Even though Fabian Cancellara had been a friend of IWC for a decade, it is only since “Spartacus” retired that IWC were able to organise their first event with the double Olympic and quadruple world time trial champion. Fittingly, the “Spartacus Ride” was organised in his home town of Berne and allowed a select group of cycling enthusiasts, who had qualified at events organised by the Holmes Place gyms in Zurich and Geneva, to join Cancellara on his favourite training route along the Emme valley. Your editor-in-chief was lucky enough to join them for the ride, fortunately assisted by the powerful electric motor of a Trek Supercommuter+ 8S, which, when switched to “sport” mode, allowed him to power past the peloton on the final climb, not without a tinge of guilt.
The occasion was to launch the new Ingenieur Chronograph Edition “Cancellara” which has been designed by the cycling star. Here, too, the stars had to align before such a project became possible. As Christian Knoop, head of IWC’s Creative Center, explained to WorldTempus, “we rarely do special editions related to personalities, but after so many years working with Fabian and seeing all his achievements we thought that now was the time. The new Ingenieur collection was perfect for this because we could add more sporty qualities to the watch but at the same time keep a certain elegance from the core collection that fits well with Fabian. We did something similar with the AMG edition watch we launched recently.”
The new chronograph is also an opportunity to show the potential of the revised Ingenieur collection. The “Cancellara” edition introduces a different design, using a smaller (42mm) case in brushed titanium with the in-house IWC calibre 69370 self-winding chronograph movement. Its most distinctive elements are the contrasting black chronograph counters against the silver dial with sunray finish and a transparent sapphire crystal caseback revealing a winding rotor in the design of the wheel of a time trial bike. “We knew that Fabian would go for some sporty features and the new Ingenieur in itself is pretty elegant,” explains Christian Knoop, “so we have been able to enhance the collection to introduce the sporty element. This watch is clearly different from the standard collection and adds a different character to it.”
The home time is read through the city ring plus the new local time is read from the two center-mounted, faceted dauphine hands. Unfortunately, none of this is often observed while in the dark, and even in daylight the legibility of the Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum is just not as very good as that with the IWC Worldtimer.
IWC has also staunchly refused to be drawn into the trap of creating limited editions that are anything but. Taking inspiration from Fabian Cancellara’s lucky number 7, only 77 of the Ingenieur Chronograph Edition “Cancellara” will be produced. The majority of these will remain in Switzerland, with just 7 pieces being allocated to Belgium and Luxembourg, 7 to the UAE and 7 to the US.