First created about 50 years ago, this antimagnetic watch is back and better than ever, thanks to the technological advances One of the most keenly anticipated events at this year's SIHH trade fair was International Watch Company's launch of the new Ingenieur. Originally designed half a century ago, this watch has left its mark on history as the most anti-magnetic watch ever made. After a gap of many years, the Ingenieur is back - with a new shock-proofed automatic movement that the manufacturer says is strong enough to be worn even while playing golf. The design team behind the new watch was headed by master watchmaker Kurt Klaus, a man who cut his teeth assembling the original Ingenieurs back in the late 1950s. 'I am so proud to have worked for this company for 48 years,' he said. 'I came here as a young watchmaker, 22 years old - now you can calculate how old I am. 'Theoretically, I should have retired five years ago, but there are two things: I can't stop working and Georges Kern, our chief executive, won't let me go. So, we're of the same opinion.' The original Ingenieur was special, he said, partly because it had been IWC's first automatic movement but also because of its technical innovation. Directly descended from the pilot watches of the second world war era, the Ingenieur was developed as a response to a specific problem: electromagnetism. IWC's pilot watches had pioneered the use of a soft-iron inner case to give protection from magnetic fields; with the coming of peace time the company's designers decided to continue this research. 'But not for war,' Mr Klaus said. 'This was for the engineers.' Professionals working with very large electric motors, such as those used to power trains, had been experiencing problems caused by magnetic fields. 'When you get too close to the engine, the watch stands still,' Mr Klaus said. At the heart of the watch is its protective shield from magnetism: an inner casing of soft iron. On the front of the watch, this inner case forms the dial, and its thickness is visible at the date window. That window, the crown and the centre of the watch where the axle for the hands passes though the dial are the only chinks in this antimagnetic armour, giving it the ability to withstand magnetism up to an incredible 80,000 ampere-metres, nearly 17 times the Swiss standard of 4,800 ampere-metres. Introduced in 1955 and revised in 1976, the watch remained in production until the mid-1990s. 'After 40 years, we decided it was time to do something new,' Mr Klaus said. 'But to make something new takes time. Whenever I travelled anywhere, people would always ask why there was no Ingenieur any more. I would say to them, 'Shh, you will have to wait a bit'.' But now the wait is over, and the curtain has been drawn on the new Ingenieur and its offspring. 'The new watch is similar to the first. Like the first, it has a new movement,' Mr Klaus said. He stressed that the movement had been entirely designed and created in IWC's own workshops. The oscillating weight that drives the automatic movement is attached to the mechanism by an ingenious system of springs that protect it from damage when the watch is jarred or shocked. Mr Klaus said the watch was designed for people with active lifestyles. 'At last, this is a watch you can use. The new movement is very robust. You can wear the watch to do whatever you want - play golf, cycle, swim or go inside a train engine.' Mr Klaus said the new watch was one of the company's greatest achievements. 'For me, personally, this is now the real Ingenieur. It has all the same features as 50 years ago, but with a lot of the newest technology inside it,' he said. 'The new movement is a combination of new technology with tradition.' Most of the members of the design team were many years Mr Klaus's junior, and he said this created an interesting dynamic. 'I sometimes call them the 'boys', even though they are all qualified engineers,' he said. But he said he was lucky to have built up a good working relationship with the younger team. 'It is a mixture between new technology with the young people and my experience,' Mr Klaus said. 'I like this blend. IWC is a manufacturer with old traditions.' One new addition to the Ingenieur is a titanium version, the Ingenieur Automatic AMG. Created to give a lighter option to the standard steel watch, the titanium version still has the same soft iron inner case that gives antimagnetic protection. It is also part of a new brand partnership between IWC and AMG, bearing the car firm's logo on the back of the case. In 1978, IWC became the first company to make a watch case out of titanium after a challenge laid down by carmaker Ferdinand Porsche. Until that point, the company's cases had been manufactured by another company. 'Everyone said we were crazy, that it couldn't be done,' Mr Klaus said. 'So, we tried. We needed to make some simple machinery, but we succeeded. Today it is no problem to work with titanium - 20 years ago it was a big problem, but now we know how to do it.' The new Ingenieur is also a growing family. IWC is releasing a chronograph and a mid-size version. The chronograph features the same movement as the Portuguese Chrono-Automatic. Extra holes in the dial for the display of the chronograph functions had sacrificed some of the watch's antimagnetic protection, Mr Klaus said, but it was still far higher than for any other chronograph. 'The Swiss standard is 4,800 ampere-metres. This is 40,000,' he said. 'It is like saying the Aquatimer is only waterproof to 1,000 metres.'