IWC cal. 32524 in the Aquatimer and Facts

Originally Posted by Time Flies on September 20, 1998

Copyright, 1998, 1999, G. J. Buhyoff

Well, I can see that it is time to post this. l wanted to wait until I had even more information about the sealing process used in the IWC Aquatimer and some additional detail about movement parts finishing…but, there seems to be enough argument and misguided thought expressed on the Forum to hasten this post.

First, Aquatimer uses an IWC cal. 32524 movement which is “based” upon an ETA 2892. It is NOT an ETA 2892 in the same way that the Valjoux 7750 in the Flieger Chrono is not a Valjoux 7750. Both IWC movements are BASED upon these two more commonly used movements. l don’t want to restate what I and others have said over and over and over again. So, I will reference some important REQUIRED reading at the end of the piece.

Before, I itemize what I have discovered from my sources regarding the Aquatimer’s Cal. 32524, let me note a few related thoughts. First, what movement should IWC have used in the Aquatimer? A JLC 889 base? I do not believe this would have been a good choice. The 889 is a bit too delicate and sensitive to losing adjustment without special external (to the movement) shock absorption (ala the Inegeniuer). The Aquatimer is designed to be tough sport watch that is intended to take a beating commensurate with its 2000 meter water resistance rating and its 3.2mm thick sapphire crystal.

So, what would you use? A tough reliable handwound movement? Yes, that might have been a good choice but the market is looking for automatic movements in all liklihood and a sport watch, especially one engineered for diving, likely demands an automatic movement. What other JLC movement would qualify for a sport watch? Think about it. What movement design, short of designing a new movement, fits the bill? Design a new movement? Boy, that would sure limit the sales of the Aquatimer since the price would be much higher due to the consumer having to absorb the cost of R&D and retooling.

The 2892 is used in wide range of watches and what does matter is that the design of the movement, while not particularly elegant to some, is a workhorse that has been around for a long while and improved over time (see reading below authored by Walt Odets). More importantis what HAS BEEN DONE to the stock movement, not the movement base or kit.

Secondly, l would like to quote my friend Michael Freidberg in a post he made –

“When I met with Renee Schwartz, head of service for IWC Schaffhausen, at the Basel Fair, l specifically raised with him thesubject ofIWC using ETA 2892 ebauches. He explained that IWC replaces most of the critical parts with parts of their own specification, including replacing the wheels with a stronger metal composition, and also the use of a longer mainspring for theoretically greater accuracy. When I met with IWC in Schaffhausen, l learned that IWC finishes its movements to its higher specifications and assembles all base movements from scratch — even when they use JLC ebauches. A 2892 is really a design — and there is nothing wrong with the design. If it is implemented with high quality parts, finished meticulously and assembled with painstaking care, it can be a very good movement.”

Now, here is what I have found about the IWC 32524:

IWC uses a 2892 KIT — not an assembled ebauche. They take this kit and replace parts or use parts of their own design to meet their own specifications for tolerance and strength. These include:

  • the gear train
  • wheels and levers
  • mainspring and barrel
  • a 21 K gold mass is added to the rotor for winding efficiency
  • all parts are finished and assembled by hand

Is this a stock 2892? No. ls it based upon the design of the 2892? Yes. ls it likely to be a fine movement, given the finishing and the parts specifications used ( metalurgy and tolerances) used by IWC? Yes, definitely. Was it a smart choice for IWC? I think so, definitely. IWC has based their caliber on a tough, proven design but likely made it tougher and one with greater expected longevity due to the application of their specification standards, finishing and hand assembly.

Finally, I am always a little amazed that some people do not use the fantastic resources that are available via TimeZone including Jack Freedman’s Escape Wheeling series, Walt Odet’s Horologium pieces and the array of other archived posts as well as the posts on the Bulletin Board.

I strongly suggest you read the following related posts that will give further detail about the subjects I have spoken about in the post above. My research and the citations below ought to answer many of the questions you might have about why the IWC caliber 32524 is not really an ETA 2892, but rather a caliber BASED upon the ETA 2892. In addition, be sure to read Mycroft’s post about IWC Titanium finish and information regarding the sealing system used in the Aquatimer.

Additional TZ Reading:

Technical Posts About Watches:

A Comparison of ETA Movements” by Walt Odets

Escape Wheeling:

The Beauty of Watch Decorations and Finishes” by Jack Freedman

Horlogium:(all by Walt Odets):

The Keyless Works

The Motion Works

The A-B-C’s of Watch Finish

Anatomy of a $85.00 Watch…

Elsewhere on the Forum:

A Tour of IWC” by the Group of Five

When a 7750 ain’t a 7750 any longer” by Time Flies

Use all of this information and then you decide whether the IWC caliber 32524 in the Aquatimer meets your needs and requirements.

I hope this is of help.


Greg (Time Flies)

The author’s comments in this review are his own opinions. The best available facts were used to compile this information at the time of writing. Manufacturers change specifications and some manufacturers do not reveal detailed information about engineering details and manufacturing processes. I cannot be responsible for any inadvertent inaccuracies that may have occurred in the research and writing of this article.