It is a brushed anthracite grey color, with applied 18kt white gold markers and date window.  The color must be some kind of chemical darkening, because the words International Watch Co., Schaffhausen and Ingenieur are not painted or screened on, but rather show the absence of the grey color, sort of like reverse screen printing."





The apparent faintness of the writing on the dial in this picture is purely an effect of the light and angle of view. Other views here, here, and here.


This Ingenieur on original bracelet is also "branded" with the Türler logo making it, like the Tiffany-dialed 852 Ingenieur depicted on page 2, quite rare and unique. Türler is one of Switzerland's largest jewelers.

A great photo clearly showing the
vertical brushing on the dial.

Close up.


"Midnight" Blue Dialed 854x Ingenieurs


This beautiful variation of the Ingenieur is also one of the rarest -- at least for those in regular production. Like the silver-dialed Ingenieur the "midnight" blue dial (as it was referred to in IWC's catalogs) has a very fine "soleil" (sunray) pattern.  Although we can confirm it was listed in IWC's 1972 and 1974 catalogs, it is rarely encountered.

On original IWC ref. 11 bracelet.


Rare blue-dialed ref. 866 A (no date)

From the IWC Museum.


The sunray pattern is clearly visible.

Another view.

Another blue-dialed Ingenieur, this one on an original IWC
"oyster-style" bracelet. A good look at the height of
the applied markers. Hi-Res picture

The printing on the blue dial is white ink.

( picture by Pedro Pinho).








Although the above discussion mentions the existence of Ingenieur dials that were not catalogued, a very special category of such watches exist -- Ingenieurs with so-called "military-style" dials, that is, white Arabic numerals on a black dial.  Notably, despite IWC's storied reputation for producing watches for actual military use, it has not been documented that any Ingenieurs were actually ever issued by any military service. However, it is evident that Ingenieurs were "sampled" by the "Bundeswehr" (the then West German military).

First, a c.8521 surfaced in Munich with markings on the lugs. There has been speculation that the markings are from the German Bundeswehr (reportedly indicating that this was the 6th IWC Ingenieur submitted for mil-spec certification) and that Germany's commercial distributor for military watches submitted this piece for testing. This example, however, has no military markings on the caseback.


Pictured below are a cal. 854 (top) and cal. 8541 (bottom) that were evaluated by the Bundeswehr. Noted military watch historian Konrad Knirim, author of "Military Timepieces: 150 Years of Watches and Clocks of the German Army," took these images at the quartermaster office of the Bundeswehr (BWB Koblenz) and reports that a handful of these watches were tested by the Bundeswehr but never made it into general service.

The below example recently appeared on the vintage market with similar Bundeswehr markings as those above but with a "Mark XI" style dial. The authenticity of this watch as a genuine "Bund" example has not been confirmed. While the author's have no reason to doubt its authenticity, it should be noted that at least one similar dial has appeared on the vintage market. The watch was restored and the hands, although are not original to the watch. A picture of the unrestored version is located here.

In contrast to the above examples, most "military" Ingenieurs were really specially produced for civilian sale with dials like those of its authentic military cousins. Because of their rarity and desirability, these military-dialed Ingenieurs command a very high premium on the vintage market. One notable variation is the "Mark XI" Ingenieur, also branded by Tiffany & Co. (below right). This "one-off" is believed to have been made in 1966 for Henri Stern of Patek Philippe fame, who was also at that time the U.S. distributor for IWC.

c. 8531- Printed logo and
aviator-style hands.

Same dial but on original bracelet.

C. 853 with “Tiffany & Co.” marked dial. Dial says Ingenieur, however style is Mark XI including the Mark XI hands (notice the “stub” hour hand).





C. 8541 - from the IWC archives.  A limited production “civilian”

Ingenieur. Has hands (including paddle-neck seconds hand)

like the regular production 854x Ingenieurs.

Same style as at left. Cal. 8541B.  Another view here.

Another view of the above-right Ingenieur.

A cal. 8541 with a “Mark XI” style dial but
without any "Bundesweher" markings on the back.




From the IWC Museum.




- PART 4 -