Continuing on our exploration of eBay’s authenticate program once again—their buyer protection/authenticity verification program that launched a little while back—we’re onto another pre-owned gem that we’d just about forgotten about since its discontinuation back in 2009. We’re talking about the IWC Aquatimer Split Minute Chronograph, an out-of-the-ordinary diver chronograph with a total of three separate means of timing events. This sounds like overkill—and in many respects it is—but I’ve always had an interest in out-of-the-ordinary complications and this thing entirely fits the bill.
For those who follow IWC’s reference numbers, this is the 3723-04. In production for a fairly brief stint from 2004 to 2009, the line of GST Aquatimers was the brand’s follow-up to their collaborations with Porsche Design on the Ocean 2000. It’s cased in titanium, and fitted with an integrated bracelet (as is oddly all the rage these days). The bracelet is fitted with a clean single-fold clasp, but it pre-dates the brand’s sleek micro-adjustment that came on later models. The lightness of titanium helps keep the Aquatimer from feeling like a behemoth on the wrist, though it’s worth noting that a rubber strap variant is also available.
Those used to smaller watches are often scared off of pieces like this based on their larger dimensions alone, but much in the same way that my Girard-Perregaux Laureato Evo3 wears much smaller than its specs would suggest (it’s also 44mm on paper), The way the integrated rubber strap drops down from the case makes this piece hug the wrist nicely, rather than being a big, broad, and flat wrist pancake (like some larger IWC models out there).
Functionally, things are relatively straightforward here. On the right, you have your traditional pusher and crown layout; the start/stop pusher is at two, screw-down crown for time setting at three, and reset pusher at four. The lower pusher has added functionality to it, as you may have guessed from its added knurling. rotating this pusher also rotates its inner timing bezel.
Aside from these two timers, there’s now the matter of its split minute complication. Basically the split minute allows for timing within a timing period, I’ve heard of the example of timing the exploring of an underwater cave while timing a dive, but let’s get real here and own the fact that 98% of us aren’t diving. Let’s say you’re on your way to a new job, and you want to see how long it takes you to get from door to door (presuming your commute is less than an hour).
As you step out the door you rotate the timing bezel to align with the minute hand in its current position. You’re half way to work, and suddenly your train stops due to some sort of nonsense—cue the split minute. Trigger the toggle switch at eight o’clock, and a secondary minute hand that usually runs beneath the standard minute hand is paused. When the train starts again, you’ll be able to see the number of minutes elapsed during the unforeseen incident, and subtract it from total time once you get to the office to see how long your commute should take on a normal day. Clever, right?
OK, so this isn’t the most practical complication in the grand scheme of things, though if you use your chronographs for timing things in the kitchen then an additional timer could also come in handy. No matter how many of the three functions you’re considering putting to use, the Aquatimer Split Minute Chronograph is a handsome tank of a watch, and one that’s usually pretty well priced on the secondary market.
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